UPDATE: This blog post has been updated with new information about Michael J. Duncan.
A new political committee whose stated purpose is to “educate the voters of Colorado Springs regarding their mayoral candidates” came out swinging with a quarter-page ad in the Sunday paper.
The ad questions whether Steve Bach’s campaign is “illegally coordinating with out of town funders to produce sleazy negative advertising.”
“Laura Carno, Steve Bach’s campaign manager, volunteered for Jeff Crank of Americans for Prosperity, produced his radio shows and continues to have close ties with him,” the ad states.
While the ads targeting Skorman use the word “liberal” four times, the ad against Americans for Prosperity uses the word “sleazy” six times.
The ad encourages readers to call Bach and “ask him if he will swear on his Bible that no one in his campaign knew anything about these sleazy ads” against Skorman.
“Call Steve Bach …and demand an end to these sleazy campaign ads. This is not what Colorado Springs is all about,” the ad states.
The new political committee filed papers with the City Clerk’s Office on April 26.
The registered agent is Michael J. Duncan, a local attorney who is the past president of the Trails and Open Space Coalition. Duncan serves on the boards of Justice Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and Safe Place, according to his online biography.
According to filings with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, Duncan is also the registered agent of the Colorado Springs Sun, which is owned by John Weiss, publisher of the Independent newspaper. Weiss took a leave of absence from all aspects of the news and editorial departments of the Indy to work on Skorman’s campaign.
“He’s probably the registered agent of lots of things,” Weiss said about Duncan.
“Michael has done some work for the Independent from time to time, including registering the name The Sun,” he said. “He did it for free.”
Duncan did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The chair of the political committee is Frank Wimberley, according to the ad. Wimberley contributed $50 to Skorman’s campaign Jan. 31, according to campaign finance reports. He contributed $50 to Skorman’s council campaign in 2003, reports show. In November, he wrote a letter to the editor in support of Skorman.
In an email, Carno reiterated that the Bach campaign isn’t coordinating with Americans for Prosperity.
“As I said last week when the Skorman campaign brought up this same information, there is no coordination between the Bach campaign and any outside groups,” Carno said.
Crank, a conservative radio show host who is the state director of Americans for Prosperity, said he planned to forward the ad to his attorney tomorrow.
“There’s an old legal saying that goes, ‘If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.’ The left continues to pound the table,” he said in an email.
“Nobody on the left has challenged the veracity and truthfulness of the AFP ad – and with good reason. The ad, which focuses on Richard Skorman’s policies, is factually true. Citizens of Colorado Springs should call Richard Skorman … and tell him that those policies are hurting Colorado Springs.
“Since they cannot attack the truthfulness of the ad, they have chosen to try to demonize the person and organization responsible for it. They have done so without a shred of evidence to support their claim. Sadly, they’ve chosen a personal attack instead of confronting these policy issues head on.
“Americans for Prosperity will continue to focus on the economic policies which will make Colorado Springs strong and create jobs in our community. We’ll leave the personal attacks to others,” he wrote.