Secretary of State investigates campaign finance violation complaint filed against Invest in DCSD

Political group supports Douglas County School District mill levy


The political issue committee supporting the Douglas County School District’s bond and mill levy override is facing possible campaign finance violations for promoting an event at the Larkspur Fire Station with other Republican candidates.

A review by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office into Invest in DCSD, the political issue committee supporting DCSD’s $60 million mill levy override and $450 million bond, found three potential campaign finance violations regarding the event held on Oct. 20.

The Secretary of State’s Office identified the possible campaign finance violations as inappropriate use of government property to hold a campaign event, improper contributions to political candidates by advertising the event and not including a mandatory financial disclaimer on the ad for the event. 

Christa Gilstrap, a founder of Invest in DCSD, said she is working with the Secretary of State’s Office to address the potential violations.

“I have been in contact with (the Secretary of State’s Office) since I was made aware of this complaint and they’ve basically told us it’s unlikely a violation has occurred, but we need to go through the process,” she said. 

The review was prompted by a complaint filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on Oct. 17 alleging that Invest in DCSD inappropriately advertised for Republican candidates by participating in the Larkspur event and sharing promotional materials for it. 

The event, which took place at the Larkspur Fire Station, was a conversation on education and crime moderated by Tom Wiens, the CEO of New West Capital, and featuring DCSD board member Mike Peterson, who spoke about the bond and mill levy override at the event. 

Also invited were Republican candidates Mark Baisley in Colorado Senate District 4 and Brandi Bradley in Colorado House District 39, as well as Darren Weekly, a candidate for Douglas County sheriff, Sheri Davis, who is running for Douglas County clerk and Toby Damisch, a candidate for Douglas County assessor. 

Evidence for the violations comes from an Oct. 16 Facebook post on the Invest in DCSD page that promoted the event with an ad including the names of the participating candidates and no information on who paid for the event, which is required by law. The Larkspur Fire Station is government property.

Gilstrap told Colorado Community Media that Invest in DCSD did not host the event, just shared information about it after Peterson was invited to attend.

Under state law, Invest in DCSD can dispute the allegations or submit documentation showing the violations were fixed. Invest in DCSD has until Nov. 10 to cure the potential violations.

Invest in DCSD, DCSD bond and mill levy override, campaign finance violations, election 2022


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