DENVER–That videotape showing a man slipping $20 bills to three supporters of Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron? It turns out there may be more than $60 involved.
Victor Head, president of Pueblo Freedom and Rights, said Tuesday he’s waiting to see what the next campaign-finance report filed by her issue committee reveals before releasing what he described as more videos of similar activity.
“There were more than three people,” said Head. “We might have another video up our sleeves. We’re just seeing how this plays out and how truthful they want to be. At this point they could be legal about it, but they keep trying to cover their tracks.”
Paying campaign workers to hold a protest isn’t illegal, but the payments must be recorded on the issue committee’s campaign-finance report. Giron has said she did not know the man handing out cash during an anti-recall rally, identified late Monday by 9News as 72-year-old Gerald Rosenblatt.
Rosenblatt also contributed $100 to Pueblo United for Angela, the issue committee fighting the recall effort.
“I was just trying to tell people I appreciated what they were doing,” Rosenblatt told 9News. “I had no idea it would be twisted that I paid them to do that. They were out there already.”
Chris Shallow, campaign manager for Pueblo United for Angela, told 9News that a man handed three $20 bills to protesters without the campaign’s knowledge as they waved pro-Giron signs near a table of volunteers gathering signatures to force a recall election.
Shallow said the volunteers turned over the $60 in cash and that it would be donated to the state’s unclaimed property fund.
“The volunteers don’t know who the guy is. He didn’t tell them his name. Senator Giron doesn’t know who this guy is. I am treating this money as an anonymous contribution,” said Shallow.
Giron and Shallow have implied that they believe the episode was somehow a set-up. Giron told the Pueblo Chieftain, “I think it’s pretty suspicious that it would be on tape.”
Head said the recall campaign began filming the protests at the suggestion of Pueblo police, who were called on several occasions because demonstrators were blocking the signature table.
“Whether he was officially part of the campaign, I don’t know,” said Head. “I think it’s a little disingenuous for her to say, ‘I don’t know who he is,’ when she talked to him for 10 minutes.”
He’s also undecided as to whether to file a formal complaint. “I’m not a malicious person. I’m just a regular person who wants my right back,” Head said.
But he said that Pueblo United for Angela has filed a formal complaint against his group over how the committee has paid for items such as T-shirts and website design. Head says the receipts were filed with his last campaign-finance report.
“Both sides are going at it at this point, but we’re the ones with the most compelling argument,” said Head.
A Pueblo plumber, Head launched the recall effort with his brother, Adam Head, and Ernest Mascarenas after Giron voted in favor of three gun-control bills during the 2013 legislative session. The measures, sparked by two mass shootings last year in Colorado and Connecticut, were signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in March.
The group turned in 13,570 signatures last week, which must be validated by the Secretary of State’s office. Two weeks ago, another recall committee turned in signatures to recall Senate President John Morse (D-Colo. Springs).