Largest campaign finance violations in Colorado history!

Contact Matt Arnold: or 303.995.5533.

On Thursday, Clear the Bench Colorado – Political Action Committee filed, pro se, a campaign finance and electioneering complaint against the “Know Your Judge” consortium: the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (“IAALS”), Colorado Bar Association (“COBAR”), Colorado Judicial Institute (“CJI”) and the Colorado League of Women Voters (“LWV”).

In this complaint, Clear the Bench Colorado alleges that both collectively as the “Know Your Judge” group and as individual organizations, these groups have engaged in electioneering communications through print, radio and television advertisements as well as on their website – in violation of campaign finance laws, which would have subjected them to the same guidelines to file as a political committee (and the same contribution and expenditure limits) with the Secretary of State’s office as were followed by Clear The Bench Colorado.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent by these organizations with no accountability or transparency, in sharp contrast to Clear the Bench Colorado – which has followed the ever-changing law to the letter – while conducting similar political advocacy activities.

In a clear example of “what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander,” Clear the Bench Colorado simply wants these organizations held to the same legal standard as is everyone else in the state.

Unlike the frivolous, groundless, and vexatious complaint filed by “Colorado Ethics Watch” (CEW, pronounced “sue” – it’s what they do) against Clear the Bench Colorado back in May, this lawsuit has a solid legal basis (in part, due to the ruling against CTBC, ironically enough).  View our website,, to read the complaint in its entirety and for updates.

If Clear the Bench receives a favorable judgment, these organizations will be subject to fees ($50 per day that they didn’t file) as well as fines of 2-5 times the contribution totals above and beyond the $525 contribution limit of a political committee (which, since these groups spent at least $85,000, will add up to a hefty sum).

This would be the largest campaign finance violation penalty in the history of Colorado – dwarfing the previous record by some 30 times…

These groups, with armies of accountants and lawyers at their beck and call, should (and do) know better.  Apparently, they thought that they could get away with violating the law, since CTBC’s resources (and ability to challenge) have been strained almost to the breaking point.  However, they messed with the wrong guy…

Clear The Bench Colorado may be the underdog in this fight – but it’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but the size of the fight in the dog.  CTBC doesn’t have armies of attorneys and accountants on call – but CTBC is… an Army of One.

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6 Responses to “Largest campaign finance violations in Colorado history!”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Never underestimate the power of a few dedicated people. Good post, very educational!

    Thanks Patrick!


  2. Chuck Says:

    BTW, the rumors of my demise are much exaggerated. The last several weeks have been a whirlwind (I will blog about it soon).

    Thanks for all you do.



  3. Twitted by FounderFire Says:

    […] This post was Twitted by FounderFire […]


  4. commontater Says:

    “’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but the size of the fight in the dog. CTBC doesn’t have armies of attorneys and accountants on call – but CTBC is… an Army of One.”

    I love how you finessed that point, Sper; yes, indeedy, sometimes it only takes one determined person to change the course of history.

    When I was a tadpole, people could count on most professionals/white-collars to be honest and above reproach in their business and personal life, but Today, we see more and more high profile professionals, politicians, doctors, and nurses act and behave like Tom, Dick and Harry. Knowwhaddamean, Vern?


  5. Patrick Sperry Says:

    Get back soon Chuck!

    No kidding Tater!


  6. mainenowandthen Says:

    And the beat goes on. Politics everywhere are in need of a good housecleaning. Good post and info. Thanks.


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