A new group supporting GOP State Treasurer Walker Stapleton in his bid for governor will air TV ads in Colorado Springs starting later today.
It’s unclear thus far whether the ads from Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility will focus on supporting Stapleton or criticizing his opponents. We’ll update when the ads air. Primary ballots are scheduled to start going out to voters next week.
On Tuesday, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, the state’s former GOP attorney general and U.S. attorney, joined Stapleton in the city’s downtown America the Beautiful Park to endorse his bid for governor.
KKTV filed a contract Tuesday for 21 spots costing nearly $14,000 from today through June 6. KRDO also filed a notice with the Federal Communications Commission that it would be airing ads from Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility, but didn’t file a contract.
The FCC requires stations to file contracts that involve all federal candidates and issues as well as for state-level candidates. Contracts for independent spending groups like Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility don’t have to filed online, though many stations do file them.
Better Colorado Now, a Super PAC-style group, has been airing TV and radio ads supporting Stapleton, and Stapleton’s campaign is also airing ads leading up to the four-way GOP gubernatorial primary June 26.
We’ve reached out to Katie Kennedy of Strategic Compliance LLC, listed as the contact for the group, inquiring about the ads.
Here’s what we know so far about the group:
- Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility was formed in late October 2014 as an independent expenditure committee to support Stapleton’s second bid for state treasurer, according to Secretary of State campaign finance filings.
- In 2014, the group received $40,000 from the nonprofit Colorado Taxpayers Advocate Fund Inc. That group was formed in 2013, with Denver attorney John Zakhem as registered agent and Kennedy’s home address as its business address. It lists Kennedy as the principal officer on IRS tax filings.
- Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility spent nearly $38,000 on mailers opposing Democrat Betsy Markey in the 2014 treasurer’s race.
- Wizbang Solutions, a Commerce City company, printed the mailers.
- Wizbang also printed 2014 mailers on behalf of a Colorado group advised by Cambridge Analytica, the recently bankrupt company accused of improperly using Facebook data in its election consulting business. And the company was a top vendor for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
- Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility is using Axiom Strategies, of Kansas City, to buy the ads. It’s the same firm being used by the super PAC Better Colorado Now, which also supports Stapleton, and by the Colorado Republican Independent Expenditure Committee to buy ads that will air in August and September.
- There is no corporate filing for Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility in the Secretary of State’s Office, but, according to Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the office, neither is one required under state campaign finance law.