Andy Jones, who is running for the Douglas County school board with a slate of conservative candidates, has received two campaign violation complaints in the span of four days.
The most recent complaint, filed by Benjamin Boaz on Oct. 20, alleges Jones’ campaign paid the entire expense for advertisements and fliers that should have been split equally among the other two members of his slate, Jason Page and Maria Sumnicht.
Boaz states, “Since the campaigns are canvassing voters together with signs and literature that were paid for equally by the campaigns, the i360 voter canvassing tool and voter data from Bonfire, which supports their joint effort, should also be equally shared by the campaigns.”
A market research and data science company that provides political and commercial products designed to help its users reach their target audiences, i360 provides predictive dialer calls, real-time directions, and “streamlined data collection” that “optimizes routes” for canvassing homes, and texting services meant to “deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.”
Bonfire provides voter data and predictive analytics to political campaigns, nonprofits, PACs, state parties, and political strategists.
According to TRACER, Jones’ campaign paid i360 $3,000 and Bonfire $960 for voter data. Sumnicht and Page’s campaigns have no listed payments to i360 or Bonfire nor any reimbursement expenses to Jones.
Boaz highlights campaign finance rule 10.11, which states, “Each candidate committee that shares the cost of brochures, office space, or other overhead must pay its proportionate share of the cost within 30 days of the expenditure.”
To date, Jones’ campaign contributions total approximately $26,600, compared to Sumnicht’s $14,400 and Page’s $12,100.
Another complaint, filed by Robin Webb on Oct. 16, alleges that Jones may have accepted an illegal donation. Webb writes that she noticed an online contribution entry in the Secretary of State’s TRACER (Transparency in Contribution and Expenditure Reporting) Campaign Finance system from an organization called “Our Families, Our Future.”
“This organization, based on my review of TRACER as well as the business entity search database, shows the organization in question doesn’t even exist,” writes Webb. “This is extremely concerning as there continue to be examples of ‘dark money’ making its way into local elections, and I believe the Secretary of State’s office should be holding firmly accountable campaigns that partake in what seems to be at the least negligible activity, and, at the worst, possibly accepting illegal contributions.”
According to TRACER, Our Families, Our Future is a political expenditure committee dedicated to electing republican candidates to public office in Colorado. Kurt Huffman is the registered agent.
Huffman defeated Webb in the 2022 Republican primary for Colorado House District 43. Huffman later lost to Democrat Robert Marshall in the general election. Huffman terminated the Our Families, Our Future committee on July 28, 2023, and gifted the remaining balance to Jones.
An enforcement team with the Secretary of State’s office has ten days from the filing to make its initial assessment. Based on that review, the enforcement team may file a motion to dismiss the complaint, allow the candidate or committee to resolve the allegation, or begin an additional review and investigation.
Jones named in complaint against Douglas County conservative nonprofit
The filing came after the Secretary of State investigated an October 2022 complaint by Angela Thomas against the nonprofit for failing to include a “paid for by” disclaimer on a mobile billboard truck playing a video advocating against House Democrat Robert Marshall during the election campaign.
The investigation found that Andy Jones, acting on behalf of DougCo Protective, paid $1,100 for the mobile billboard truck. While the group reported the expenditure to the Secretary of State, DougCo Protective never registered as an independent expenditure committee, which it is required to do under campaign finance law.
Also, the state’s office found that Aaron Wood, a conservative Christian election conspiracist and outspoken proponent of banning books from Douglas County libraries, produced the video and, when asked to submit the videos in question, sent the office different videos than the ones used in the negative campaign ads.
A judge granted a motion to stay the proceedings on Oct. 2, meaning the parties are currently in settlement negotiations.
The Colorado Times Recorder reached out to Jones for comment, but he has yet to respond.