Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters at LIndell symposium

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appears in a video feed on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, from a Cyber Symposium sponsored by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in Sioux Falls, S.D. Peters is facing accusations she compromised the security of the county's election equipment and has been ordered by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to replace the system before the November election.

The Secretary of State's Office announced on Monday that it's investigating a second complaint alleging campaign finance violations by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

The two complaints are related and both were filed by Scott Beilfuss, co-chair of the Mesa County Democratic Party.

The first, filed Aug. 16, charges Peters failed to report campaign contributions and accepted gifts in excess of the amount allowed by state law when she accepted a trip from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to a symposium on election fraud the prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump sponsored in South Dakota. 

The second complaint, filed Sept. 24, says Peters failed to respond to a request to fix  or "cure" a campaign finance report during a 10-day window that allows candidates and others who file reports with the Secretary of State's Office to correct errors and provide required information that was omitted from an earlier report.

Peters, a Republican, has been engaged in a months-long public dispute with Colorado's Democratic secretary of state, Jena Griswold, over allegations Peters was involved in an election equipment security breach earlier this summer. Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court allowed a ruling to stand in a lawsuit brought by Griswold that prohibits Peters and her deputy from having a role in the November election.

Peters is facing local, state and federal criminal investigations into allegations she allowed the leak of sensitive election data she claims will prove the results of the 2020 electioneer were manipulated, though that proof has yet to emerge.

Peters didn't respond to a notice involving the first complaint. The Secretary of State's Office says the investigation into the second complaint will be finished by Nov. 24.

The complaints filed by Beilfuss, however, could instead be covered by another state agency, since gifts to public officials fall under the jurisdiction of the state's Independent Ethics Commission, not the Secretary of State's Office.

Colorado law forbids elected officials and public employees from accepting gifts worth more than $65 or from accepting gifts in any amount from registered lobbyists. A complaint filed with the ethics panel by Anne Landman of Mesa County charges that's what Peters did when she accepted the trip to South Dakota on Lindell's private plane. That complaint is pending initial review by the commission, which moves at a slower pace than the Secretary of State's Office.

Peters didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

She hasn't responded to another investigation ordered by the Secretary of State's Office on Oct. 6 into allegations the embattled county clerk is violating the state gift ban by soliciting and accepting contributions to a legal defense fund she established.

According to the law, that fund has to be set up to prevent lobbyists from donating and also must make contributions public, Colorado Politics reported last month. The complaint, filed by Beilfuss, charges Peters with taking neither required step.

The Secretary of State's Office on Oct. 8 gave Peters 10 days to report any contributions of more than $20 in campaign finance filings, though Peters doesn't have an active campaign account and hasn't formally declared she's seeking a second term in next year's election.

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