DENVER—The most pivotal figure in the Colorado recall election may be an unseen Kentucky woman who’s directing the Democratic fundraising.
Julie Wells, the registered agent for more than two dozen groups since 2006 raising and spending millions to benefit Democrats, is also the registered or designated filing agent for at least two committees contributing funds and airing ads on behalf of Democratic state Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse.
Her latest group is We Can Do Better, Colorado, which launched a television spot Thursday accusing Republican recall candidates Bernie Herpin and George Rivera of supporting personhood, the Colorado Democratic Party’s go-to issue of the past two elections.
Wells, who lists her address in Cadiz, Ky., and whose phone number has a Kentucky area code, is also the registered agent for Mainstream Colorado, which has already donated $17,000 to A Whole Lot of People for John Morse and $21,000 to Pueblo United for Angela.
It’s anybody’s guess as to how much We Can Do Better, Colorado has spent on the recall. The committee, which is listed as a 527, an issue committee and an independent-expenditure committee, registered July 31, or two weeks after the most recent reporting period.
The next deadline for reporting contributions and expenditures isn’t due until Aug. 27, or two weeks before the Sept. 10 recall election.
Wells may not be familiar to voters, but she’s certainly known to Morse. Wells’ organizations were instrumental in helping elect Morse in 2010, according to an extensive article from Oct. 21, 2010, in the Colorado Statesman:
Morse has been the biggest beneficiary of the 527s associated with Wells. The outside spending has dwarfed what the candidates themselves have raised and spent.
While Wells’ involvement in Colorado Democratic fundraising has been well-documented, little is known about Wells herself. According to the Statesman, Wells is a former executive director of the Colorado Woman’s Bar Association and was lead plaintiff for the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 1999 lawsuit against the city of Denver over religious displays.
Prior to Kentucky, she lived in Denver, according to the report by the Statesman’s Marianne Goodland:
Wells also has a long history of not answering phone calls or e-mails from reporters regarding the committees for which she handles the books. She lives on a quiet street in southeast Denver, where mailboxes sit at the end of the driveways. The imposing mailbox at the end of Wells’ driveway, however, stands out: it’s the only one with a lock.
Wells told The Statesman she only handles the campaign finance compliance for the groups. “I’m not at all involved with the strategy,” she said.
Wells is now listed as the registered agent for five committees—three 527s, one independent-expenditure committee and one small-donor committee—but her groups don’t last long. The organizations have a pattern of shutting down after one campaign season, sometimes before reports are due, with Wells’ name reappearing on new committees for the next cycle.
As reported by MediaTrackers in a Feb. 14 article, “Most of these organizations are created and dissolved in the very same election cycle and several are shut down before any official financial or data reports are required. The Wells-registered groups that do last long enough for mandatory filing with the Secretary of State often fall into delinquency because of missed deadlines, late submission, or absent reporting altogether.”
Among the biggest donors to Wells’ groups in the past are organizations tied to wealthy Democratic “blueprint” fundraisers Tim Gill and Pat Stryker, according to the articles.