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Attorney General files complaint against El Paso County GOP for failure to properly report donations

KRDO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Attorney General's Office has filed a complaint against the El Paso County Republican Central Committee after officials discovered around $13,000 in fundraising donations weren't accurately reported last year.

The donations in question are from the El Paso County Republican Lincoln Day dinner event on August 6, 2021, where Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was the keynote speaker.

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office first learned of the missing money after El Paso County GOP Vice-Chair Karl Schneider filed a campaign finance complaint in late November 2021.

According to emails in the complaint, then-treasurer of the El Paso County GOP John Pitchford told high ranking members of the party on Oct. 1 that he was having difficulty finding accurate records from the event and requested a "full inventory of all Lincoln Day items sold and unsold."

After echoing calls for an audit of the summer fundraising dinner following Pitchford's October email, Schneider tells 13 Investigates his official party email account was turned off.

Eleven days after the initial email asking for a complete inventory of the items, Pitchford announced his retirement to the El Paso County GOP leadership via email.

Despite his previous email in October saying he was having difficulty finding records from the summer fundraising dinner, Pitchford told us in December there was nothing to the campaign finance complaint.

The AG's complaint on behalf of the state elections division says that on December 3, 2021, a third campaign finance report was filed by El Paso County Republican Party leaders and showed an additional nearly $13,000 in contributions.

The AG's office wrote in the complaint:

In total, the Division discovered approximately $13,000 in contributions that had not been included on the Original Report. Many of these were non-monetary contributions. The Division also noted over $3,000 of contributions for which information had been updated between the Original Report and the Amended Report, mostly related to the contributors' addresses or occupations and employers.

The state's complaint seeks penalties, including "appropriate fines."

In November and December, El Paso County Republican Chair Vickie Tonkins told 13 Investigates multiple times that all the money was accounted for and the party was not breaking state law with how it reported donations.

"Ludicrous, that is an absolute and total and complete lie. Let's be clear on that," Tonkins said in November.

Tonkins told 13 Investigates on Tuesday that she has no comment on the AG's complaint at this time.

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. Whaaaaat? No way! The Republicans are 100% forthright with there finances, tax returns, etc. This is an OUTRAGE!!!

  2. To those that believe that only Democrats are criminals, here is proof that shows otherwise. Both parties are just as corrupt as one another. For the highest bidder, took over “For the People” a long time ago.

    1. Every time the GOP get caught looking shady or stupid you bring up the false equivalency argument.
      Only one local political party is the subject of this investigation and the violations found within.

      1. That’s because deep down inside he’s one of those who believes that only Democrats are criminals.
        .
        I don’t ever recall the local Democratic party ever being investigated for anything similar.

        1. If only you knew me RC, perhaps your words would have some weight or validity as to trying to describe me and my opinions. But yet again you miss the mark. Criminals are not party based, they exist amongst every group, and cannot be defined by belonging to any group, except being criminals.

          1. I will add that this common phrase does hold validity though, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…” – John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

      2. Again as a independent, I do not agree with either party wholly. Neither party has “We the People” as their vested interest. Because I choose to continue to point this out does not mean that either will see it, but it doesn’t make it less true. I do find it telling that my response was in support of proving that the Republicans do screw up as well, but you would rather believe I am against the Democrats stronger than the Republicans. The one thing I can say is when my stances on a topic do match with a Republican, they do not attack me outwardly more often than not, but this is not the same with the Democrats, which just further isolates Independents to the Democratic parties plight. This is why Independents look at both parties and shake our heads.
        Example, I do believe we have become too light on sentencing, but not in the way either parties agrees with. I do not believe that we should warehouse people based upon time p@ssing like the Republicans want, as shown by their legislative actions. But I also do not believe that they should be cut lose everyone and keep recidivism high as the Democrats want, as shown by their legislative action. I believe we should treat the problems not the systems by providing proper counseling rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

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