Lakewood mayor the subject of three campaign finance complaints
DENVER – Three campaign finance complaints filed against Mayor Bob Murphy have been combined and will be heard in a single hearing, the date of which has yet to be determined, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
The complaints filed by former Lakewood City Council member Edie Bryan on March 5, charge that Murphy’s campaign accepted contributions from various Limited Liability Companies, but failed to meet a requirement that the contributing principal member of each LLC be listed on campaign finance reports.
“It is the candidate’s duty to know, and to follow, the Campaign Finance regulations,” Bryan said. “And if they don’t, the candidate should be held accountable.”
Bryan agreed to a request from the Secretary of State’s Office to allow her three complaints to be combined to permit a single hearing to determine the validity of the complaints. Secretary of State Scott Gessler forwarded the complaint to an Administrative Law Judge on March 9.
Bryan’s complaint lists four separate donations from LLC’s that list the same registered agent, Michael Todd Kane, and all four list the same Lakewood address, 1457 Ammons Street. The four LLCs used to direct the $400 in total donations to Murphy’s campaign are listed on the mayor’s campaign finance report as MTK Investments, 8525 LLC. 6801 LLC and 8100 LLC.
Bryan also lists a single, $500 contribution from SolutionsWest, which is a Denver company.
According to the Colorado Campaign and Political Finance Manual, candidate committees “must list both the individual LLC member’s name as the contributor as well as the name of the LLC.” The manual is delivered to all City Council candidates by the City Clerk’s Office.
A check of Murphy’s campaign finance reports list the contributions from the five LLCs and the amount of each, but none of the entries list the name of the LLC member. The Lakewood Edge also examined Murphy’s entire campaign finance folder covering both of his mayoral campaigns and found no supplemental filings or other records that contain the required names of LLC members.
Murphy’s campaign finance reports and those of other mayoral and city council candidates can be found at: http://www.lakewood.org/index.cfm?&include=/CC/FCPA/Candidates/2011/Candidates.cfm .
According to Colorado’s Fair Campaign Practice Act, Section 1-45-103.7, the requirement to list the name of the LLC member is designed “to ensure that the aggregate amount of contributions from multiple limited liability companies does not exceed” contribution limits.
The LLC donations to Murphy do not exceed those limits, but the aggregate amount from the LLC member on each donation apparently still is required to be listed on the campaign finance forms so the aggregate amount can be determined through an inspection of the reports.
Bryan also filed a third action, based on Murphy’s acceptance of a $100 donation from Bandimere Speedway despite a blanket ban on donations from corporations.
The Colorado Campaign and Political Finance Manual distributed to candidates by the City Clerk’s Office states “Candidates and candidate committees may not accept contributions from Corporations.” Section 1-45-103 of the Fair Campaign Practices Act defines “corporation” as a “for-profit corporation or nonprofit corporation incorporated under and subject to the laws of this state.”
The donation from Bandimere Speedway reached Murphy’s campaign on June 8, 2011, according to Murphy’s campaign finance disclosure forms.
Bryan said her complaints were filed against Murphy as a mayoral candidate and that she chose not to file complaints against any of his campaign officials.
“Ultimately, the candidate is responsible” for following the requirements of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, Bryan said.
Murphy reportedly was out of town at publication time.