UPDATED: New Complaint Filed Against Trailhead Alleging Money Laundering

Clear Peak Colorado filed issued a press release regarding a complaint this afternoon with Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis alleging that a series of fund transfers – first reported by Colorado Confidential in its story on Friday, September 15 Trailhead to Nowhere – between the Trailhead Group, Senate Majority Fund, and Colorado Leadership Fund amounted to money laundering:

As the complaint alleges, the transactions were executed with the apparent intent to convert corporate  contributions into 527 contributions that can then be used for electioneering, since Colorado law clearly prohibits the use of corporate contributions for voter contact messaging within 60 days of a general election and 30 days of a primary election.  Clear Peak Colorado calls on Trailhead director Alan Philp and Trailhead founder Governor Bill Owens to immediately respond to the complaint and clarify the exact nature and reason for contributions and expenditures by the Trailhead Group that appear to be attempts to trade checks and launder corporate donations to circumvent Colorado law.  Amendment 27 to the Colorado Constitution prohibits the use of corporate donations for electioneering activities within the limited time periods.

The Clear Peak This filing comes on the heels of an earlier complaint by Colorado Citizens for Ethics in Government today to the Internal Revenue Service citing Trailhead, the Senate Majority Fund, Colorado Leadership Fund, and Colorado Good Government Initiative for violating campaign finance disclosure rules. See Erin Rosa’s report here.The press release further states:

“Trailhead has had a pattern of engaging in improper activities since the group’s formation,” said Clear Peak director Tim Knaus.  “Campaign violations abound and now those activities appear to have crossed over into the realm of the illegal.  As the founder and continuing leader of the Trailhead Group, Governor Owens is directly responsible for their activities and we call on him to immediately explain to Colorado citizens the nature of these potentially illegal actions.”

Records show that the Trailhead Group received several corporate donations prior to the exchanges with the Senate and House 527 committees. Those donations amount to a total of $102,500, just $2500 short of the $105,000 that was apparently laundered through “contributions” from the Colorado Leadership Fund and the Senate Majority Fund.  Those corporate donations to the Trailhead Group include:

$50,000 from Jones International on 7/20/05

$10,000 from T&C Development (Eaton Metal Works) on 7/20/05

$5000 from Golden Rule Insurance Company on 11/28/05

$25,000 from Benson Mineral Group on 12/28/05

$12,500 from Eaton Metal Works on 2/10/06

The complaint, which according to Colorado law must be referred to an administrative law judge within three days, seeks as a remedy the penalty prescribed by Colorado law – two to five times the subject amounts laundered.  Further, the complaint states that if any contributors were knowingly involved in the alleged activity, such penalties should be assessed as to them as well.

More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE 9/19/06:  In its press release of September 18, Clear Peak Colorado stated that in addition to the complaint filed with the Secretary of State, the group also called on Trailhead’s director Alan Philp and Trailhead’s founder Gov. Bill Owens to immediately respond to the complaint.

Erin Rosa reports on Philp’s public statement in today’s Rocky Mountain News. Colorado Confidential placed calls to Philp on Friday, September 15 — four days ago — for comment on our story before it was filed which still have not been returned.

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Wendy Norris

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