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Truth Test: Brough ad highlights big, outside money in Denver mayoral race

The political ad discussing the money spent to help elect Kelly Brough's opponent, Mike Johnston, conveniently leaves out the outside money benefiting her.

DENVER — Denver mayoral candidate Kelly Brough is out with a political ad that starts negative, and then misleads.

The political ad tries to highlight the big, outside money being spent to help elect her opponent, Mike Johnston.

The ad conveniently leaves out the outside money that is benefiting her as well.

AD CLAIM: “A Denver voter can give $500 directly to a candidate for mayor.”

VERDICT: The dollar amount is true, but you do not have to be a Denver voter. Anyone can contribute up to $500 directly to Brough or Johnston’s mayoral campaign.

The limit is $500 because both are participating in the Fair Election Fund. That fund is the Denver taxpayer money that matches nine times contributions of up to $50.

If someone contributes $50, the candidate gets $450 from the city.

Had either candidate opted not to participate in the Fair Election Fund, they could have received up to $1,000 from an individual.

Since the campaign ad points out the limit, let us take a look at both candidates side-by-side.

Amount Contributed Total Contributions Percent from Denver residents

Brough $895,613 ~4,300 69%

Johnston $932,060 ~5,500 42%

Both candidates received money from outside of Colorado.

Brough received 184 contributions from 37 other states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Johnston received 1,400 contributions from people in 41 other states and Washington, D.C.

AD CLAIM: “But two-out-of-state billionaires gave $1.8 million to elect Mike Johnston. Nearly two million from two guys that don't live here.” (The ad shows Mike Bloomberg and Reid Hoffman)

VERDICT: It's true that former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman have contributed $1.8 million, but not directly to Johnston's campaign. That would violate the $500 limit.

Their money is being sent to Advancing Denver, a political action committee that can receive unlimited amounts of money, and a committee that Johnston is not allowed to have anything to do with.

Advancing Denver has received $4.1 million. Just after the April election that committee had $2.2 million.

The money is from Bloomberg, Hoffman, former DaVita CEO Kent Thiry and 67 other people. The majority of the contributions are from people in Colorado, though the majority of the money is from people outside of Colorado.

Brough's ad fails to mention the political action committee that supports her run for mayor. It is called A Better Denver, and is the group behind a Johnston attack ad that tried to twist a 9NEWS report on Johnston’s resume.

A Better Denver has $1.4 million in contributions. Just after the April election that committee had $984,000.

The largest contributor is nearly half a million from the National Association of Realtors.

Two local contributors include developer Cal Fulenwider and beer magnate Pete Coors.

Fulenwider, who has contributed to the U.S. Senate campaigns of Republicans Mitt Romney and Joe O’Dea, gave the political action committee $50,000.

Coors, who also ran for U.S. Senate as a Republican, also contributed $50,000.

Colorado Newsline created an easy-to-read graphic showing the most money contributed to political action committees.

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