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Mi Familia Vota Scrubs Colorado Site Of State Director’s Posts

Mi Familia Vota scrubbed the Colorado website of posts by its state director, Grace Lopez Ramirez. In a campaign season revamp of its website, Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan Latino outreach organization, has taken down posts from its Colorado staff and re-directed all links, such as those for its election center, to the organization’s national website.

Mi Familia Vota Education Fund is ostensibly a non-partisan organization which boasts citizenship workshops, get out the vote (GOTV) operations, and voter engagement with goals of increased Latino citizenship, voter registration, and voter participation.

Prior to her work with Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Lopez Ramirez was the communications and outreach director for the Colorado Democratic Party from 2009 to 2011. According to Lopez Ramirez’s LinkedIn profile, she worked for the non-partisan Mi Familia Vota and the overtly partisan Colorado Democratic party at the same time — between January and March of 2011.

Attempts by Media Trackers to contact Lopez Ramirez and the Colorado Democratic Party for comment and confirmation have gone unanswered.  Federal tax rules generally prohibit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations like Mi Familia Education Fund, Lopez Ramirez’s employer, from engaging in partisan political activities.

Prior to its scrubbing, the Colorado Mi Familia Vota site featured several posts by Lopez Ramirez. In one post, Lopez Ramirez and Mi Familia Vota applauded a district court ruling that lifted an injunction that prevented county clerks from sending mail ballots to inactive voters.

According to a cached copy of a media release from Mi Familia Vota, Lopez Ramirez actively encouraged county clerks to send mail ballots to the inactive voters and said, “The decision in Denver opens the door for other counties, including Pueblo and Pitkin, to mail to inactive voters.”

On Twitter, Mi Familia Vota, the SEIU, and La Raza collectively boast of a townhall co-hosted by Mi Familia Vota and La Raza. On Facebook, Mi Familia Vota appeared to encourage viewers to watch the Democratic National Convention, and “liked” comments that were derogatory towards the speakers at the Republican National Convention.

Recently, Mi Familia Vota held an event that was sponsored by the SEIU, League of United Latin American Citizens, the Colorado Progressive Coalition and the Latino Chamber of Commerce. As noted in the Chieftain article (Full PDF version), which covered the September 7 event, the SEIU has endorsed President Barack Obama for election to a second term in office.

The “¡Todos A Votar!” or “Let’s Vote” campaign was listed on Mi Familia Vota’s facebook page with a call for “solidarity” saying, “[T]here is much at stake for Latinos and Latinas in these elections!”

On September 8, 2012, Mi Familia Vota hosted a Citizenship Workshop. SEIU was listed on the Mi Familia Vota Facebook as a primary sponsor. According to the Facebook flier, Mi Familia Vota would provide “resources to become citizens.”

Campaign finance records for Mi Familia Vota, found at the Secretary of State’s campaign tracking site, reveal donations in 2006 totaling $261,974, coming from SEIU Locals, the AFL-CIO, and Pat Stryker, who gave $50,000..

The most recent IRS 990 filings for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund show that while revenue for the organization nearly doubled between 2008 and the 2010 mid-term elections, spending increased by nearly five times, leaving the group with a deficit of $484,892 for 2010. As seen in the chart to the left, the Secretary of State shows a 2011 deficit of $208,572.

Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign have both run into trouble complying with reporting deadlines in Colorado. Mi Familia Vota Ed Fund was two months late filing reports in 2010 and a week late in 2012, while Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign received two “failure to file” notices in 2011 for late reports.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, Mi Familia Vota’s goal for the 2012 election cycle is to register 35,000 new voters in Colorado.

This post was originally featured at Media Trackers Colorado.

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