State Sen. Pete Lee, a Democrat representing El Paso County, has been indicted by a grand jury for giving false information about his voter registration address in the 2020 presidential primary election.
It seems that Lee wasn’t actually living in the district he represented, and the address he listed to vote was a rental unit he owns, but leases to his stepdaughter.
An El Paso County grand jury indicted Lee on Aug. 3 on one count of providing false information as to his residence, a class 5 felony. His first court appearance is Sept. 8.
Lee has been removed from all legislative interim committee assignments until the court case is resolved, according to Senate President Steve Fenberg, Boulder Democrat.
Peak Politics reported earlier this year that Lee admitted to the false residence address during a phone conversation with an unknown woman on speaker.
That phone conversation in 2020 was recorded through a web video conference window Lee had inadvertently left open during a Senate session.
Peak first obtained a copy of the recording, and printed the transcript in which Lee confided he had hired a criminal defense lawyer, which was referred to him via Fenberg.
Peak Politics was contacted by the El Paso County District Attorney following our publication of the recording and transcript.
In the taped conversation, a clearly nervous Lee discusses Pam Zubeck’s 2020 article in the Colorado Springs Independent that first questioned his voter registration address.
PETE LEE: I’ve also got this Goddamn residency challenge thing that Zubeck –
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I know.
LEE: Published, I’m really stressed out about that to be honest with you. Fenberg referred me to a Martha Tierney who’s the Party lawyer, who turned me onto –
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah I know Martha.
LEE: Yeah. Well she, did me some original good research and turned me onto a guy by the name of John Buckley who she works with very closely, who is also a criminal defense attorney. So I’ve been working with him.
I need to talk with you about, “what do I do?”
He has written a statement for me to put out. The interesting thing, two really interesting things —
One, the real threat is it’s a felony 5 to vote from a district that you don’t live in. The way they define that is “present intent to reside,” that’s not exactly it, but, you know, it’s pretty close to that.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Right.
LEE: So, he doesn’t think there’s really enough to nail me on that because at the time when I voted I had a present intent to reside in Sheridan. Actually, the last time I voted I was living in Denver. Right? [Laughter]
Read the rest of the transcript and Peak’s scoop here.
Lee released the following statement after the indictment was made public:
“I have been informed that Republican El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen has alleged that two years ago I violated the voter residence law for voting in a district where he claims I did not reside. There is no accusation of voting at more than one location. I have just recently received the actual charge and have yet to obtain all pertinent information, so I cannot comment on the allegation. I have engaged counsel to evaluate the one charge and related issues. While the DA’s charge has no connection to my official duties as an elected official, I place great value in the trust that Colorado voters give to their elected officials and have spent my career working to uphold those ideals. Therefore, to avoid having my personal circumstances become a distraction, I have asked the Senate Majority Leader to replace me on the Interim Committees on Judicial Discipline and Behavioral Health in the Criminal Justice System.”
If found guilty, Lee could be sentenced to prison for up to two years, and fined up to $100,000.
“It’s a good thing Democrat Senator Pete Lee isn’t running for re-election because he doesn’t deserve to represent the people of Colorado for another term after blatantly lying to voters about his voter registration,” said (Republican )party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown. “With all the questions regarding our elections, our elected officials should be the ones who are helping build faith in our elections, not undermining them.”