“I won’t stand for it…”
House District 61 candidate Kathleen Curry is so upset with some negative attack ads being circulated to voters through the mail and on the radio that she is seeking legal action to stop them.
On Monday, October 15, Curry, an unaffiliated candidate for the statehouse seat, formally filed an affidavit requesting an investigation of the Colorado Accountable Government Alliance (CAGA) Independent Expenditure Committee and Political Action Committee with the 5th, 7th and 9th District Attorney’s offices.
Curry submitted her request after having received three mail pieces from CAGA and hearing a radio advertisement paid for by CAGA alleging that a bill she sponsored as a member of the state legislature allowed insurance companies to deny mammograms and other cancer screening coverage. Curry insists that the bill in question did not allow insurance companies to deny mammogram coverage.
“It’s like they didn’t read the bills,” she said Tuesday. “The bills I ran didn’t do at all what the flyers are saying. And that is illegal to do in Colorado.”
According to a Curry press release, the publication of false information with the intent to influence voters is a violation of Colorado law 1-13-109 CRS.
Curry’s affidavit was also filed with the Colorado Attorney General’s office and the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
“I believe that the Colorado Accountable Government Alliance should be investigated and held accountable for its actions in my race for the State House,” she said. “The fact that thousands of voters in four counties were sent information that is factually incorrect is in violation of the law and I intend to pursue legal action regardless of the short time period left before election day.
“The use of such tactics damages the voter’s trust in the system and undermines the integrity of the election process,” she continued. “As an independent candidate I do not use or support destructive campaign practices, and Colorado law prohibits the use of blatant lies to influence voters.”
Curry said because the House district covers a wide geographic area, she had to file the affidavit with three separate district attorneys. She said they are meeting to decide how best to coordinate the situation but all are looking into an investigation.
“The damage is already done. The flyers are out there and radio ads are running and they are even robo-calling,” she said. “But for me it is a matter of principle. I want to hold them responsible and let them know they can’t break Colorado’s laws. I’m not the only candidate they are doing this to.” She cited two Front Range candidates who have had similar false claims made against them from the same political organization.
Based on records with the Colorado Secretary of State, CAGA is a primarily Democrat-funded political organization, with major contributions coming from several labor unions and Democratic political activists.
Curry’s Democratic opponent for the seat, Millie Hamner, said she has seen the mailers and does not back the tactic or the message. “I do not support this kind of election messaging,” she said Tuesday. “None of these communications are coming from my campaign. I continue to adhere to a very positive and fair campaign plan.”
Republican House District 61 candidate Debra Irvine said she has seen the ads and made it clear that they are funded by the Democrats. “Our campaign is a grassroots campaign with donations from individuals. I am not surprised by the negative mailers and the volume of money being spent,” she said. “Although I was subject to it when I ran for the State House in 2010 and am experiencing it again, I know how to rise above it and we are working hard to get our message out to the voters directly.”
Curry made it clear the misleading information is not only hurting her campaign but is libelous and slanderous and she plans to file a civil suit against the CAGA as well. “This stuff really does undermine the integrity of the election process,” she said. “I plan to hold this so-called accountable government group accountable. This kind of thing is destructive politics. It’s not acceptable and I won’t stand for it.”
All three candidates plan on appearing at the Crested Butte News candidate’s forum this Thursday, October 18. Perhaps the issue will be raised.