Super PACs flood campaigns 
with money for negative ads

Super political action committees and other outside political groups have spent nearly $219 million on various U.S. House races since the election began, including Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, according to the Sunlight Foundation and Federal Election Commission filings.

More than 60 percent of that money has been spent this month alone, with about half of that in the past two weeks, according to FEC reports and data compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates openness in government.

Since the election began, such outside groups as the left-leaning Service Employees International Union and the right-leaning Americans for Tax Reform have spent nearly $2 million either supporting or attacking U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton or his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo.

That’s money on top of the nearly $4 million Tipton and Pace have collected on their own.

Pace’s campaign took issue with one of those outside groups.

Last week, the super PAC known as Colorado Future Fund reported to the FEC that it had spent $10,743 on a new anti-Pace mailer that voters should receive sometime this week.

That group is run by a law clerk who works in the Denver office of GOP attorney John Zakhem, who also is Tipton’s campaign attorney.

That clerk, Charlie Smith, also is the man in control of at least one other outside political group known as Northwest Colorado Alliance. The alliance spent an unknown amount of money on campaign fliers earlier this month attacking Sonja Linman, the Democratic Party candidate for Garfield County commissioner.

All together, GOP groups have spent about $1.3 million on mailers, robocalls and radio and television ads attacking Pace, while spending only about $41,500 supporting Tipton’s campaign.

The GOP groups aren’t the only ones spending money outside of the campaigns. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and SEIU have spent quite a bit on their own, though not as much as Republicans.

So far this month, those Democratic groups spent about $450,000 in ads attacking Tipton, while spending more than $285,000 on favorable ads for Pace.

Last summer, several radio stations around the state pulled negative campaign ads that one of those groups tried to run attacking the freshman congressman. In that ad, paid for by the left-leaning House Majority Project, the group tried to claim Tipton had hired his nephew’s company to work in his congressional office.

Actually, Tipton had contracted with a company that uses technology licensed from another firm that is owned by his nephew.


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