Blatant False Charge in Key State Senate Race

By Tessa Cheek

COLORADO INDEPENDENT

Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government, a conservative politics organization, is back, spending heavily in state elections this cycle. And some of the roughly $200,000 they’ve poured into the messaging market so far is behind a false attack advertisement directed at state Senator Rachel Zenzinger, a Democrat from a swing district based around Arvada.

The ad, “China Girl,” alleges that while serving as Arvada city councilwoman, Zenzinger voted to use taxpayer money to fund a visit to sister city Jinzhou, China.

“Call Rachel Zenzinger and tell her to stop wasting tax money on perks,” concludes the female narrator.

Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government, like all 527 groups are prohibited from delivering express candidate advocacy, such as “vote for Zenzinger’s opponent.” But voters know what’s going on. Asking them to send a message to a candidate is a sly way for the groups to conform to the letter if not the spirit of the law.

To backup the claim that Zenzinger spent or even tried to spend taxpayer dollars for an international junket, the ad sites Arvada City Council minutes from April of 2013, as well as an article by The Colorado Independent.

Not only does neither source support the claim — our article, for example, only reports Zenzinger’s appointment to the state Senate — the council minutes themselves expose the ad as blatantly false.

Zenzinger never went to China and she herself filed a motion in that city council meeting requiring that private funds available through nonprofit group Sister Cities of Arvada, not public dollars, must be used if either elected officials or staff were to go on the trip.

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