Democrats trying to clear up $3.2 million discrepancy following FEC audit
DENVER – State Democratic Party officials on Monday said they were trying to clear up a $3.2 million discrepancy found by a Federal Election Commission audit in which investigators determined that the party may have misallocated campaign funds in 2001 and 2002.Party chairman Pat Waak said the discrepancies are only a matter of finding documents to back up the reports filed with the FEC.”This is a paper problem,” Waak said.State Republican Party spokeswoman Rachael Sunbarger said any complaint by the FEC is serious.”This is an attempt to downplay a serious problem. This looks like a pretty serious matter,” she said.Darryl Tattrie, a political audit consultant based in Phoenix hired to help the party resolve the discrepancies, said state party officials failed to properly document spending on federal races for Congress and nonfederal races during the two years that were audited.According to the FEC, the Colorado Democratic Party reported a payment for media consulting of $343,000 as a $343 payment, failed to report receipts from a third-party fundraiser totaling $99,802 in 2001 and $112,700 in 2002 and failed to return an illegal $10,000 contribution from the New Democrat Network in a timely manner.The New Democrat Network check written in April 2002 was returned in July 2003.Tattrie said most of the questioned spending involved money spent on advertising. Federal campaign laws at the time required state parties to determine what percentage of a postcard or television ad was used for federal candidates, including races for Congress, and what percentage of the ad featured state candidates, including governor or the state legislature.Tattrie said the party has asked the FEC for more information, and subpoenas will be sent to vendors who fail to provide documents. He said if vendors do not have the documents, the party may have to transfer funds from federal races to state races, which could hurt the party in next year’s congressional races. The FEC said the party could pay the money back over time.Waak said the party only had $90,000 in the bank at the end of August, and it could take years to the money pay back if the party is ordered to do so by the FEC, but she said she isn’t worried.”We pay it back to ourselves, but we think we can clear it up,” she said.Waak said former state party chairman Tim Knaus was in charge at the time. Knaus did not return phone calls seeking comment.
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