(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Correction: An earlier version of this blog post stated that Debbie “Feeley” is on the list of people who are most detrimental to the Republican Party of Colorado. It is actually Debbie Healy, according to Sarah Arnold, who also told me she was not present at the GOP executive meeting last Friday, where the list was allegedly discussed. I initially reported that she was at the meeting personally. I am trying to find someone who was at the meeting to confirm the existence of the list.
Serious accusations have been condensing in the air at KLZ radio this week and dropping on the head of Colorado Republican Party Chair Ryan Call.
On Monday, for example on KLZ's Grassroots Radio Colorado, former El Paso Republican Party Secretary Sarah Arnold said: "Ryan Call’s law firm is the only law firm that’s allowed to be used by the Republican State Party, while he’s drawing a salary from that law firm and while he’s still making a huge salary off of the backs of grassroots people who continue to contribute to the party.”
Arnold, who's currently writing an election-strategy book called In the Trenches, also said she was present at an executive committee meeting of the state GOP last Friday, where Call "put out" a list of the "six most detrimental people to the Republican Party in Colorado."
Arnold said Call's list, which she called a "Nixonian hit list," included Arnold, KLZ radio hosts Ken Clark and Jason Worley, Clear the Bench's Matt Arnold, Rich Bratten of Principles ofLiberty, Laura Bratten, and Deb Feeley. Arnold said people have asked if it's possible to petition onto Call's list. She added that it's Call who's the "number one" threat to the Republican Party in Colorado.
Call did not return my request for a comment on these accusations, but, KLZ guest host David K. Williams pointed out that Call was just re-elected, so he must have serious support within the State GOP.
Before Arnold was on Grassroots Radio Colorado, Victor Head, who's the 28-year-old Pueblo plumber who founded Pueblo Freedom and Rights, and Tim Knight, Founder of Pueblo's Basic Freedom Defense Fund, also aired complaints on KLZ about the Colorado Republican Party.
Call responded to some of these complaints in a Denver Post article Sunday and elsewhere, including in more detailed Colorado Statesman article today, but, to give you a full sense of the tone of the discussion, here's a partial transcript of what the two GOP activists had to say on the radio.
KNIGHT: When we had gotten through the signature phase and we were dead broke, we went in search of allies, and we asked to have a sit down with the state party chair. And we asked for a little assistance on the legal. And, um, kind of, they never really got back to us. A couple guys were selling things and – actually, a lot of guys were selling things, and we asked the good people of Colorado and elsewhere to help us get through that. And, um, you know, we also found out through various means that the Republican party was trying to shut down the recalls, by calling various power players in the county GOPs and saying, “Look, you got to put a halt to this –slow this down.” So, Victor and I both kind of ran into a brick wall there, when we thought we’d have some allies, and they didn’t come through. As a matter of fact, they made it even harder for us. So, yeah, it was a — we wanted to make the– to get the record pretty straight today. Victor probably has more to add to that.
GUEST CO-HOST DAVID K. WILLIAMS: Yeah. Victor, what was the rationale behind the state party not more actively assisting you?
HEAD: You know, I’m not really sure what their thought was, other than that they didn’t approve of it, initially. And so they were just upset that basically we sprung this as ad as ‘we, the people’ without asking for their blessing first…we were down to about where the recalls were about ready to shut down, because we were out of money and needed some help. And then to go to them and get snubbed, it wasn’t a good thing to work through. It was pretty hard. And then, to further it, now that we are successful, they then start sending out emails and raising money off of our work, saying, “Look at everything we did! Give us money.” And meanwhile, we still had outstanding legal bills and things. And we’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Not only did you not support us, you worked against us! And now you’re making money off of our backs?"
…WILLIAMS: Victor, let me follow up on a question, there, for you. In The Denver Post, Ryan Call […] said that – or according to the paper, said that once the recalls were certified, the GOP donated about $40,000 – the maximum it could contribute to recruit and help senators-elect Bernie Herpin and George Rivera of Pueblo. What is he referring to there, and is that true?
HEAD: Right. They absolutely did. What they did is they donated money to the candidates themselves. And in that, they didn’t even donate actual money, that I’m aware of. They donated ‘in-kind’ donations to the maximum amount, being phone banks, flyers, door hangers, that sort of thing. And that’s great, but that didn’t help the recall effort. As you guys were saying at the beginning of the show, the candidates are kind of a secondary to the recall and everything.
HEAD: It’s – you know, that’s expected. Once the recall is there, they have to field a candidate. That’s expected. The point here was that we looked for some help, you know, as we were getting the signatures certified, we needed legal help. And they didn’t think we had a chance. You know, as a matter of fact, Ryan Call came down on election night, down to Pueblo to tell George Rivera how to graciously concede. He wanted to help him on his concession speech. Because he said, “You guys don’t have a chance down here. We need to graciously concede, make sure there’s no sour grapes, and just move on!”
WILLIAMS: And he won by like 12 percentage points, didn’t he?
HEAD: Yeah, then we blow it out by twelve percent! And then, he tries to come down and give a big speech at our victory party! And we shut him out! We said, “NO! Get the hell out of here! Are you kidding me? You were just here four hours ago telling us how we were going to lose! You’re not going to take credit for this!” So, it’s – you know, like you were saying, it’s probably politics as usual in the party. But at this point, we have momentum. We have some grassroots energy, and we’re going to demand some reform in this party and some reform in the leadership, or the party is going to die, I’m pretty sure. I mean, they’re going to be wholly ineffective in 2014 and it’s just going to, you know — it’s not going to help anybody.