DA Truden raises $8,500 in recall fight | AspenTimes.com

DA Truden raises $8,500 in recall fight

Chad Abraham

District Attorney Colleen Truden has enlisted the help of old friends and at least one prominent Republican to raise $8,500 in her attempt to win next month’s recall election.Her political committee, Integrity in Prosecution, which disbanded in September apparently without taking any donations or incurring any expenses, formed again two weeks later. This time the group received and spent funds.By far, John Tindall gave the most during the last reporting period. The former spokesman for the controversial Crystal River Marketplace in Carbondale, which residents rejected in a 2003 vote, gave $5,000 to Integrity in Prosecution.The political committee’s only expenditure during the last reporting period was also $5,000 – on marketing with Tindall’s firm, Tindall Jaycox Marketing, according to an expenditure report on file with the Colorado secretary of state. Truden has hired the Glenwood Springs company to run her advertising campaign, Tindall said.State election officials’ ruling on whether Truden’s opponent, Martin Beeson, gathered enough signatures to get himself onto the recall ballot should come by the end of the week. Until then, it is too early to plan the specifics of her campaign, Tindall said.Tindall’s company offers everything from basic public relations to more extensive campaigns involving television, newspaper and radio ads.Truden is one his closest friends, Tindall said, and has been ever since she arrived in Glenwood Springs. He also ran her advertising campaign when she was elected to office in August 2004.”We’ve known each other for a very long time,” he said.He described her as an active participant in the Republican Party who has volunteered on many political campaigns.Tindall’s main concern as Truden’s consultant is that the election date falls near the holiday season, he said. Voter turnout will likely be very low as people focus on their families instead of a nasty political fight. He said low turnout will be problematic for both sides.Being so close to the prosecutor, he is obviously against the recall. But he wouldn’t express any opinion about why the recall effort started. It “would take hours to go into,” Tindall said.”There’s two sides to every story, and so far a fairly large number of people have stepped forward with not only moral encouragement but are beginning to contribute to the cost of a campaign of this nature,” he said. “Buying media in this region is a very expensive proposition.”Truden has a solid base of support from Republicans in the 9th Judicial District, he said. J. Robert Young of Carbondale gave the next-highest amount at $2,000. He didn’t return a message seeking comment.Russell George, a former speaker of the state House and past director of the state Division of Natural Resources and Division of Wildlife, gave the embattled prosecutor $100. A message left at his Rifle residence was also not returned.Ken Kriz of Glenwood Springs donated $500 to Integrity in Prosecution. He, too, said he has known Truden for several years.”She’s doing a good job, and I think that she ran as a candidate unopposed and she won,” he said. “I think it’s ridiculous to have these liberals come in here and run her out of town.”He demurred when asked about Republicans who signed recall petitions. “You’d have to ask them. I really don’t know why” they signed, Kriz said.Integrity in Prosecution registered with the secretary of state twice this fall because of a clerical error, said the group’s registered agent, Scott Shires.”It was my fat-finger typing mistake online with the secretary of state’s office,” he said.Committees can be started and closed at any time as long as the account on file with the state has a zero balance, office spokeswoman Dana Williams said.After Shires’ error, the group registered with the state again on Sept. 29. The ending date for the campaign reporting period was Oct. 12, meaning Truden raised nearly $10,000 in less than two weeks.With the $5,000 expenditure to Tindall’s firm, the committee had $3,500 on hand, according to its campaign finance report. The end of the next reporting period is Dec. 1.The Dec. 13 recall election could make Truden the first district attorney in Colorado history to be deposed by voters. Her opponents accuse her of mismanaging the judicial district, dishonesty, nepotism and wasting taxpayer money.Seven prosecutors and five staff members have resigned in her 10 months in office, with most citing personal and professional differences with Truden. Former deputy district attorney Tony Hershey is suing her over his departure from the judicial district, and another former prosecutor filed an ethics complaint that is under investigation by the state Supreme Court.Truden has denied that there are any problems with the office, contending that her staff has a better relationship with area law enforcement, which has led to increased court filings and convictions.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com

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