Remember all of those people wailing about big, outside money affecting our elections in Longmont? Well, now they are doing it themselves, but it must be okay since it’s them doing it, right? Wrong. The political committee “Moving Longmont Forward” (MLF), which recently sent out a factually and grammatically challenged attack mailer against Mayor Baum, is now the beneficiary of money ($1,500) from mega-union organization AFSCME.
They sound familiar? AFSCME, or the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, was behind all the demonstrations, riots, and various other questionable activities in Wisconsin recently. Now they’re involving themselves in Longmont’s politics by contributing to MLF, no doubt begged by MLF members and/or their registered agent, Teresa Lichti.
While the contribution itself is legal, although reveals some serious double-standard hypocrisy from those asking for and accepting this money, there are problems with how MLF reported it and could be a violation of Longmont’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (LFCPA). An ordinance I know a little something about.
First, this contribution was received on 10/14/11 which is during the 2nd reporting period. MLF did not report this contribution on their initial or amended 2nd report (10/19/11). They finally reported it on their 3rd report (10/26/11) as occurring in the 3rd reporting period but the date given (10/14/11) is clearly in the 2nd reporting period. This is a violation of 2.04.211(C)5 and has a fine of $100 a day for up to 10 days, this was more than 10 days.
Secondly, this was clearly a “political committee contribution”, but was not reported as such in MLF’s 3rd report. There is a separate area on Schedule A for this kind of contribution, and it was not reported in that area. If this was not a PAC contribution and was just a transfer from one non-profit to another, MLF needs to show some proof that it is a 501(C)3 or 501(C)4, and AFSCME will have to report this on their tax returns as such.
This is not the only possible (and quite probable) violation by MLF of the LFCPA, nor the least costly potentially. Ignorance of our local laws by this group, which include Karen Benker who is quite aware of the LFCPA, is no excuse and they should be cited to the full extent of the ordinance. Their registered agent, Teresa Lichti, had the gall to publicly question my first-hand experience in Federal Court when I sued the City of Longmont over the LFCPA (which I won), telling me what occurred even though she wasn’t in attendance. So they had to know I would be looking at every campaign report, including theirs.
And now they’re going to get hit where it hurts, in the pocketbook. I’m sure AFSCME or some other big money organization will bail them out again. But citizens should never give any of these people a second chance.