Dan Maes: The Check
It’s just the latest mini-scandal surrounding Dan Maes:
Former Greenwood Village Mayor Freda Poundstone claims to have given Dan Maes some amount over $300 as a personal gift because Maes was having trouble paying his mortgage. Maes claims the money, apparently paid to him in cash, was a campaign contribution.
Here’s my guess…and it’s only a guess: It was a gift but Maes thought that the political ramifications of needing a gift/loan to pay his mortgage would be politically damaging. So when the story came out, Maes said it was a campaign contribution.
If true, this carries a whole host of problems for Maes, including:
- The amount exceeds the maximum legal cash contribution to a campaign. (From the beginning, Ms. Poundstone said she was aware of that and would therefore never give a cash contribution to a campaign.)
- Ms. Poundstone is not listed as a campaign contributor, an error which could lead to yet another substantial fine against Maes’ campaign. (A caller to the Peter Boyles radio show on Wednesday morning said that he too donated to the Maes campaign and is not listed as a contributor.)
So, the story goes, at a Jefferson County Republican meeting at which Ms. Poundstone was speaking and Mr. Maes was in attendance, Maes dropped a check into Mrs. Poundstone’s purse. A picture of the check was obtained by Peter Boyles, and can be seen here:
The check has raised quite a bit of controversy, not least for:
- It’s not signed
- There is not (as yet) a known entity called “Dan Maes for Governor", which is typed into the name section of this “counter” or “starter” check
- It’s written with two different pens
So here’s my theory:
1) The actual campaign must already have real checks and wouldn’t need this starter check. This is probably not campaign money, at least not directly. Maybe from money he “reimbursed” himself. Perhaps, he or someone with him, happened to have one of the original starter checks from the campaign account, but I think it’s more likely this is not a campaign account.
2) Given the fines he’s already paid, Maes probably knows that he must thread the needle on this.
3) Legally, he can’t say that Freda’s money was a campaign contribution without risking fines and worse. Politically, he doesn’t want to say he took a gift because he couldn’t pay his mortgage. That would make it look even more like he’s a guy running for governor because it’s his best chance at earning a decent living.
4) Therefore, I repeat, I think he’s set up a new account which is a personal account, not a campaign account, and wrote the check on that account. Someone, probably his daughter, put the “Dan Maes for Governor” on the check without any thought as to the ramifications of that name.
5) If the account name is not actually “Dan Maes for Governor", and I bet it’s not, I don’t think there is any sort of violation of the law. What matters is whose money it is, not the name typed on the check. Again, I suspect it’s just a personal account which someone put “Dan Maes for Governor” on just to try to make Maes look like a bigshot.
6) Instead, the whole thing simply reinforces the appearance of the Maes campaign as the Keystone Cops, as a paradigm of incompetence, and as unfit to be governor of Colorado. (And I say that as a Republican.)
I’d also note that if he did use campaign funds to repay money which the original donor says was NOT a campaign contribution, one can only imagine the possible legal ramifications. While Maes is in sort of a no-win situation here, it strikes me that yet again he is making the situation look as bad as it could.
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