Colorado Secretary of State pushes back against Denver grand jury investigation

Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 14:39:23-04

DENVER – Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams pushed back Friday against an active Denver grand jury investigation regarding campaign finance complaints.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office confirmed to Denver7 Friday there is an open investigation into Williams and said it could not comment further on ongoing investigations.

“We can confirm there is an open investigation in the Denver Grand Jury relating to the Colorado Secretary of State, and that it concerns campaign finance complaints and the collection of campaign finance penalties,” said a statement from the office of DA Beth McCann. “Per the rules and procedures governing grand jury proceedings, we cannot comment further on pending grand jury investigations.”

The Secretary of State’s Office says the complaints that led to the grand jury probe came from Matt Arnold and allege that Williams, a Republican, and the office illegally intervened in a handful of campaign finance cases, and in one instance that Williams didn’t collect a fine from a company.

CBS4 first reported the story Thursday night, in which Arnold alleges that Williams didn’t collect the fine because the person was an associate of his – something Williams denies. He said he didn’t collect the fine because the company didn’t have any money that could be collected, according to CBS4.

“This is why legitimate debate about our campaign finance law should happen in public at the legislature and not behind closed doors in secret proceedings,” Williams said in a statement sent to Denver7 Friday.

His office says Arnold has “filed the majority of campaign finance complaints” in recent years, and said Williams and the office have filed briefs supporting Arnold in other campaign finance cases. Further, the office says, it has intervened in several cases involving state interests—not only cases that involve friends of Williams’.

The Secretary of State’s Office claims it has cooperated with McCann’s office since Arnold filed the complaint last summer, and says McCann is now asking for documents the office has already provided.

According to CBS4, the grand jury is probing whether Williams committed official misconduct, which is a misdemeanor in Colorado.

"In each case of intervention, our office has had a documented legal interest in the proceedings and the intervention is only permitted if either an administrative law judge or panel of appellate judges agree," Williams said in a statement.