Coffman Broke SOS Rules

The Secretary of State’s chief duties are to oversee business activities and elections in Colorado, and one might expect candidates running for the office to have squeaky-clean records in both areas. But Colorado Confidential has found Republican hopeful Mike Coffman does not.

A look at Coffman’s past reveals problems with campaign finance laws, one of the most crucial responsibilities of the Secretary of State. In 2004, he violated the same laws he now wants to enforce. Coffman, then State Treasurer, was found to have violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act in 2000 when he used state resources to produce and distribute press releases opposing Amendment 43. Coffman said the laws were vague, and he thought he was within their limits. The state Supreme Court disagreed, and he was assessed a fine of $334.92.

And it doesn’t appear Coffman has cleared up his confusion about the laws since then. This year, his campaign committee was twice admonished by the Secretary of State for problems with its financial reports – once for exceeding contribution limits and once for listing a Mr. and Mrs. combined contribution (a certain Scott & Sally Shires in this case). The latter case was certainly minor, but one would think a candidate for Secretary of State would make sure his reports to that office were perfect.

Coffman did not immediately return calls for comment. The candidate has a smudge on his record regarding business matters, too. Apparently, he forgot to pay taxes in 2000 on a business he owned, according to a Westword report:

The tax man recently came knocking at state treasurer Mike Coffman’s door after the Republican businessman failed to pay the quarterly withholding taxes for his company, Colorado Property Management Group Inc. Embarrassed by the snafu, Coffman says he hadn’t been keeping abreast of the day-to-day business — which he used to help back up his business credentials when he ran for the office in 1998 — and didn’t find out that the company was late until a couple of weeks ago. “I’m very disappointed,” he adds.

Disappointed. Perhaps that’s how voters will feel if they discover they elected a Secretary of State who can’t follow his own office’s rules.

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Kerri Rebresh

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