The president of the Douglas County Board of Education has been fined for keeping her school board campaign committee open at the same time she launched a bid for state Senate.
Meghann Silverthorn, who last campaigned for a school board seat when …
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Meghann Silverthorn said she has not ruled out the possibility of serving on the school board and in the state Senate at the same time. A spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, however, said the state constitution prevents a person from holding an elected legislative position and a local elected position at the same time.
“I will step down from my school board seat when my term ends, or when it becomes necessary in the best interests of the constituency I serve,” Silverthorn said. “Although I have not seen anyone holding that particular combination, others have held two elected seats—Dr. (James) Geddes on our board, for example, was a BOE member and a CU Regent for one year until his regent term ended. Merlin Klotz, the Douglas County clerk and recorder, also currently serves on the Parker Water Board.”
In the two cases cited by Silverthorn, neither served in the Legislature.
"Clearly, this is something I'll have to resolve in the event I win the seat," Silverthorn said when informed about the Secretary of State spokeswoman's statement.
Meghann Silverthorn, who last campaigned for a school board seat when she was re-elected in 2013, was fined $400 by the state for the campaign violation, according to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office. Under the law, she was required to close the county committee within 10 days of becoming a candidate for state Senate in July 2015.
The complaint was brought to the state by Charles Bucknam, of Parker, and Mikel Whitney, of Castle Rock, on Dec. 29, according the Secretary of State's Office. The fine was issued by Judge Robert Spencer on Feb. 23.
“After I learned of the complaint around New Year's, I promptly closed the school board committee," Silverthorn said in an email Feb. 29. "It is a mark of how complex state campaign finance rules are that I, a rocket scientist — a fact that I rarely mention but in this case it is illustrative — was confused ... I have definitely taken steps to ensure that no future violations will occur.”
Silverthorn, who has degrees in aerospace engineering and political science, has worked for the Air Force Research Laboratory and as an analyst for the Department of Defense.
When Silverthorn closed the campaign account, she donated the entire balance — $1,729.57 — to a 501(c)(3) charity, in accordance with state law.
The money was donated to ACE Scholarships, a group whose mission is "to provide children of low-income families with scholarships to private schools in grades K-12, and to advocate for expanded school choice," according to its website.
Silverthorn is among five candidates, all Republicans, for the District 4 Senate seat, which serves Castle Rock, Parker, Franktown, Larkspur and Castle Pines. The other hopefuls are Shawnda Dupree, Jess Loban, Benjamin Lyng and James Smallwood. The post has been occupied by Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, for the past eight years, but he is is leaving because of term limits.
At the March 19 county Republican assembly, the candidates will be vying to get on the ballot for the primary election, which is in June. The winner of the primary will be on the general election ballot in November.
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