2018 Election, Elections, Featured, Gold Dome, Greeley, Local, Sherrie Peif, Weld County

Former state rep accused of sexual assault uses campaign money to ‘reimburse’ self for ‘legal fees’

DENVER — Rumors surrounding the future of former House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo continue to circulate as the 29-year-old awaits trial on allegations she served alcohol to underage campaign workers.

Galindo may have created even more questions with her most recent campaign finance report, filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on Oct. 15, showing she reimbursed a large portion of the cash on hand back to herself for “professional services.”

Galindo reimbursed herself $4,500 in what she labeled as legal fees for a recall effort that was in place when she resigned on Mother’s Day. However, the reimbursements didn’t come until months after she stepped down, and it is not clear who she paid for those services.

Under Colorado campaign finance laws candidates can not use their funds for “personal purposes not reasonably related to the election of the candidate except that a candidate committee may make expenditures to reimburse the candidate for reasonable and necessary child or dependent care expenses the candidate incurs in connection with their campaign during the election cycle.”

Complete Colorado is awaiting a response from the Secretary of State’s office concerning the matter.

Galindo’s resignation came from scrutiny she faced when two women accused her of sexual assault they said occurred while they worked under her during her campaign for office during the spring, summer and fall of 2018.

Although the victims declined to press formal charges, the Weld County District Attorney’s office did cite Galindo for providing alcohol to a minor, a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries possible penalties of up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $5,000 or both.

She is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 20 for a pre-trial conference.

It is also unclear if Galindo planned to run for House District 50 again as she did not shut down her campaign finance account with the Secretary of State, was still collecting donations into August and never returned any of them. She also had an active website and payment processing system until recently.

Denver School Board Candidate Tay Anderson posted to his Twitter feed recently about hanging out with former House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo at a recent event. Galindo stepped down from her seat amid sex assault charges. She currently is charged with contributing to minors.

She has been seen in recent weeks at campaign events for school board and municipal candidates across the Denver metro area. On her finance report, she listed her current employment as the Colorado People’s Alliance. She is listed as the operation manager for the group since August of this year on her LinkedIn account.

On its website, Colorado People’s Alliance claims to be “a racial justice, member-led organization dedicated to advancing and winning progressive social change locally, statewide and nationally … through leadership development, organizing and alliance building.”

Requests to her campaign for comment have gone unanswered.

This is not the first time Galindo’s use of campaign funds has come in to question.

Within days of being elected to Greeley City Council in 2015, Galindo spent leftover campaign money on a celebratory trip to Las Vegas with an undisclosed companion.

In that instance, Galindo was sworn into her city council seat on Nov. 10, 2015. Her campaign finance reporting for that same day shows expenses charged off as “fundraising” for $485 to Frontier Airlines and $371 to the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

On Nov. 16, 2015, there was another “fundraising” entry to Frontier Airlines for $114, and from Nov. 20-24 charges to various casinos and restaurants as well as airport parking and transportation that totaled more than $1,600 for a trip just 10 days after being sworn into office for reasons Galindo’s campaign wouldn’t explain.

She marked her expense as “fundraising,” but there were no contributions to her campaign shown as resulting from that trip, in fact, the same report only showed $29.83 in total contributions from two people in Greeley and Arvada.

Complete Colorado will update this report as well as ongoing coverage of Galindo’s criminal process as more information becomes available.

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