Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman is suing town of Aurora over Marketing campaign Funding Ordinance

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Mayor Mike Coffman is suing the city of Aurora over a campaign funding ordinance passed by Aurora City Council in late 2020, which he chairs.

“I agree to the contribution limits for candidates in this ordinance,” said Coffman, a former US official who was elected mayor of Aurora in November 2019, in a statement on the lawsuit. “But under the guise of campaign funding reform, the sponsors of this proposal, Councilors Nicole Johnston and Juan Marcano, have blatantly violated both the Colorado and US Constitution by inserting unrelated provisions designed to silence me . “

Coffman filed the lawsuit in Arapahoe District Court on March 17, naming both the city of Aurora and Aurora employee Kadee Rodriguez as defendants.

“Aurora Prosecutor’s Office is still investigating the lawsuit, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this point. However, the CAO defends any guidelines or laws that are supported by the city council as a body, “said Ryan Luby, a city spokesman.

Coffman’s lawsuit alleges that the ordinance’s ban on recruiting a political candidate for other candidates or electoral initiatives is unconstitutional. It is also argued that the regulation banning coordination between campaign committees is unconstitutional; According to the current rule, for example, two campaigns cannot share the same advisor, the lawsuit said. It also deals with “extended disclaimer requirements for electoral communications and independent spending,” aspects of the regulation that he believes are unconstitutional.

“A person does not give up their rights just because they choose to run for office. Mike Coffman has the constitutional right to encourage his friends and neighbors to vote in a certain way, to volunteer for others’ campaigns, and to give his opinion on the issues just like anyone else, ”says Dan Burrows, who as an attorney for Coffman and serves as the legal director of the Public Trust Institute, a “not-for-profit public-interest law firm committed to promoting freedom and individual rights in Colorado,” according to a statement on the case. “If you think it’s okay for the government to stop someone, I’m not sure how you got through high school civics.”

Councilor Johnston, who co-sponsored the ordinance capping campaign contributions in Aurora, says she is amazed that Coffman “is wasting city tax dollars defending a lawsuit on an issue that brings transparency and accountability he doesn’t even know about.” can vote …. The mayor should focus on important city issues that should not make it easier for him to get involved in dark money politics. ”

Coffman denies allegations that the regulation’s purpose is to fight corruption, arguing that it is instead intended to “limit the influence of certain people on Aurora’s election,” the lawsuit said.

“Mayor Coffman has a name recognition and fundraising ability that no other person in Aurora city politics can match. Based on information and beliefs, Mayor Coffman’s political opponents want to get him out of the way in future elections – that is, they want to neutralize his recognition and fundraising ability so that he cannot effectively advocate for his preferred policies and candidates, “the lawsuit alleges.

The five mayoral candidates on the 2019 ballot in Aurora collectively raised over a million dollars.

Last November, Aurora City Council voted seven to three for the campaign finance reform ordinance, with one Republican, Curtis Gardner, voting in favor. The three other Republicans on the council voted against.

Five seats on Aurora City Council will be available in November 2021. Coffman would therefore like to make a decision on his lawsuit as soon as possible in order to be able to advertise other candidates.

“There is a currently declared candidate for Aurora City Council that Mayor Coffman supports and on whose behalf Mayor Coffman would campaign and fundraise if allowed,” the lawsuit said. “Mayor Coffman expects there will be more city council candidates to support and on whose behalf he would campaign and fundraise if allowed. Mayor Coffman is now illegal under the ordinance to appear [these] Activities.”

Here is the full complaint:

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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh works for Westword where he covers a range of topics including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves talking about New York sports.

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