After their original complaint was denied, three Boulder residents have resubmitted a campaign finance complaint against Boulder City Council candidate Steve Rosenblum.
The complaint, filed by Mark McIntyre, Regina Cowles and Jane Hummer, argues that among other things Rosenblum exceeded the city’s expenditure limits when he sought legal assistance to research, prepare and file a lawsuit against the Boulder Progressives and a group of community members.
The lawsuit, formally filed Sept. 22 in Boulder District Court, alleges a coordinated campaign against Rosenblum’s candidacy and a coordinated effort to block his endorsements. It also alleges that websites and social media accounts were set up with Rosenblum’s likeness without his permission. Some of the defendants last week filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against them.
The original campaign finance complaint was denied because the complainants did not cite the specific city codes, aside from the general section, that they allege Rosenblum violated.
“We had to note every specific instance in the code individually where we were reporting a violation,” McIntyre said. “We went back through and totally restructured it.”
According to a news release from the residents who filed the complaint, Rosenblum failed to disclose his attorney’s fees as well as the public relations and investigation fees paid on behalf of his campaign.
“Paid work in support of a candidate’s campaign for public relations, investigative work and/or legal fees is a campaign expense just as surely as the purchase of yard signs and printing costs are,” the release states.
Additionally, the complaint argues that Rosenblum did not abide by the contract for the city’s matching funds program nor did he disclose required items such as his employment, homeownership and potential income from rental properties.
“The bottom line is that Steve Rosenblum is not above the law. He’s not above our campaign laws. He needs to do what every single other person does,” Cowles said.
By accepting taxpayer-funded matching funds from the city, Rosenblum committed to following Boulder’s campaign finance rules, which include limits on expenditures, Hummer noted.
“He had the option of refusing those matching funds and spending as much of his own wealth as he wanted on his campaign, but he did not take that option,” she said. “I don’t see why Boulder taxpayers should be funding any of his campaign expenses if he is not abiding by the rules he agreed to follow when accepting those funds.”
Rosenblum did not respond to a request for comment by press time. His lawyer Stan Garnett, the former Boulder County District Attorney, said he did not have much to say about the resubmitted complaint because he had not seen it yet.
However, Garnett and Rosenblum previously disputed the idea that Garnett’s legal services could be considered a campaign expense.
In an interview at the time the original complaint was filed, they argued Garnett was representing Rosenblum in a personal capacity.
“I mean the context of it is what he’s been going through in connection with the City Council race, but bringing the lawsuit is to protect his personal and business reputation,” Garnett said at that time.
“It’s not part of his campaign,” he added.
The City Clerk’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office will now review the information in the complaint. If the claims are determined to be valid, the city will move forward with the formal campaign finance complaint process, which could include a hearing.
Boulder residents resubmit campaign finance complaint against City Council candidate