Secretary of State absolves both local House candidates
Both candidates vying for this region’s seat in the Colorado House of Representatives have asked for, and received, a sort of absolution from Secretary of State Donetta Davidson.Eagle County Republican Heather Lemon missed a deadline to close her last campaign. Her opponent, Summit County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom, a Democrat, missed one of the filing deadlines to get this campaign started.Both asked Davidson to waive the fines, which she did.Lemon and Lindstrom are running for state representative in a district comprised of Summit, Eagle and Lake counties. The seat is being vacated by Democratic Rep. Carl Miller of Leadville, who is being forced to leave the state house by term limits. Miller beat Lemon in the last election, in 2002, though Lemon won more votes in Eagle County. Secretary of State Office spokeswoman Lisa Doran said candidates must file regular campaign finance reports. The closer they get to the campaign, the more often the reports must be filed.In Lemon’s case, Lemon said a volunteer didn’t file the paperwork to close her 2002 campaign committee, which, said Doran, is not out of the ordinary. When it comes to volunteers, the Secretary of State’s staff tends to be amused, she said, but not amazed.”These are not chronic problem people, they’re volunteers,” said Doran “They do this in the evenings and weekends, and sometimes it takes them a few tries to get it exactly right.”Lemon learned of the mistake when she tried to open a new committee for this year’s run at this region’s seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. She couldn’t open the new committee until the old one had been closed.”It was obviously an error that went undetected,” said Doran. “You try to be understanding and a little forgiving.”Lemon’s clock had been ticking since the 2002 election and raised a few smiles and eyebrows. At $50 a day, the total topped $45,000.Never mind. Life is for learning, said Davidson as she waived the fine.
Her opponent, Summit County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom, a Democrat, managed to land in little warm water himself.He said he asked Summit County’s Clerk and Recorder about a filing deadline, who gave him correct information, but it was about county campaigns, not state campaigns.Before long, he got a letter from Secretary of State explaining that if the dog had not eaten his homework, he had some forms overdue in her office.He also asked for waiver of his fine – around $400 – which Davidson granted.Doran said most candidates learn about their fines by reading read about them annually in newspapers. Obvious scofflaws get nailed, but there aren’t many.”We do enforce some fines, but we’re not going to pay off the state budget shortfall with the fines we collect,” said Doran.==========================================Campaign Finance ReportingEverything you want to know about campaign financing and reporting you can find on the Secretary of State’s Web site, http://www.sos.state.co.us. In the Elections Center on the left side the screen is a gold bar that says “Campaign Finance.” It will give you the required quarterly campaign finance reports.==========================================