House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) has had a rough go of it in his short time atop the Democrat's state House caucus. Between his members bashing bills backed by him in public and ignoring his edicts on committee votes, it has not been the smoothest of tenures. Now comes word he has become tied up in a lobbyist fundraising scandal.
A fundraiser for former state Rep. Dianne Primavera's HD33 campaign, a seat she is trying to win back after losing to Don Beezley in 2010, included lobbyist Anne McGihon on the co-host list. That is blantantly illegal and McGihon was forced to remove her name.
But now it turns out that McGihon's name was on another fundraiser for legislative Democrats during the session.
Reports The Colorado Observer's Tyler Sandberg:
McGihon’s name also appears on the co-host list for a House Majority Project fundraiser on February 23, an organization which is described on its website as “an initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party.”
The Colorado Observer obtained a copy of the fundraiser solicitation that was originally sent out by State Representative Daniel Kagan (D-Denver).
…Tyler Q. Houlton, president of Compass Colorado, the group that made the initial allegations regarding the Primavera fundraiser, placed blame at the feet of House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino, who appears on both the Primavera and House Majority Project fundraising solicitations as well. The House Majority Project website’s home page also includes a fundraising solicitation from Ferrandino.
“It’s very disturbing that this isn’t an isolated incident. Mark Ferrandino is overseeing a culture of corruption as the leader of the Democratic Party.”
Representative Ferrandino has not responded to calls and emails seeking comment.
We tracked down a copy of the fundraiser invite, which you can see here.
It seems pretty clear to us non-lawyers that Ferrandino and lobbyist McGihon were trying to russle up money for Daniel Kagan and other targeted seats, in direct contravention of the law.
Mark Ferrandino: Call your office. Or, better yet, call The House Majority Project. You might be dealing with a serious campaign finance violation complaint.
Everyone knows at the Capitol that lobbyists should be nowhere near fundraisers for legislators or legislative candidates during session.
Yet Mark Ferrandino's name appears on both fundraising solicitations, among other legislators, for events designed to raise money for specific legislative candidates during the session with a lobbyist.
As The Denver Post has been writing stories about Democrats not being able to speak at the microphone, we'd hope they would find this story noteworthy enough to at least write about it.