If you like summer election mysteries, you’ll enjoy pondering why personal injury attorney Frank Azar gave $50,000 to a committee backing Denver District Attorney candidate Michael Carrigan. And why would Azar run the money through a Texas entity?
The Colorado Independent’s Marrianne Goodland first reported the donation last month, but Azar, whose ads are a well-known blight on TV, wouldn’t tell Goodland why he made the donation.
This week, Azar’s money was behind an ugly mailer attacking Carrigan’s Democratic primary opponent, former State Rep. Beth McCann.
See the Carrigan mailer attacking Beth McCann here.
In response to the mailer, McCann wrote in an email to supporters, “This mailer is the perfect example of why we need to get dark money and Super PACs out of our democratic elections. The public has no way of knowing why Mr. Azar contributed $50,000 to elect my opponent.”
Beth McCann for Denver District Attorney campaign manager Daniel Aschkinasi added in a statement, “We have all become too familiar with this circus of dark money trying to influence important political races. This group has one purpose, and that is to smear the record of a dedicated public servant. At a time when our nation looks to solve gun violence issues, we have an opportunity to elect the woman who stood up to the NRA and passed universal background checks three years ago.”
Goodland reported May 19:
Donors [to Fair Public Advocate, an independent expenditure committee] include Denver personal injury attorney Michael Sawaya, with $5,000. Another $1,000 came from attorney Norm Brownstein of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck, one of Denver’s best-known and most politically-connected law firms.
The biggest donation, $50,000, came in February from a Texas holding company, FDJR Holdings, Inc. of Houston.
According to the Texas Secretary of State, FDJR Holdings is one of a group of holding companies owned by Azar and/or his wife, Jeanette Renfro Azar.
Carrigan gave Goodland no explanation for the Azar donation, except to say that individuals and groups who “agree with my platform” are free to donate, but he will not be “beholden” to them. And he attacked McCann’s donations, even though she has no comparable donation to a group backing her.
Good journalism frequently starts with a good question. In this case it is this: Why is big bad personal injury attorney Azar spending 50K to back Carrigan? What is he hoping to get out of Denver’s next district attorney?