Marijuana: Did anti-pot-tax group break campaign law with joint giveways?

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Big photos below.
Update: Rob Corry has responded to our interview request about the Colorado Ethics Watch complaint against the No on Proposition AA campaign. His comments follow our original post.

Over the past month or so, the organization opposed to the marijuana taxation measure Proposition AA has staged rallies in Denver and Boulder at which attendees were given free joints. But did the way No on Prop AA reported about its expenditures break Colorado campaign-finance law?

The watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch thinks it did and has filed a complaint with the state on the topic. Details below.

The main concerns cited by CEW in its complaint, submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, which oversees electoral matters in these parts, involve the way the opposition group has dealt with money matters. A September 16 disclosure form is said to have noted a cash contribution of $0.01 -- that's one cent -- from attorney Rob Corry, who helped organize the September 9 rally at Denver's Civic Center Park and a September 23 sequel on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall.

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Photo by Alex Brown
Rob Corry addresses the crowd at the first joint giveaway, last month at Civic Center Park.
According to CEW, this penny was earmarked for "Marijuana," with another one supposedly designated for "office space" -- presumably a West Colfax address the campaign has reportedly occupied since July.

We've reached out to Corry for comment, and -- update -- new comments can be found on page three of this post. But in a Q&A published the morning of the Boulder free-joint rally, we asked Corry who supplied the cannabis for the event. "Numerous sources who wish to remain anonymous," he replied, adding, "The fair market value of the cannabis is zero since it cannot be legally sold for 'remuneration' without a valid license to do so and no such license presently exists, and will not until January 1, 2014 under Amendment 64."

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Luis Toro.
This explanation doesn't quite fly with Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch, who describes the No on Prop AA's one-penny filings as red flags.

"As voters, we're entitled to know who the contributors to a campaign are," Toro notes, "and you can't say, 'The donor would prefer to remain anonymous.' That's been decided: The Colorado constitution and election statutes say if you're going to contribute to a campaign, you should expect that your name is going to be disclosed.

"There is a procedure to redact names of donors," he continues, pointing out that possible reasons for anonymity include a person's status as a victim of domestic violence -- "but that's not what was done here. There isn't a form on the Secretary of State's website that has the name redacted. It just says, 'Rob Corry, one cent,' which cannot be correct."

Of course, one possible reason for the sources to prefer being on the down-low involves the question of whether they broke the law by providing the pot for the rallies.

Continue for more about the campaign complaint involving the No on Prop AA group, including Rob Corry's response.



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14 comments
McShyster
McShyster

Rob Corry - Habitual Criminal

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

How about Colorado Ethics Watch file an ethics complaint on the 18 member board of politicians who added a lie about the tax to the blue book?  

On page 20 the last sentence of the Summery says that if the taxes aren't passed then the state will have to eliminate and cut state programs.....complete and utter lie. 


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

"Of course, one possible reason for the sources to prefer being on the down-low involves the question of whether they broke the law by providing the pot for the rallies."

An even better reason is that they fear being harassed by the prison industrial complex.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Campaign finance restrictions are pure bullshit. We all know the fat cats have numerous ways to fund whatever they want without being fingered. What it really does is keep small groups with little funds from competing with those same fat cats on the political stage. This leads to another important point: politics itself is bullshit.

For example, how many times as much money is the pro-AA campaign spending than the anti-AA campaign? Even the disclosed funds dwarf that.

Monkey
Monkey

I want to know who donated those signs, and the audio system. What about the containers the joints were in, who donated those? Who paid for the rolling papers, and who donated their time to roll those joints? Who donated the fuel to drive those joints to the rally? These are all very important questions, and the public needs to know! That way, maybe we'll draw attention away from the people against unnecessary overtaxation, and concentrate on the evils of anonymous donating. 

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

So where will the $ to regulate the greedy dispensary cartels come from if the tax measure fails?

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

Fris
Fris

@Monkey Please. You know damn well that if it was a group you weren't agreeing with that you probably WOULD be concerned with anonymous donors and people not following campaign finance laws. This is exactly the type of move that Miguel Lopez and Rob Corry would love to have used on the Pro-AA side and wouldn't have batted an eye at doing so if they had the opportunity. They would bitch to no end if the Yes on AA campaign was doing anything questionable with their financing (need proof? they bitched to no end about Pro-AA  having a legal fundraiser last week.)

Monkey
Monkey

@stupidstuka License and application fees, along with violation penalties. That alone will be more than liquor enforcement gets.

jetdoc1
jetdoc1

@stupidstuka The problem with that stance is that in about 90 days, it'll be LEGAL and will NOT be a crime anymore...  So WHY waste the resources you have, fighting someone on something that'll be LEGAL in 90 days?  To me that's NOTHING but spite...

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@stupidstuka 

Notice how I said "harass," not "arrest and convict." The DEA doesn't bother to do the law and order thing any more. They just do smash and grab operations and threaten to do the same.

Monkey
Monkey

@Fris  If anonymous donations are the problem, why stop at weed? The megaphone, table and chairs didn't donate themselves, so who was responsible for bringing them there? All these anonymous donations need to be accounted for,  the people deserve to know who brought that case of bottled water!

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