Colorado election officials found no evidence that Gov. Jared Polis violated state law when he sent residents a letter alongside their tax refund checks earlier this summer, and they’ve now asked the Secretary of State’s Office to dismiss a complaint accusing him of misleading voters.
The Secretary of State’s Office has been investigating the letter for a month, after the chairwoman of the state Republican Party, Kristi Burton Brown, filed a formal complaint accusing Polis of misleading voters by branding the refunds as the “Colorado Cashback” program, rather than a requirement under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Polis has said he sent the letter to explain the purpose of the checks, while Burton Brown and other Republicans have accused him of using public funds to boost his own reelection campaign.
But after talking with Polis, Burton Brown and lawmakers involved in the cashback program, investigators with the office’s elections division found “insufficient” evidence to suggest Polis had violated state law. Polis’s letter, they wrote, fell within the confines of his official duties as governor, and the “Colorado Cashback” program was a legislatively approved program, rather than a campaign effort, as Burton Brown had alleged.
Alongside a summary of their findings, the division earlier this week asked the deputy secretary of state, Christopher Beall, to formally dismiss the complaint. The deputy director has 35 days to decide whether to dismiss the complaint, the secretary’s office said.
Polis’s campaign did not return a request for comment sent early Tuesday afternoon. Annie Orloff, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office, declined to comment because the complaint is still considered open until Beall makes a determination.