$30K donation an eye-popper in recall effort

DURANGO — A liberal super PAC called America Votes Action Fund donated $30,000 to defend Democratic Rep. Mike McLachlan of Durango against a grass-roots recall effort instigated by his votes for state gun control laws.

The Durango Herald reported Friday that America Votes is just one of many out-of-state groups sending money to Colorado Democrats facing recall efforts. The recall effort against McLachlan failed.

The Colorado recall efforts are a test of citizens and groups supporting gun rights to punish elected officials who expanded gun control laws after the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.

On Monday, gun-rights activists turned in petition signatures to set up a recall vote for Democratic Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs. The special election would ask whether Morse should be recalled, and if so, who should replace him. Voters would answer both questions, though the second wouldn’t be counted if Morse holds on.

Gun-rights activists are still working to recall another Democrat, Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo.

With Democrats in control of both state legislative chambers, Colorado this year was the first state outside the East Coast to significantly ratchet back gun rights. Lawmakers expanded background checks to include private and online gun sales and placed a 15-round limit on most types of ammunition magazines.

The San Juan Basin Freedom Committee, which backed McLachlan’s recall, had raised about $4,000, the Herald reported. Citizens for Mike McLachlan had raised about $5,000, almost all of it from people in his district.

McLachlan’s most recent campaign-finance report was filed after the recall effort failed. It revealed the $30,000 from America Votes Action Fund, a liberal super PAC based in Washington, D.C.

David Saleh, director of San Juan Freedom Basin Committee, said the money for McLachlan didn’t affect the recall effort. Still, he said, ““Having some outside help from some of these groups that supposedly side with us would have been nice because that’s the way the system works.

“I’m not saying I like it, but that’s the way the laws are.”

The Herald has reported that the recall campaign needed at least 10,587 petition signatures from McLachlan’s district but collected about 8,500.


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