CO Sec. of State finds no activity of Russian businesses in the state

They were also told by a grassroots organizer in Texas to "go after purple states" including Colorado. The Colorado Secretary of State is looking into these claims.

After thirteen Russians and three Russian businesses were named in an indictment released late last week by the FBI alleging intentional interference in U.S. politics, the Colorado Secretary of State announced Tuesday those businesses were not on file in the state.

Two Russians were alleged in the indictment to have traveled to Colorado to gather intelligence in 2014. Members of the Internet Research Agency, a business named in the indictment, were encouraged by an American activist in Texas to go after "purple states" like Colorado.

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The political activist who advised the Russians spoke to them over the internet while the alleged conspirators were using fake profiles, the indictment claims.

While the indictment offers no explanation on what the pair was actually gathering on Colorado, the two who visited were allegedly the agency's data analyst and third-in-command.

According to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams, his office compared names and companies listed in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering - to those in the state's business and charities database.

Per Williams' office, no match was found.

"There was no record of the named businesses," Williams' office said in a new release. "Two individuals in our database have the same name as two of the individuals in the indictment, but these names appear to be common Russian names."

The filings by those with matching names was done years before any dates discussed in the indictment, though the office didn't say how many years.

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The pair named in the FBI indictment allegedly traveled to various U.S. states besides Colorado, including Nevada, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and New York. According to the indictment, they fraudulently obtained U.S. visas by claiming they were traveling for personal reasons.

U.S. law forbids any foreign entity from engaging in political activity without express consent from the Attorney General's office - consent they never sought out nor were given.

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The report from the Secretary of State makes a point to mention that absent from the indictment was Russian meddling with Colorado voter machines.

9NEWS confirmed in September of last year that the Russians had targeted our state's voting machines along with 20 others. The Department of Homeland Security says while they were scanned, there was no breach.

The indictment makes no mention of voter machines anywhere - as it deals almost exclusively with social media tactics.

Internal memos cited in the indictment show the group's goal was "spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system" through various online operations. Employees of the group were told to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)."

They created Twitter pages and Facebook groups to garner follows and spread their messages to as many people as possible, according to the indictment.

In addition, an unnamed grassroots organizer from Texas is alleged to have told the Russians - who were posing as Americans at the time - to focus their attention on "purple states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida."

The indictment says after that exchange, the conspirators commonly referred to purple states as their targets. While there was no further mention of Colorado in the indictment, the group is alleged to have paid for quite a bit of material for pro-Trump in the battleground state of Florida. The conspirators are also accused of organizing anti-Trump rallies.

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The Russian conspiracy was led by a group called "Internet Research Agency" that was incorporated in St. Petersburg, Russia. The group would often work with two other Russian businesses owned by the same person called Concord and Concord Catering. Both of those companies hold several Russian government contracts, the indictment says.

The head of the Internet Research Agency, a man named in the indictment as Yevgeny Prigozhin, is called "Putin's cook" by Russian media.

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Concord would allegedly help the Internet Research Agency with funding and, as the main source of cash for the conspiracy often offered advice to the group on who to hire and coordinated the group as part of a larger Russian conspiracy called "Project Lahkta."

According to the indictment, Project Lahkta had a monthly budget of over $1 million U.S. dollars and was used to target both Russian and foreign audiences - including the U.S.

The Internet Research Agency is painted in the indictment as a group focused on swaying American the 2016 election by using social media.

The group had more than 80 regular employees just assigned to translating duty at the height of their actions in mid-2016. It had an I.T. department, search engine optimization department, content generators and even bought U.S. server space to hide the origin of its actions.

The indictment also alleges the group stole the personal identities of at least five Americans and used those identities to create email addresses so it could get bank accounts and PayPal accounts to help pay for social media ads for its posts.

It also allegedly created many Facebook and Instagram pages with a wide range of focuses, from pro-Sharia law pages, pro-Black Lives Matter, pro-Christian, pro-border security and pro-counter-terrorism pages.

The indictment alleges the Internet Research Agency even paid for materials for rallies held in Florida, including paying for a human-sized cage to house a Hillary Clinton impersonator.