Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission will review a third ethics complaint against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters involving substantial alleged gifts from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
The commission determined that the complaint was non-frivolous during its May 17 meeting.
The complaint was filed by Anne Landman, a Grand Junction resident who filed the other two complaints to be reviewed by the commission. It stems from comments Lindell made to a 9News reporter during an April rally at the state Capitol that he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to an out-of-state legal defense fund that supports Peters.
Peters, a Republican who is running for secretary of state, is the subject of multiple lawsuits and investigations related to her conduct as an elected official. She was indicted by a grand jury for her alleged role in facilitating a security breach to Mesa County’s elections systems during a software update in 2021. She also faces obstruction charges when she refused to comply with a search warrant after allegedly recording a court proceeding without permission.
Peters has historically directed her supporters to donate to her criminal defense legal fund through a Colorado-based site called StandWithTina.org, which has been taken down. The complaint notes that Peters removed the site after Landman’s January 2022 IEC complaint about the site was filed. Peters now directs financial contributions to the Lindell Legal Offense Fund, which does not list who it supports on its website, only that they are “vetted” by Lindell.
During the April rally, Lindell told a reporter he has put in “three, four, five, maybe $800,000” of his own money towards Peters’ legal defense. He denied a close, personal relationship with Peters.
The Colorado Constitution limits gifts that an elected official can accept from a non-relative or close friend to a $65 value.
Additionally, the complaint brings up a 2013 IEC decision that requires the public disclosure of donor names and financial contributions to legal defense funds.
“Peters has been operating under a cloud of secrecy as donors and the donated amounts have not been publicly disclosed. Indeed, a public official receiving approximately $800,000 from a single donor and unknown amounts from other donors triggers the concerns Advisory Opinion 13-01 (the 2013 opinion) seeks to avoid,” the complaint reads.
Landman’s two other complaints concern Peters’ initial legal defense fund and flights she took on Lindell’s private jet. Peters received a stay on the complaint about the flights until after district court proceedings that also involve the behavior are complete.
Landman runs a blog that focuses on western Colorado politics.
Peters has 30 days to respond to the newest complaint.
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