Gov. Jared Polis' campaign committee took in $70,512 between July 1 and Sept. 30, including donations intended for the effort to combat recall attempts targeting himself and four Democratic state lawmakers.
Yet a campaign-finance filing shows that none of that money went to two groups actively involved in fighting the recalls.
That's according to a third-quarter report filed Tuesday night with the office of Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
Polis sent out two fundraising emails, one on July 24 and another on Sept. 6, asking donors to send in money to help fight recalls targeting him and Democratic state senators. Those donations were then routed to the political fundraising platform ActBlue and on to the governor's Polis for Colorado campaign committee.
In the Sept. 6 email, Polis said, "The good news is that, as of yesterday, [recall backers] have failed to submit the required number of signatures against me. But the bad news is that they are still trying to recall several state senators and have left a foundation that other groups can use to try to subvert the will of the people again, so we need to stay ready to fight back. Will you consider chipping in $5 today to make sure we have the resources to fight back immediately against another recall attempt?"
As of Sept. 6, there were still three active recalls in progress, targeting state Sens. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs, Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo. The Lee and Pettersen recalls were withdrawn the following week; the deadline for petitions targeting Garcia is Friday.
According to the Tuesday filing on the Secretary of State's TRACER campaign-finance website, the campaign never sent money to either of the two issue committees performing anti-recall work: Democracy First Colorado and Our Colorado Way of Life.
Those two anti-recall committees have raised a total of $1.105 million to fight the recalls that targeted Polis and the four aforementioned lawmakers.
Campaign finance filings show that the Polis campaign committee took in $70,512 during the third-quarter reporting period, including a direct contribution of $50,000 from Polis.
On July 24 and 25, corresponding to the governor's first appeal for money to fight recalls, Polis for Colorado, the campaign committee, received $7,642.56 in donations, plus the $50,000 from Polis. On Sept. 6 and 7, following the second request for funds from Polis, the committee took in $3,408 in contributions.
Tuesday's filing also did not show any obvious direct spending by the Polis campaign committee on efforts to combat the recalls, such as advertising.
The largest expenditures reported were for consultants for a variety of purposes, to the tune of $33,490. The committee paid ActBlue $808.33 between July 1 and Sept. 30. The two largest payments — $331.25 and $145.33 — were made on July 28 and Sept. 8, a few days after each of the fundraising emails.
At an Oct. 10 news conference, Polis dodged questions about whether his committee had sent any money to the anti-recall groups or spent any money fighting the recalls directly.
When asked if any of the money raised through the anti-recall emails went to the committees that did the work, Polis did not directly answer, saying, "We successfully fended off the recall effort, as did two senators. We didn't expect to have an active campaign just after getting re-elected. When I ran for Congress, it was every other year. This was supposed to be a four-year term."
Polis was asked the same question a second time, and his response was that "the recall efforts took resources," although he didn't say those resources came from his committee. Polis ended the news conference immediately after.
The Polis campaign committee has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Although Polis in the past has limited donations to no more than $100, he accepted two $100 donations in July from attorney Daniel Recht of the law firm Recht Kornfeld, which also includes Democratic go-to attorney Mark Grueskin.
Polis also accepted two $100 donations from Holly Johnson of Malibu, California, chief science officer of the American Herbal Products Association, which has a pro-cannabis committee.