Milias sets up Defeat Jack committee
October 18, 2010
ASPEN – Elizabeth Milias, the Aspen individual behind the hittheroadjackj.com website, has registered the Committee to Defeat Jack with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
The documents registering the committee, with Milias as its registered agent, were stamped as received on Saturday. The political committee’s purpose is to defeat Jack Johnson in his bid for the Pitkin County commissioner seat in District 1, according to the committee registration form.
Milias has not filed a campaign spending report with the clerk’s office. But she said in an e-mail Sunday that she wants to comply with campaign finance rules in case her expenditures meet the threshold at which such reports are required.
Milias said she hasn’t yet received all of the receipts associated with setting up the hittheroadjackj.com site, which is credited to The Red Ant, LLC, a blog site. Milias is The Red Ant blogger and has claimed responsibility for the hittheroadjackj.com website, with help from other volunteers.
On Sunday, Milias said she wasn’t sure whether she would collect campaign contributions. “I have sent back all the money I have received to date, but since I registered this committee I can legally collect funds,” she wrote.
Milas said she registered the committee “out of an abundance of caution, and so as to put an end to people bothering the clerk’s office about my efforts. I still don’t see [the website] as a campaign tool, but if this makes the clerk’s job easier, so be it.”
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Milias has maintained that the website is not a campaign tool, as it doesn’t mention the election or urge voters to cast their ballots for or against a particular candidate. Rather, it contains a collection of video clips of Johnson during his former term on the Aspen City Council and examples of his e-mails that, according to the site, disrespect constituents, along with other content. But it also reads: “Jack Johnson: Not a leader we can believe in” and says, “Bad for Aspen – Bad for Pitkin County.”
Last week, Milias said her expenses in setting up the site included $32 associated with the website and domain name, plus an outlay to GrassRoots TV for the video clips. The video work cost $180, according to GrassRoots.
The county charter requires that independent campaign expenditures of more than $250 be reported, along with the name of the candidate whom the expenditure is intended to support or oppose.
The county clerk’s office has fielded questions from the media and others regarding the expenditures behind the hittheroadjackj.com site, including inquiries from Longmont resident Paul Tiger. He said he has been active in election issues and campaign finance in his own community, but has no stake in the commissioner race between candidates Johnson and Rob Ittner.
Tiger said he had been following the instant runoff voting controversy in Aspen and wound up learning about the hittheroadjackj.com website and the lack of a political campaign committee associated with it. He said he wanted to file a formal complaint about the lack of a registered committee and expense reports. But the county clerk’s office directed him to the Secretary of State’s Office, which directed him back to Pitkin County, which then directed him to the district attorney’s office.
The issue has been rendered moot by Milias’ action to set up a committee, Tiger said, but he questioned the lack of an identified process by which citizens in Pitkin County can register a complaint when they feel campaign finance laws have been violated.
“There is no process to enforce the law and the charter,” Tiger said. “Pitkin County has an enforcement issue and I would like to see this rectified.”