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Thursday, April 9, 2020

At first blush, it appeared Boulder’s city council was shying away from political appointees in filling key groups tasked with handling important and sometimes controversial projects. But on a second round of appointments made Tuesday night, a former mayor pro tem, a two-time city council candidate and a couple campaign contributors joined political donors on Boulder’s advisory and decision-making bodies.

Council filled 13 spots across 10 boards this week. Several groups had only one or two applicants, making for de facto appointments. That’s how former mayor pro tem Andrew Shoemaker came by his spot on the University Hill Commercial Area Management Commission.

Shoemaker was also one of three appointees who donated to the election campaigns for current city council members or the political groups that backed them. Gifts were small: Nobody gave more than $200 to a single candidate or group, due to Boulder’s strict campaign finance laws.

The thresholds are so low, a former consultant said when the rules were updated in 2018, that a court wouldn’t likely consider them worthy of disclosure. If there are legal challenges, the consultant couldn’t guarantee Boulder’s requirements would hold up.

Three other appointees donated to campaigns of unsuccessful candidates. Four additional donors — and the biggest spenders, by far — were nominated but failed to win enough votes to earn seats.

Donors to current council members

Lauren Lambert (appointed to Transportation Advisory Board, nominated by Bob Yates) donated $100 to The Coalition, which endorsed Aaron Brockett, Junie Joseph and Rachel Friend

Tara Winer (appointed to Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, nominated by Yates) donated $50 to Brockett’s campaign and $100 to Yates’ campaign

Andrew Shoemaker (appointed to UHCAMC) donated $100 to Brockett and $100 to The Coalition

Donors to failed candidates

Jason Unger (appointed to PRAB, nominated by…

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