Maes says campaign report mistakenly listed refund
Associated Press Writer
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is embroiled in another campaign finance controversy, this time with a former supporter.
It’s the latest in a string of missteps by Maes, a tea party favorite who has been abandoned by the Republican establishment and lost supporters because of unconventional views.
The latest issue is a $300 cash contribution from Freda Poundstone, a former backer who became disillusioned and abandoned her support for Maes.
She said the money was a personal gift to help Maes pay his $3,000-a-month mortgage, and she asked for it back after Maes claimed it was a campaign contribution that he mistakenly forgot to list on a campaign finance report.
To pay her back, Maes said he gave her a check, and someone working for his campaign listed the payment as an expense on an Aug. 29 campaign finance report.
But the check wasn’t signed, which Maes said was another mistake.
“He didn’t list me as a contribution, he dropped an unsigned check in my purse. I still have the check. Now he says he paid me off,” Poundstone said.
Another potential problem: State law bars candidates from accepting cash contributions of more than $100. Maes said he didn’t know the law at the time. The Secretary of State’s office said no action has been taken because no one filed a complaint.
This isn’t the first time Maes has blamed his campaign staff for campaign finance errors.
Maes earlier paid a $17,500 fine to the Secretary of State after claiming he paid himself $40,000 as reimbursement for a year and a half of campaign travel across the state, saying he traveled 80,000 miles during that period, equal to more than three times around the world.
Maes settled by agreeing to part of the complaint which said he mistakenly listed the occupations of several donors, but he denied violating campaign finance laws.
Maes faces Denver’s quirky Democratic mayor, John Hickenlooper, a brew pub owner and restaurateur with ample funding. Also in the race: Tom Tancredo, who quit the GOP and qualified for the ballot as a third-party candidate.
Maes unsettled business leaders by telling them that as governor he would fire 2,000 state workers “just like that” – a move that might be illegal. And he drew international ridicule when he suggested a Denver bike-sharing program is part of a United Nations conspiracy to control American cities.
Maes also claimed he was fired by the police department in Liberal, Kan., because police and politicians were corrupt. He said he worked undercover for state investigators, but the Kansas Bureau of Investigation denied Maes ever worked for them, and Liberal’s police department won’t talk about Maes. Maes says there was no report because he was acting as their informant at their request and then fired for associating with “bad characters.”