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CIW Complaint Prompts State Senator to Return Illegal Contribution

Campaign Integrity Watchdog Complaint Prompts State Senator to Return Illegal Contribution

Following a campaign finance complaint brought by the government-accountability organization Campaign Integrity Watchdog, State Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada) returned several illegal campaign contributions, including a contribution from a registered lobbyist received during the legislative session (lobbyist contributions during session are disallowed to discourage corruption, or the appearance of corruption).

State Senator Zenzinger, running for reelection in Colorado's Senate District 19, was appointed to office after the former officeholder, Evie Hudak, was forced out of office by a looming recall effort due to her pushing gun-control legislation.

State Senator Zenzinger’s most recent campaign finance report (2 September) reveals the return not only of the lobbyist contribution (received back in February of this year), but also the return of other contributions that were disallowed or exceeded allowable contribution limits.

“Colorado citizens deserve representation by elected officials who will actually follow the laws that they enact and swear to uphold. There is no question that without Campaign Integrity Watchdog’s complaint, this illegal contribution would have passed unremarked – and unreturned. We are glad to see that Senator Zenzinger did the right thing by returning the contribution once she was charged with a campaign finance complaint, but it should never have been accepted in the first place,” said Matt Arnold, Director of Campaign Integrity Watchdog.

In a “triple play” of complaints filed against candidates for State House and Senate in August, Campaign Integrity Watchdog alleged that all three accepted illegal contributions during the session. Senator Zenzinger returned her contribution, but Former State Representative Judy Solano (Democratic candidate for Senate District 24) and Westminster Mayor Pro-Tem Faith Winter (Democratic candidate for House District 25) merely amended their filings to reflect a different date of receipt (changed to before the session) for their illegal contributions.

“Had CIW not gotten involved in pointing out this illegal activity, these legislative candidates would have gotten away with flouting the law. I’m proud that Campaign Integrity Watchdog has a track record of holding law breakers across both sides of the aisle accountable to restore integrity to our political system in Colorado,” concluded Mr. Arnold.