The Rocky Mountain News inaccurately reported that Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Ken Gordon called on current Secretary of State Gigi Dennis (R) to resign for making controversial changes to state campaign finance rules. In fact, Gordon asked her to delay implementing the rules until after the November election.
A September 6 Rocky Mountain News article inaccurately reported that Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Ken Gordon called on current Secretary of State Gigi Dennis (R) to resign for making controversial changes to Colorado campaign finance rules. However, a Colorado Media Matters review* of Gordon's statements reveals that he did not call for Dennis's resignation, but in fact asked her to delay implementing the new rules until after the November election.
The September 6 article in the News reported that "All three candidates for secretary of state criticized the current officeholder Tuesday for making changes to campaign finance laws two months before the November election." Later in the same article by reporter April M. Washington, the News inaccurately stated "Gordon, who last week called on Dennis to resign, accused her of playing partisan politics." In fact, Gordon made no such demand.
The News possibly confused Gordon's statements with those of Colorado Democratic Party Chair Pat Waak, who on August 28 did call on Dennis to resign as secretary of state. An August 30 article in the News reported, "Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon today called on Secretary of State Gigi Dennis to delay her controversial campaign-finance rules until after the November election." The same August 30 News article also reported, "Pat Waak, the chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, has called on Dennis to resign, but Gordon said that doesn't solve the problem."
Similarly, a Denver Post article from August 30 stated, "Both the Republican and Democratic candidates for secretary of state Wednesday called on the woman they would replace to delay enforcement of controversial new campaign finance rules until after the November election." The same article also noted "Pat Waak, head of the state Democratic Party, on Monday called for Dennis's resignation."
As Colorado Media Matters noted on September 6, a News analysis of so-called small-donor committees failed to note that Secretary of State Gigi Dennis changed three state campaign finance rules at the request of lawyers representing Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's campaign, the state Republican Party, and the Republican-backed Trailhead Group. The September 6 analysis contrasted with Washington's News article from the same day that reported criticism of Dennis by all three secretary of state candidates, including Gordon, who said, "The problem I have with what Gigi Dennis did is that some Republican lawyers came to her and asked for the change ... [s]he acted in a partisan way. That's wrong, and that's the last thing you want from the secretary of state."
From the September 6 Rocky Mountain News article by April M. Washington, "Candidates assail secretary of state":
The candidates criticized Secretary of State Gigi Dennis' recent actions as they went toe-to-toe over which man would uphold the integrity of elections.
Dennis, a Republican, has come under fire in recent weeks for a rule change that critics say makes it harder for unions to donate members' dues to small-donor committees, which tend to benefit Democrats.
Under the change, unions and membership organizations are required to get each member's written consent before they may commit dues to campaigns.
Coffman said he agrees in principle with the rule change but objects to the way it was put in place weeks before the election, and questioned whether Dennis had the authority to do so.
"It's late in the political process to put substantial rules in place that should have been made earlier in the election process," Coffman said.
Gordon, who last week called on Dennis to resign, accused her of playing partisan politics.
"The problem I have with what Gigi Dennis did is that some Republican lawyers came to her and asked for the change," he said. "She acted in a partisan way. That's wrong, and that's the last thing you want from the secretary of state."
*Rocky Mountain News searches: gordon AND dennis; The Denver Post searches: Ken Gordon AND Gigi Dennis AND resignation; Nexis searches: "Ken Gordon" AND "Gigi Dennis" AND "resign" OR "resignation"; review of websites http://www.kengordon.com/ and http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/senate/members/sen35.htm