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Criminal complaints threatened by Colorado GOP against own previous leaders

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Quentin Young

(Colorado Newsline) The chairman of the Colorado Republican Party Wednesday accused previous party leadership of draining most of the money in the organization’s accounts and threatened to pursue criminal complaints against individual former party officers.

Former state Rep. Dave Williams, who succeeded Kristi Burton Brown as state GOP chair in March, said in an email to supporters that a party committee tasked with investigating past financial practices of the party “uncovered serious incidents of possible malfeasance and misappropriation of Party resources.”

Previous leadership had indicated that $100,000 remained in party accounts at the time of the officer transition, but the new leaders found that only $8,000 was left, Williams said. The previous leaders also “left us in debt to our landlord to the tune of $9,000 in unpaid back rent and several tens of thousands of dollars in questionable legal bills we are still untangling,” Williams said.

The party’s executive committee authorized Williams “to pursue civil and potential criminal complaints” against previous leaders, Williams added.

Williams did not provide details that would corroborate his allegations except to say that party treasurer Tom Bjorklund in August “disclosed … the challenging financial situation” that previous leaders had created.

Bjorklund was present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. He was associated with U.S. Election Integrity Plan, a Colorado conspiracist group.

Randy Corporon, an attorney and conservative radio talk show host, sent Burton Brown a letter on behalf of the party Tuesday demanding that she preserve material that could constitute evidence, according to a copy of the letter that Williams shared. Corporon in the letter cites allegations that previous GOP leaders misappropriated party resources and engaged in “potential unjust enrichment.”

Corporon’s letter lacked information about the basis of the allegations. 

In response to a text seeking comment, Burton Brown said, “All records are in Dave Williams’ possession and have been since he took over as chair. I can’t speak to what he’s done with them over the last 9 months.”

Burton Brown, an attorney and longtime conservative Colorado activist, was chair of the state Republican party for one term starting in 2021 and declined to seek reelection. She presided over a troubled organization that failed to gain influence in statewide offices and the Legislature and splintered between an election-denying MAGA faction and a more traditionally conservative wing.

In his campaign for party chair, Williams, an outspoken election denier, blasted Burton Brown’s leadership, accusing her of deference to a misguided consultant class.

“Our party doesn’t have a brand problem,” he said at the time of his election as chairman, according to The Colorado Sun. “Our party has a problem with feckless leaders who are ashamed of you and ashamed of our conservative values.”

Corporon has also persistently denied President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and he regularly advances conspiracy theories on his KNUS radio show.

“Randy believes the 2020 election was stolen and those of us fighting to prove it will soon be news, not conspiracy,” says the description of one of his broadcasts from May.

Burton Brown is now a senior policy analyst at Advance Colorado Institute.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:15 p.m., Dec. 13, 2023, to include a quote from Kristi Burton Brown.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.