April 16, 2008

What Was All That Money Doing in Ritter's Inaugural in the First Place?

The problems with Gov. Bill Ritter's $200,000-plus in misspent inaugural committee funds raises more questions beyond his apparent gross lack of oversight.

In total, about $300,000 in inauguration funds were spent on campaign expenses. Campaign manager Greg Kolomitz returned the $83,250 that was paid to himself and his company, leaving roughly $217,000 still improperly spent.

But a question I have yet to see answered is why so much money was needed in Ritter's inaugural fund in the first place. Seems quite extravagant.

A quick trip back in time to the tenure of Colorado's last Democratic governor, Roy Romer, hints at a sharp contrast. From the January 3, 1991, edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette (no direct link available):
In 1987, Romer's inaugural ball cost taxpayers $10,000 to $15,000, said Romer spokeswoman Cindy Parmenter.

She said the 1991 inauguration will cost under $6,000, compared to 1987's total cost of $25,000. "The first time we had to spend money on staff, telephones and things we already have," she explained.
I know there's such a thing as inflation, but not enough to account for $300,000 in spending. The questions I have yet to see answered are: 1) How much did Bill Ritter's inaugural committee raise? 2) How much did Bill Ritter's inaugural committee spend on legitimate expenses? 3) Why was so much money needed in Bill Ritter's inaugural committee? What cost so much at the inaugural party?

Maybe some inquisitive journalist out there can find the answers. In the meantime, the Bill Ritter Democrat seems like a far more extravagant (and irresponsible) figure than the Roy Romer Democrat.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

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