WTP in Garfield County
One of those races was in Garfield County.
According to a WTP press release, the group mailed tens of thousands of letters and other materials into key districts, targeting Democratic candidates Steve Carter and Stephen Bershenyi. Daniel Reed of WTP commented in the release that, “with only the early votes counted, anti-development apologists Steve Carter and Stephen Bershenyi and their extremist friends thought they had the race in the bag, but Election Day results showed the pro-responsible growth and development candidates won.”
According to reports, Shires was also campaigning against Carter in that race as the head of another group, the League of Taxpayers. In April, Shires was fined $7,150 for failing to file an election communications report for the $2,300 he spent to help defeat Carter, according to The Colorado Independent.
Carter, who was running for county commissioner at the time, told Boulder Weekly that WTP and the League of Taxpayers engaged in dirty campaign tactics.
“They go in and slime somebody and disappear,” Carter says. “They get paid for it by someone, but no one knows who.
“I can’t limit my disdain for that person,” he says of Shires. “He subverts the American way; he’s anti-American. It’s no different than stuffing a ballot box.”
Shires did not answer phone calls from the Boulder Weekly. Gessler, the attorney representing the Longmont plaintiffs, has served as attorney for at least one of Shires’ groups as well, according to media reports. Gessler, whose office address is listed as the principal street address for WTP in Colorado Secretary of State documents, is currently the only Republican running for Secretary of State. Gessler declined to provide an alternate phone number for Shires. He and WTP Executive Director Jacob Leis told Boulder Weekly that Shires is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Western Tradition.
Leis, who, according to The Colorado Independent is a former congressional staffer for Republican Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, says Shires just specializes in regulatory compliance for WTP. When asked about Shires’ past campaign-finance issues, Leis says WTP has never had any problems.
“Western Tradition Partnership has never been convicted of any violations,” he says.