Secretary of State investigating Garfield County sheriff for alleged campaign violations

FILE - Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House...
FILE - Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, on July 29, 2021. Boebert has spoken by phone with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., just days after likening her to a bomb-carrying terrorist. By both lawmakers' accounts, the call Monday did not go well. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)(Andrew Harnik | AP)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 1:41 PM MDT
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GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (KJCT) - The Garfield County Sheriff is under investigation for possibly breaking campaign finance rules in order to support of U.S Rep Lauren Boebert.

Sheriff Lou Vallario now has ten days to respond.

This email from the Secretary of State's office details the identification of one or more...
This email from the Secretary of State's office details the identification of one or more potential violations of Colorado campaign finance laws. Vallario has ten days to respond.(Colorado Secretary of State)

David Wheeler, with American Muckrakers PAC, filed a complaint with the Secretary of State claiming Vallario improperly used his office’s public resources to campaign for Boebert and to quiet her critics.

The complaint is focused on emails the county released to Wheeler under the Colorado Open Records Act.

In one email, the sheriff appears to have sent himself at his taxpayer-owned email a script for campaign call supporting Lauren Boebert for Congress and calling her 2022 primary opponent, Don Coram, “downright horrible for law enforcement” and accusing him of voting to decriminalize fentanyl.

Another email requests special patrols for Boebert as Wheeler was in the area and was a “loon.”

Boebert requested and received a Temporary Restraining Order against Wheeler but the judge dismissed the case as Wheeler had not been served.

Wheeler also complained the sheriff violated his civil rights for “purely political purposes.” In its notice to Vallario, The Secretary of State reported it does not investigate civil rights claims and would leave that allegation to other agencies where Wheeler filed additional complaints.

Vallario says he cannot comment on the SoS process but added, “Given that I am used to working within a due process environment and the SoS has only received a one-sided complaint, I understand from their point of view that a violation(s) “may” exist. I think it is absolutely appropriate that I now have the opportunity to respond to those allegations. "