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Political Motivations

July 20, 2010

Last week I wrote some posts about faulty logic in political discourse and yesterday I wrote about some of the fallout of Scott McInnis’ plagiarism. Some are saying that it is no different than the fine Dan paid over his finance reporting. Let’s see.

The story of Maes’ finance errors was reported by Leslie Jorgensen in the Colorado Statesman. The tone is a little anti-Maes but the reporting seems factual. Reading through the article, the thing that emerges is an underfunded campaign trying to take on too much work with too few specialized, paid staff. Campaign finance is complex, just like your income taxes. Have you ever made an honest mistake on them? I have.

There was also the unrelated issue of Maes being  “delinquent” [quotes in original] in filing his in annual reports for his businesses. Sounds serious. I thought so, too, when I first formed an LLC. It turns out that the annual report is nothing more than a verification of who owns the company; publicly traded companies do file a more involved report but for an LLC it is pretty basic. Not really a big deal–unless you’re a Maes opponent looking to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Maes said the complaint was politically motivated. Attorney Erik Groves brought the complaint on behalf of Christopher Klitzke, his law-class student and paralegal. Groves himself was the subject of an ethics action for trying to influence the vote of a legislator in March2009; in July he left the lobbying firm he was working for to form his own law practice.

Was Groves’ complaint politically motivated? Could be. He certainly had an interest is Maes’ campaign filings, but why is speculation at this point.

Was the fine a big deal? Over $17,000 for a cash-strapped campaign is significant but consider this: Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign just got hit with a $219,000 penalty from the Federal Election Commission for some bad bookkeeping. His campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander responded:

Some repayment is commonplace after presidential campaign audits and the repayment ordered here is relatively small.

Let’s see the Looper try to use Maes’ mistake as a campaign issue.

Was Maes inaccurate in his accounting? Yes. He did own up to it and paid a fine. And that’s what we want: leaders who are not afraid to admit their mistakes and try to make it right. What we are tired of is the sequence of denials and blame-shifting that we get from politicians.

I was at the Elbert County Tea Party meeting Saturday and they held a straw poll. These are very independent, conservative people and not all of them are Republican voters. For governor, the results were Maes 96%, McInnis 4%.

I think that says it all.

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