Denver’s Fair Elections Fund needs clearer policies to ensure that campaign donations are coming from valid sources, according to a recent audit from the Denver Auditor’s Office.
The Fair Elections Fund, which voters approved in 2018, is designed to match campaign donations of $50 or less if a donation comes from individuals or small groups. The matched funds come from the city’s general fund.
According to the audit, the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office, which is responsible for overseeing the fund, does not have a way to ensure that funds eligible for matching are coming from valid sources.
“If managed well, the Fair Elections Fund could help empower average residents and fewer special interests with deep pockets,” Auditor Tim O’Brien said in a statement. “The key here is making sure the city has safeguards in place to ensure nobody can inappropriately take advantage of the new system.”
The audit also found that the Clerk and Recorder’s Office does not have a strategy to evaluate the success of the fund. City officials will not have the necessary information to improve the fund, nor will they be able to tell the public whether the fund is achieving its goals, according to the audit.
The first rounds of Fair Election Fund payments are expected to go out in August 2022, ahead of Denver’s next municipal election in April 2023.
The Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office agreed with the audit’s criticisms and wrote in a response letter that the office will implement changes by August 1.
This article was originally posted on Audit says Denver’s elections fund needs improving