The vice chair of the El Paso County Republican Party is alleging campaign finance violations associated with an Aug. 6 fundraising dinner, where controversial Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was the keynote speaker.
Chair Vicki Tonkins, and by extension the party, failed to accurately report expenditures and contributions associated with the dinner, Vice Chair Karl Schneider alleged in a complaint he filed with the Colorado secretary of state’s office on Tuesday.
In the complaint, Schneider says he learned of potential campaign finance issues after the former party treasurer, John Pitchford, sent an email to the El Paso County GOP officers on Oct. 1 asking for a full inventory of items auctioned at the Aug. 6 Lincoln Day dinner. Pitchford’s email, which is attached to the complaint, was also sent to state GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown.
Pitchford later resigned as treasurer due in part “to the fact he requested, as did I … that we hire an outside accountant and conduct a full audit to help sort this matter out,” Schneider’s complaint continues. “The Chair has refused to provide this support and refused to communicate with myself on the matter and other members of the Executive Committee of the El Paso County GOP which has a fiduciary responsibility w/regard to all financial matters.”
Schneider has recently called on Tonkins to resign due to an email she sent to county Republicans ahead of the Nov. 2 election, according to The Gazette. The email accused Schneider, along with former party chair Kay Rendleman and state Sen. Larry Liston, a Colorado Springs Republican, of trying to block the distribution of a school board candidate survey that included questions about whether the 2020 election was fraudulent.
Attached to Schneider’s complaint is what appears to be an undated appeal from members of the El Paso County GOP executive committee to the state Republican Party. The letter, addressed to Burton Brown, asks for help finding an accountant to audit the county party’s financial accounts. It also asks for a member of the state party’s executive committee to oversee the audit process. “We are deeply concerned that if there are discrepancies, missing money, missing items, or misspent funds, that we, the members of the County Executive Committee, would be culpable for that negligence,” the letter says.
It’s unclear whether the state GOP responded to that appeal. Schneider did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did Tonkins, nor a representative from the Colorado Republican Party.
“It is the intent of this complaint to report suspected campaign finance law violations and ultimately achieve transparency in our Party financial dealings by requesting the Secretary of the State of Colorado investigate these allegations of campaign finance law violations,” Schneider’s complaint says.
This article was originally published in Colorado Newsline.