State election officials say they will investigate charges that a candidate for Mesa County commissioner broke the law by utilizing county employees in a campaign video.
Cody Davis is the Republican candidate who did a Facebook video for his campaign page with six employees of the Mesa County Department of Human Services Leadership Team including the Director of Human Services.
The county employees engaged in a discussion with Davis about the ongoing coronavirus situation. And they clearly knew they video was campaign-related because the Daily Sentinel reports:
At the beginning of Davis’ virtual meetings, both Garchar and Kuhr make it clear that they didn’t agree to attend as a way of endorsing or supporting his campaign, but only to help disseminate information to as many county residents as possible, particularly about their agencies’ response to the pandemic.
And yet, there they all are, participating as taxpayer-funded employees in a campaign video.
Davis is challenging state Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction in the GOP primary, but the complaint was filed by Grand Junction resident Brian Timothy Fenwick.
The Elections Division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office notes from Fenwick’s complaint: “The taxpayer funded time for these employees to appear at Davis’ campaign events was above $50.00.”
Davis also told the Sentinel before the decision to investigate moved forward that he welcomed an investigation because there was nothing political about the videos on his campaign website.
He was just trying to educate himself, a candidate, and voters.
“They really are non-political, and they’re just designed to educate me and educate the public,” said Davis, adding that the videos also are available on YouTube. “Gosh, if I was trying to break the law, do you think I would do it live on Facebook? Hopefully, the state will come back and say this is unfounded. But if not, I welcome an investigation. I hope people see it is my intention to show transparency, do things out in the open, and not in some back room somewhere.”
By all means, campaign virtual meeting videos with voters should be completely transparent and not done in some backroom somewhere where no voters could actually see or participate in the de facto campaign commercial.
Gosh, if Davis knew he was breaking the law, we’re pretty sure it would not be on Facebook.