Republican Lang Sias wants to be Colorado’s next treasurer, but first he has to convince voters that he’s the best choice to manage the state’s multi-billion dollar finances.
Yet, after learning that a QAnon-supporting Jan. 6 participant gave his campaign $1,250 — the maximum amount allowed — Sias won’t say whether he’s returning the money. His campaign manager Tiffany Coolidge did not respond to an email request for comment, despite having responded to the Colorado Times Recorder’s inquiries about this same donor in connection with GOP Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson, whose campaign Coolidge is also running.
The donor, Wendy Meritt, is a wealthy Republican fundraiser and activist who tweeted about attending Trump’s Stop the Steal rally and then walking down to the Capitol, where she says she saw police removing barricades to allow pro-Trump crowd to get closer.
Meritt gave the maximum allowable donation not only to Sias but also to gubernatorial hopeful Heidi Ganahl and Attorney General nominee John Kellner. She’s contributed even more to Joe O’Dea’s U.S. Senate campaign, which makes sense considering her husband Xernie is O’Dea’s longtime business partner at Concrete Express, Inc.
At the state GOP primary night watch party back in June, Sias appeared in a brief campaign video with Meritt, similar to the one Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson recorded with Meritt that same evening.
Meritt: We’ve got such an amazing team here in Colorado. This state is going red again! We’re going to get back to normal!”
Sias: “It’s a great slate of candidates. I couldn’t be prouder to be campaigning with these folks and hopefully serving with them.”
Meritt not only tweeted about participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection but also promoted the QAnon-linked “Italygate” conspiracy, which claims Italian military satellites remotely switched votes from Trump to Biden.
In 2019 the Trump administration’s FBI identified the QAnon conspiracy movement as a domestic terror threat.
Returning contributions due to association with QAnon is not without precedent. In the summer of 2020, Koch PAC asked then congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene to return its $5000 donation once news of her support for QAnon became public. According to FEC records, Greene never returned the money.
The position of state treasurer used to be a largely bureaucratic role, essentially devoid of politics. In recent years, however, elected officials in charge of states’ multi-billion dollar finances regularly face calls to wield their fiscal power in a responsible and ethical manner. For example, current Treasurer Dave Young, a Democrat, helped pull the Colorado Public Employees Pension Association’s investment from Russian banks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.