Acting State Treasurer Mark Hillman was appointed to the job when elected treasurer Mike Coffman went on a tour of duty to Iraq last spring. Coffman is term-limited and Hillman is running to make the appointment official. On Friday, he’ll take a clever step forward in getting his name out. From

Fans attending the big CU/Nebraska football game Friday will have a chance to their share of more than $300 million in unclaimed property currently held by the state. The opportunity will be part of the Great Colorado Payback.

The program allows Coloradoans to claim lost or forgotten property such as checking accounts, savings accounts and safe deposit boxes abandoned for more than five years, which the state has taken for safekeeping. The event at Folsom Field Friday will mark the first time the Great Colorado Payback has been taken on the road.

“Along with watching Colorado beat Nebraska, I get a chance to reunite some Buff fans with money they may have lost or forgotten about,” Treasurer Hillman said. “Finding lost money and seeing the Buffs win the Big 12 North, it’s the perfect early Christmas present for CU fans.” Hillman will have a booth outside of Gate 1 at Folsom Field where people can check for their name on Colorado’s unclaimed property rolls. If there is a match, Payback staff will print a claim form onsite.

This is a clever way of doing some early campaigning, and Hillman isn’t doing anything wrong by making a road show out of the so-called “Great Colorado Payback.” In fact, this is just one reason why Gov. Bill Owens appointed Hillman as interim Treasurer; if you know he is going to run for the job full-time, this lets him get out and put a public face on the job of Treasurer. While the “Great Colorado Payback” is his cover, Hillman is basically campaigning for 2006 when he shows up in Boulder on Friday.

Democrats might complain that Hillman is being unethical by using this essentially as a campaign stop, but he isn’t doing anything that any other candidate wouldn’t do if they were in a similar position. Unlike most candidates for office, however, Hillman actually gets to (try to) give away money to people. That’s not a bad schtick.