Walker Stapleton PAC ad falsely pins Aurora as ‘sanctuary city’

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AURORA | A sponsored post circulating around Facebook from a major funder of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton cites Aurora, Denver and Boulder as “sanctuary cities” that act more as “havens for criminal illegal immigrants.”

The first statement in the 30-second ad from a group called Better Colorado Now is mostly false. Aurora has not declared itself as a sanctuary city. In fact, it’s gone to lengths to state the opposite, according to Aurora officials.

In May, Aurora City Council members decided in a 6-4 vote that they would not identify as a sanctuary city.

“Aurora intends to comply with all constitutional and lawful federal immigration laws and regulations, and will continue its practice of non-obstruction with regard to Immigration and Custom Enforcement efforts to enforce federal immigration laws and regulations,” the resolution said.

The resolution itself was prompted by a segment on the former Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor,” which lumped in Aurora as a sanctuary city with Boulder and Denver.

Better Colorado Now, which paid for and promoted the social media ad, is a PAC-style group that raised eyebrows this summer when it began fundraising for Stapelton before he even formally announced he’d seek the governor’s seat.

In August, the group  hosted a $10,000-per-plate dinner on behalf of Stapleton, but that money didn’t go directly do his campaign, according to a report from the Denver Post. It went to the independent expenditure fund of Better Colorado Now. Now, the group is creating social and radio ads promoting the candidate, also the current State Treasurer.

Neither Better Colorado nor the Stapleton campaign were immediately available for comment.