• 05/21/2024

    Massive Financial Scandal!

    August 29, 2023
    1 Comment

    The Latest in the Colorado GOP's Ongoing Civil War

    Photo: Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution/Cater News

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    In the Colorado Republican leadership elections earlier this year, the establishment faced a reckoning. All over the state, America First patriots won county leadership roles, and the State GOP Chairman race resulted in grassroots favorite Dave Williams taking charge of the state party. 

    In another timeline, you could expect a peaceful transition of power from one leader of the party to another. We are talking about the leadership of a party, after all, a team with shared values and vision. But in this timeline, the Republican Party is engaged in a civil war. 

    When former Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown left office, her administration claimed to have a surplus of more than one hundred thousand dollars. But according to Chair Williams, “The prior administration did not leave the Party over $100,000 as they falsely claimed.”

    And they didn’t just mislead party members about the surplus. According to the new GOP Leadership Team, they spitefully spent it during the “peaceful transition of power.” 

    “They spent nearly all that was left in the coffers as the new leadership was transitioning into the role,” Williams said, continuing, “while burdening the party with outstanding debts and unfunded obligations.”

    It sounds like sabotage, and the new Colorado GOP Chair is citing specifics:

    “For example, thousands in bonuses were paid to former staff in December of 2022, after the Party suffered its most historic losses the month prior, and this occurred as the last administration knew they owed over $9,000 to the office landlord.”

    We now know from the party’s financial statement that there was a “payroll bonus” of $45,000.00 in December, but the specifics of how this sum – comprising nearly half of the previously reported funds – was distributed are only available through the payroll company. You can guess what happened next. The payroll administrator is refusing to turn over the access information, and the payroll company, iSolvedHCM, is refusing to grant access to the new administration.

    My sources in the GOP will not name the administrator. They would only describe her – they used female pronouns – as a “long time employee” of the party who represented “the institutional memory that served multiple administrations.”

    As for the payroll company, it took the new party leadership significant digging to even determine who the vendor was, and they had to threaten them legally to get the W-2 and 941 tax forms required to file the party’s taxes. To date, they still refuse to send the ledger, so the specifics of outgoing funds remain a mystery. The administrator still refuses to share the username and password.

    Colorado Republicans squawked for more than a decade that the purpose of the party is to get Republicans elected. Under Brown’s leadership, they spent those resources fighting America First in the primary rather than allowing voters to decide. And then, of course and without much effort since they’d done their hard work during the primary, they lost competitive seats in the general. That is, they failed to get Republicans elected.

    After failing to achieve their fundraising targets, presiding over hemorrhaging party membership, and delivering abysmal midterm election results, party leadership paid themselves $45,000 in bonuses -- instead of paying known debts – and now they are obstructing any efforts to determine who got what.

    This isn’t just spiteful. It’s scandalous. 

    And that’s not all.

    At the GOP State Central Committee meeting on August 5, the new Finance Committee read out their first Financial Report. The election took place on March 11, and the (peaceful) transfer of power was expected to begin immediately. The Finance Committee got started on April 1, but they didn’t gain access to the financial accounts of the party until April 14 when four accounts were turned over by the prior administration which withheld access for more than a month.

    Then, shockingly, as the new team was preparing to file their April FEC report in early May, the new finance team discovered additional accounts that were not previously disclosed. I will refer to these three additional accounts as the “hidden accounts.” The new administration was added to these accounts on May 4, nearly two months after they assumed the leadership of the party.

    If that doesn’t convince you the prior administration was obstructing the new leadership, consider that access to the party’s QuickBooks account was never turned over. It still hasn’t been. The new administration received an older version of QuickBooks from the accountant on May 12, but it is not the most up to date and there is critical information missing.

    It's clearly obstruction – but not just obstruction. There is evidence of corruption – waste, fraud, and abuse.

    • Waste: The party was paying nearly $800/mo for three storage units that were mostly empty. One of the storage units appears to be full of garbage from the images. That’s $9,600/yr per year in wasted funds!
    • Fraud: The day before the election, emails show that the statements for the health insurance were changed to go to the administrator’s home address, and the financial account was changed to one of the hidden accounts. The administrator prepaid a year of insurance premiums, at a time when there were no employees, and then hid the transactions and the statements. The premiums were also significantly larger.
    • Abuse: In the month of April, an undisclosed person charged hundreds of dollars to the party’s FedEx account. There was no activity from the new administration, no official party business that explains these charges. This person appeared to be using the account for personal reasons more than a month after the election. Was this a common practice during the prior administration?

    My sources declined to comment on whether they will bring legal action against the prior administration. They are focused on restoring the party to the people and cleaning up the financial mess left by Kristi Burton Brown and her team.

    But make no mistake that it’s a scandalous mess.

    The new administration had to explicitly make a new rule that, “No employee writes a check to her/himself again.” Hard to imagine a serious professional environment with such a practice. No wonder the Colorado GOP has failed Republican voters for years.

    The Colorado Republican establishment — the likes of Brown’s administration and Buck’s before her as well as their donors — are content being the minority party in the state. It is uniparty theater at its finest, half measures and fake compromises that benefit the ruling class at the expense of the people. 

    In other words, Colorado Republicans have spent so much time finding common ground with communists that they’ve made themselves repulsive to voters. And they don’t care. When they lose elections, they just toss up their hands and blame democrats.

    Then they pay themselves bonuses. 

    The people of Colorado — both those inside and outside of the Republican Party — are sick of all the communism. The people desire change. The party’s new Republican leadership wants to be that change, but they’ve got an uphill battle encumbered by brand and trust problems. 

    “The new leadership team is making progress and rebuilding the Party from the ground up,” Williams said. “We are treating the Party as a startup and making certain that any investment from donors is wisely spent instead of continuing to allow failed operators to enrich themselves with Party funds.”

    In a startup culture you perform or peace out, a refreshing concept for a failing organization propped up by bureaucracy and mediocrity. But streamlining operations and funding alone won't rebuild public trust. For that, there needs to be accountability for the crimes of the past.

    And Williams and team need to prove to voters that the Republican Party is actually committed to a Republican form of government.

    This article has been adapted from my July and August articles in the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle. Find all my work at linktree.com/asheinamerica.

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    Ashe Epp

    Ashe Epp is a local writer and a Colorado Free Press contributor. You can find more from Ashe at linktr.ee/asheinamerica.
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