Despite reporting election fraud complaint against Paccione, the Coloradoan and Tribune neglected to report the complaint was dismissed

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Despite reporting on an election fraud complaint made in April against 4th Congressional District candidate Rep. Angie Paccione (D) with the Federal Election Commission [FEC], neither the Fort Collins Coloradoan nor the Greeley Tribune has reported that the FEC has cleared Paccione.

Despite reporting on an election fraud complaint made in April against 4th Congressional District candidate Rep. Angie Paccione (D) with the Federal Election Commission [FEC], neither the Fort Collins Coloradoan nor the Greeley Tribune has reported that the FEC has cleared Paccione. Since August 30, when the Associated Press reported that the FEC had cleared the Paccione campaign of the charges, neither paper has mentioned she was cleared of the complaint, which was filed by a Weld County Republican party official.

On April 13, the Tribune reported (registration required) that, "Ron Buxman, 50, of Greeley filed [a] complaint with the Federal Election Commission to protest e-mails that promised free vacations to campaign contributors." The article noted that Paccione said the emails were sent out by "a misguided staff member" and that she wasn't alerted to the emails "until after they'd been sent." The article also noted that Buxman is "vice president of the Weld County Republicans" and his family has donated $1,650 to Paccione's Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.

A February 25 article in the Coloradoan by reporter Lindsay Renick Mayer reported that:

What Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, is calling an honest mistake by her campaign staff, U.S. Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave is describing as some of the worst political corruption she has seen in state politics.

[...]

The dispute surrounds [an email] brochure that offers rewards to fundraising teams involved in Paccione's campaign. According to the brochure - which Paccione said was a draft that hadn't yet received her approval - the reward for the second-place team is a day at the statehouse and an introduction on the House floor.

Such introductions are traditional and allow members to introduce constituents during the first half hour of every session in the House.

The article in the Tribune also reported that a state ethics complaint about the emails was filed with the bipartisan leadership of the Colorado House of Representatives, which quickly "dismissed the complaint before it reached the House Ethics Committee."

According to the Federal Election Commission, the case about the allegedly illegal email was dismissed July 14. In an August 28 statement, the FEC wrote, "Once she [Paccione] learned of the e-mail's existence, she sent a follow-up e-mail roughly three hours and forty-five minutes later retracting the first e-mail. In light of the action taken by the respondents and the fact that the offer never came to fruition, the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter."

Unlike the Coloradoan and the Tribune, an August 30 AP story published on the Rocky Mountain News website reported that the FEC cleared "Paccione of charges that she improperly offered potential campaign donors gifts" and that the FEC "dismissed the matter this week, saying Paccione took immediate action to retract the offer." The article also noted that, "Paccione's campaign spokesman James Thompson said the charges were politically motivated and the FEC decision proves they were 'frivolous'." The AP story also was published August 31 on the website of the Boulder Daily Camera.

From the August 30 AP article in the Rocky Mountain News:

The Federal Election Commission this week cleared Colorado Democratic congressional hopeful Angie Paccione of charges that she improperly offered potential campaign donors gifts - including trips to Washington for her swearing-in ceremony.

[...]

The FEC dismissed the matter this week, saying Paccione took immediate action to retract the offer. According to a statement from the FEC, Paccione and her campaign had not authorized the e-mail messages. She also sent an e-mail correcting the situation less than four hours after learning about it.

State House leaders dismissed a similar ethics complaint against Paccione earlier this year, saying there was no evidence she abused her office by offering prizes for contributions to her congressional campaign, including an introduction on the state House floor.

Paccione's campaign spokesman James Thompson said the charges were politically motivated and the FEC decision proves they were ''frivolous.''

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