Maes campaign for governor draws finance complaint

According to documents filed with the Colorado Secretary of State, since October, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes has been paid $33,135 by his own campaign as reimbursement for mileage. Since January, the campaign has paid him $7599 for other expenses, and since February, the campaign has paid his daughter Jordan $5200 to be his assistant. Also since February, Maes has received a flat $5000 a month for mileage.

It hasn’t escaped notice. Grand Junction resident Christopher Klitzke recently filed a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office charging that Maes has accepted corporate donations and has reimbursed himself excessively. The corporate donation was printing services valued at $567, which Maes told the Denver Post last week was actually a contribution from the printing company’s owner and not from the company.

Rich Coolidge, director of communications for the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that the complaint had been received and said it has been referred to an administrative law judge for a ruling.

Coolidge noted that campaigns are not limited by state law to how much they can pay people for mileage. In other words, there is no set amount per mile. He said legally, a campaign may be able to pay a candidate a flat amount per month for mileage, as the Maes campaign has been doing, although he noted the IRS may have something to say about it as might the judge. “They have to be able to support the expense,” he said.

He said the standard is that whatever the campaign spends–whether it is money to the candidate for mileage or money to a caterer for a party—has to “further the campaign.”

He said it is not unheard of for a campaign to pay a candidate’s family for services.

Maes had not returned two calls for comment as this story was filed. Erik Groves, the attorney for Klitzke, had also yet to return calls.

Maes is running in the GOP primary against six-term former Congressman Scott McInnis. Maes, an Evergreen businessman, has touted his business savvy and lack of political experience as assets and has gained traction with anti-Washington tea party voters.

“The job of governor is not a legislative position,” he told a tea party candidate forum in the fall. “It’s an executive position.”

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Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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