The campaign vitriol leading up to the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District on June 26 is reaching new levels on some TV and radio ads.
In “Honor,” the 31-second version of the above ad that aired on television, incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn levels two heavy-handed accusations against challenger Robert Blaha.
The first claim:
“Eight of his businesses ruled delinquent by Colorado for failure to file an annual business report 26 times.”
Our search of the Colorado Secretary of State’s business records found that only one of his businesses – Human Capital Associates, LLC – has a delinquency status, and that company was formally dissolved in April 2012.
The term “delinquency” sounds harsh, but as Andrew Cole – spokesman for the Secretary of State – explains, it isn’t always a grievous mark.
“If you’re delinquent, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” Cole said. “You register a business and a year later you have to file an annual report stating you’re still a business.”
He says it is really in the business’ best interest to file because it is basically just a self-proclamation of existence.
“I don’t know why you wouldn’t file,” Cole said, but, “Sometimes it means they’ve gone out of business.”
That is actually (but not technically) what happened with Human Capital Associates, LLC.
In 2001, the company restructured and became a different company – HCA, LLC. The new company maintained ownership of the previous name for branding and licensing purposes, but no longer did business under the former name. Human Capital Associates, LLC’s last annual report filing, which is now called a periodic report, was September 2005. According to Blaha’s campaign team, the company stopped conducting any business as Human Capital Associates, LLC in 2006. And while the company stopped registering with the state in 2006, they did not voluntarily dissolve until last month.
Blaha’s campaign manager, Tamra Farah, says that “these ads show a stunning ignorance on how business works.”
“Unless you’ve been involved as an entrepreneur, something can look worse than it is,” Farah said.
Our search found only 22 instances where Blaha was late in filing his periodic reports for his businesses.
“As soon as you file you’re back in good standing,” Cole said.
His businesses, not including the recently dissolved one, are currently all in “good” standing with the state and are up-to-date with their reports.
“The bank Blaha co-founded ranked among the worst in the region, fined by the FDIC.”
The data they are citing are from the unofficial commercial rating site, BankRate.com, and reference a 2010 rating. Lamborn’s anti-Blaha website claims, Integrity Bank & Trust, is currently ranked with a 2-star, but when you click on the link, it actually has a 3-star rating, which is defined as having “a generally satisfactory financial condition.” Either way, it is important to note that this site is not from an official regulatory agency.
As for the FDIC claim, Farah said it was an isolated incident by one bank employee.
“There was a civil penalty for not completing one form completely, and I don’t want to diminish that, but it is a clerical error and is fairly routine,” Farah said.
We are giving this campaign ad a “leans deceptive” rating for its misuse of data and playing with semantics.
Read article on Denver Post site.