UPDATED: When Candidates Change Overnight

Managing political committees in Colorado can be pretty confusing stuff.

Just ask Scott Gessler, an attorney whose firm has received thousands of dollars from the Beauprez For Governor campaign.

In August, Gessler registered a new group called the Colorado Independent Auto Dealers Political Committee. The purpose? To “support candidates including Bill Ritter,” the Democratic candidate for governor.

Click the image to see the entire record.

Pretty ironic, considering Gessler also heads Coloradans For Change, a 527 group that has reportedly mailed out attack ads en masse against Democratic candidates around the state.

About two months ago, Gessler lobbied the Secretary of State to change campaign finance rules to favor Republicans, and he currently maintains of slew of other conservative committees, which go from supporting candidates like State Treasurer Mark Hillman to opposing minimum wage initiatives.

“The Secretary of State’s rules also require a political committee to identify a candidate, even if the committee has not yet decided to support or oppose specific candidates,” says Gessler, when asked why he registered a committee to support a Democratic candidate.

“The committee originally listed Bill Ritter, but it has not taken a position on the gubernatorial race,” he explains. “So as to be clear on the latter point, today we changed the identified candidate to John Suthers.”

Gessler moved pretty fast. It took him less than twenty-four hours to change the committee’s purpose after Colorado Confidential asked him about it.


Click the image to see the entire record.

Now, if you look at Secretary of State records, the Independent Auto Dealers organization exists to support Attorney General John Suthers, rather than Bill Ritter.

Although, based on Gessler’s actions, it would appear that nothing is set in stone when it comes to managing political committees.

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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