DENVER — Charles Heatherly, the former policy director for the Colorado State Senate Republicans has filed a campaign finance complaint against Colorado Rising and ProgressNow Colorado, claiming the two organizations conspired to act as a conduit to fund proponents of Proposition 112 in the 2018 election on behalf of the Sergey Brin Foundation.
Sergey Brin is the co-founder of Google.
Proposition 112 would have placed a defacto ban on new oil and gas drilling in Colorado by requiring a 2, 500 foot setback from all “vulnerable” areas, rendering about 85 percent of Colorado off limits, and 95 percent of non-federal land in Colorado off limits.
The complaint states in part: The “Sergey Brin Family Foundation contributed $170,000 to ProgressNow Colorado, which used the funds to support Proposition 112. Rather than file as an issue committee, however, ProgressNow Colorado – or its affiliated organization ProgressNow Colorado Education Fund – treated its issue advocacy as a “contribution” to Colorado Rising, a reporting issue committee.”
The complaint, which was filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday, asks new Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who ran her campaign on doing away with dark money, to hire an independent investigator for the complaint.
Griswold recently asked members of the General Assembly for more campaign finance “transparency.” Heatherly and his attorney, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who drew up the complaint, say this will test Griswold’s office and how aggressive and even-handed she will be with her political allies.
“We all know how the Polis-Bridges-Gill ‘Colorado Blueprint’ reshaped Colorado politics,” Heatherly said, “but the role of the left’s ‘dark millions’ has never been investigated. Okay, let’s see if the new Secretary of State will investigate the facts and hold someone accountable if the law has been circumvented.”
Gessler echoed Heatherly’s remarks, adding that Griswold made “political hay by complaining about the allegedly unhealthy influence that unregulated money has on the political process,” Gessler said. “But her political allies hide money all the time. This will test whether the new Secretary truly intends to serve as an impartial watchdog or whether she is just posturing.”
Check back to Complete Colorado for more updates as this story unfolds.
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