There is being a “watchdog” and, then, there is using that perception to extort money from organizations. PeakNation™, you may have missed an article in the Colorado Independent that received little fan fare, but touched on the activities of Matt Arnold and his organizations, Campaign Integrity Watchdog and Colorado Campaign Compliance LLC. An email, exclusively obtained by the Peak, sent by Arnold shows that he threatened to continue to file campaign finance violations against the Colorado Republican Committee (CRC) – that’s the Colorado GOP – unless an audit conducted by his campaign compliance company was performed at a cost of $10,000.
The entire email can be read here, but here is where Arnold crosses the line, from the email:
“…this is a pretty sweet deal being offered; not only would the party avoid potential penalties of up to nearly $100,000 [sic] total (and the concurrent political hit), it would save at LEAST an equal amount on fees for legal services, AND be spared any headache of having to deal with future complaints (frankly, that’s of inestimable value on that count alone). 😉
All for less than what the party already contractually obligated to pay [sic].
I’m willing to offer this generous deal in the interest of avoiding disruption to what is, after all, MY party – albeit a party that has proven less than faithful in fulfilling its obligations to me and mine – in a critical election year.
But, Bygones… IF we can reach an agreement.
Alternatively, ‘the beatings will continue until morale improves.’ ;)”
Throughout the email, Arnold enumerates his complaints against the CRC. Sources close to the situation dispute Arnold’s account. For example, Arnold lists fines that the CRC could be on the hook for; however, he lists the theoretical maximum as a scare tactic.
Arnold also abuses the system in order to drive potential fines through the roof. For example, Arnold currently has a pending case against the Colorado GOP Political Action Committee (CRPPAC). He literally waited until the 180th day to file allegations that CRPPAC accepted two three dollar donations from an LLC without breaking out the LLC’s members and attributing the contribution to them. The theory behind this type of action is that he does this to maximize potential fines and encourage those he brings complaints against to pay him to “go away” because it could be cheaper than paying the fines.
Arnold also claims that the CRC agreed to hire his company. Sources close to the situation also dispute this account. In the course of interviews for a compliance contract, Arnold allegedly made veiled threats that if he was not hired, he would file more campaign finance complaints against the Party. After Arnold was notified that he would not be getting the job, Arnold allegedly told Party officials that if he did not sign a consulting contract, he would “bankrupt” the Party.
Tip: it’s probably a bad idea to threaten to bankrupt an organization when you’re so close to bankruptcy yourself.