Stay Classy, Ted Harvey (Chris Stevens’ Grave Edition)

UPDATE #2: Looks like Stop Hillary PAC has pulled down the ad featuring a prominent misspelling of the word “Libya.” Thankfully, we had the foresight to download it for posterity:


This is why you proof, and proof, and proof again.


UPDATE: In a fundraising email in support of this ad, former Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey’s Stop Hillary PAC claims they are spending $125,000 to air it during tonight’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN. The ad reportedly played on CNN once or twice earlier today as well. Harvey proudly boasted in April that Stop Hillary PAC had brought over $1.4 million in the prior year–but given reports that the group only spends about 12% of its haul on actual work, maybe this is all they could spare?

With your help, we’re spending $125,000 to air this ad during the debate…and strike Hillary when she’s vulnerable.

Hillary Clinton must be held accountable for her lies and fatal judgement. Stop Hillary PAC is the only organization who’s sole purpose is defeating Hillary Clinton, and this commercial is the first step of many that we will take to guarantee she is not our next Commander in Chief.

We are airing this commercial during the Democrat debate so we can have the biggest impact, but as you can imagine it’s not cheap. CNN charges a hefty sum to air commercials during the debate, and we need your help to afford the nearly insurmountable fees.

It’s a nice gig if you can get it, folks.


Sen. Ted Harvey.

Sen. Ted Harvey.

Politico’s Eliza Collins reports on a shocking new ad airing from the Stop Hillary PAC, whose chairman as our readers know is former Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey:

The Stop Hillary PAC is out with a new ad, set to air during the Democratic debate Tuesday night, that shows the grave of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in Benghazi, Libya.

The ad which is titled “I’d like to Ask,” also shows photographs of the four Americans who were killed during Benghazi attacks…

“I’d like to hear why you silenced the Benghazi whistleblower,” the video says as a photograph of Sean Smith, a State Dept. IT technician, fills the screen.

“But Mrs. Clinton, I can’t,” the voice says as the video shows Stevens’s photograph. “What difference does it make?” The screen then fills with Stevens’ grave.

To be fair, we’re not completely sure that this is really Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’ headstone–it could be some kind of Photoshopped mock-up? That we think would be at least somewhat preferable to the Stop Hillary PAC having actually gone to the cemetery where Ambassador Stevens is buried, and taken a photo of the man’s headstone for a political ad.

Good Lord, people.

Even with that benefit of the doubt, this ad is totally ridiculous. Numerous investigations into the Benghazi attacks, including Republican congressional investigations, have cleared Hillary Clinton and high-level Obama administration officials of wrongdoing. The Benghazi attacks have been hyped out of all earthly proportion ever since they occurred in 2012 in the middle of that year’s presidential race, and Republicans appear totally unable to let the matter drop despite the overwhelming evidence their own investigations have produced showing there’s nothing to keep prattling on about.

Oh, and one more thing, Sen. Harvey: could you please learn how to spell “Libya?”


Oops! Maybe they can get that corrected before this ad runs on CNN during tonight’s debate.

Ted Harvey’s Stop Hillary PAC was profiled in Politico back in January along with a large number of other so-called “Scam PACs”–groups that collect huge sums of money ostensibly for political campaigns, while offering little to no actual programmatic justification for their existence. Other than salaries paid to the PAC’s employees, of course. According to that report, “Scam PACs” including Stop Hillary PAC spent around 12% of their income on actual public-facing work product like this ad.

Perhaps next time, maybe they’ll hire a producer with an ounce of common decency. Or at least a spell-checker.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 13)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Here’s hoping that CNN debate moderators ask a question about Playboy magazine’s decision to stop publishing pictures of fully nude women; the level of awkwardness would be off the charts. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► It’s mail ballot time in Colorado. Ballots for the 2015 election should be arriving in your mailbox this week. Go to to check your voter registration status or to print out a sample ballot. [*NOTE: We’re going to keep this item at the top of the page on Get More Smarter for the next week or two]


CNN is holding a podium spot for Vice President Joe Biden should he decide to suddenly show up in Las Vegas, NV for the first Democratic Presidential debate. Tonight’s debate is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm, and we’ll be live-blogging the event right here at Colorado Pols.


► How many Congressional investigations into Planned Parenthood are enough? The more the merrier, says Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Mike Coffman Salutes More Planned Parenthood “Committees”

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a noise? If you can answer that question, maybe you can solve this one as well: How many special/select committees can Congress create to investigate the same subject?

As ThinkProgress reported last week:

House Republicans have created a new committee specifically tasked with investigating the women’s health organization, despite the fact that months of scrutiny have failed to turn up any evidence that the group is actually breaking any laws.

The special committee formed on Wednesday brings the total count of congressional committees investigating Planned Parenthood up to five. There are already three in the House and one in the Senate…

…Republican lawmakers say the special committee will help consolidate the ongoing probe into Planned Parenthood under one legislative body. Though they acknowledge that they cannot definitively say the national women health’s organization has violated the law, they argue that doesn’t eliminate the need for further inquiry into fetal tissue research — a scientific practice that has come under fire following the release of several inflammatory videos accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally profiting from the sale of aborted baby parts.

As we noted on Friday, one of these “PP Committees” ended up producing very little aside from rhetorical nonsense; Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, admitted that his Committee’s investigation turned up, well, nothing.

“Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman's 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood's logo.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

Nothing? Oh. Well, good thing there are still four PP Committees that are still investigating. Last week the House voted to establish a Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce to look into the nonsense allegations against Planned Parenthood. Plenty of Republicans voted in favor of creating this committee, including Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora)…who used Planned Parenthood’s logo to imply an endorsement of his campaign in 2014.

You may recall from a few weeks ago that Coffman also voted in favor of cutting federal funding from Planned Parenthood, even with the knowledge that such a vote could derail negotiations hoping to avoid a government shutdown for the second time in three years. The explanation for that vote and the contrasting use of the Planned Parenthood logo for his campaign led to this classic response:

“Using Planned Parenthood’s expression of support is not the same thing as saying it’s a good organization,” said Coffman’s spokeswoman Cinamon Watson in an email to 9NEWS.

Republicans in Colorado have been trying hard to stoke the flames of manufactured anger over Planned Parenthood, and Rep. Coffman has happily joined in at every step — nevermind his 2014 campaign claims. But after Rep. Chaffetz’s frank comments that his Planned Parenthood investigation turned up nada, how can Coffman and other Congressional Republicans continue to promote more investigations? If another committee does try to push some sort of “evidence” involving Planned Parenthood, the first casualty will be the Republican members of Rep. Chaffetz’s committee; they’re going to look pretty incompetent if another committee claims evidence of wrongdoing after they reluctantly admitted running into a dead end.

But…if all five of these Committees fail to produce anything meaningful, will Coffman support the creation of a new Committee to investigate those other Committees? It only seems fair.

Blowhards: Springs Road Tax Haters Make Fools Of Selves



As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Billie Stanton reports, Republican Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers’ campaign to pass the city Ballot Issue 2C, a modest increase in the city’s sales tax rate to fund desperately-needed street repair projects, is meeting fierce opposition from national conservative group Americans for Prosperity–and also from the ubiquitous Laura Carno, a Springs-based conservative paid political activist with ties to former gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.

As Stanton reports, the opposition is fierce, but unexpectedly shallow:

“Any politicians raising taxes anywhere – prove to me that that is the only way,” Carno said. “It is our money. When voters say no, government tightens their belts like we have to.”

She points to a report by a certified public accountant, hired by AFP, who said the city budget has enough money to rebuild roads without raising the sales tax.

“I don’t think I need to have any financial acumen to be a taxpayer saying they have not proven to me that they need to do this,” Carno said…

Laura Carno.

Laura Carno.

Followed by this frank admission:

“I am not a CPA. I am not an expert. My big fear is that they haven’t proven it to us.” [Pols emphasis]

For many Springs residents, the “proof” Carno is looking for can be found in a ten-minute drive on the city’s crumbling streets. But Carno also relies on a report commissioned by Americans for Prosperity from a certified public accountant named Jay Anderson, whose past includes a stint as budget director for Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas. The major fiscal problems in Kansas caused by large tax cuts recommended Anderson under Brownback are a matter of record, and the state passed a budget this year that was forced to raise some taxes again to close a massive “unexpected” deficit.

You have to wonder how much of Anderson’s “creative” math from Kansas went into his report on how easily Colorado Springs can fix the roads :

His 23-page report reflects several basic misunderstandings of the city budget.

For example, he urged the city to recover more than $20 million in property taxes lost through exclusions. But only churches, nonprofits and the military are excluded. If they were taxed, it would add only $4.3 million to the city’s $20 million in property taxes this year, Mayor John Suthers said.

“Do you think the citizens of Colorado Springs would vote to tax churches and nonprofits? We’d be the only jurisdiction in Colorado that did that,” he said.

In addition, Anderson “recommended” the city slash its funding reserves far below the level considered prudent. Given Anderson’s recent experience in Kansas, and the obvious damage done by that state’s irresponsible fiscal decisions, he’s probably the last person anyone should be taking fiscal advice from. But not only are we being asked to do that, you have Carno backing him up with what’s become her trademark nasal-voiced snarky catchphrase presumptuousness–never mind the fact that she’s, in her own words, “not an expert.” In fact, as Stanton reports in this story, Carno spent 14 years at a credit card issuer that was forced to pay almost half a billion dollars in fines over its predatory lending practices.

All of this adds up to make the opposition to Colorado Springs Ballot Issue 2C look not just rationally unsound, but also fairly…well, contemptible. Unfortunately, however, this is Colorado Springs–so none of these facts may matter to the outcome.

But folks down there deserve to know the whole story of what they’re being told, and by who.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Oct. 12)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Happy Columbus Day. Or not — your call. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► It’s mail ballot time in Colorado. Ballots for the 2015 election should be arriving in your mailbox this week. Go to to check your voter registration status or to print out a sample ballot.


► Looking for real issues that will dominate the 2016 election cycle? Ensuring fair wages and rewarding the hard work of Americans will be a key theme, say economists. From Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post:

The issues of stagnant wages and wealth inequity will dominate the discussion before next year’s presidential election — and unleash some unusual political dynamics, predicts a leading labor economist.

“It will be one of the main topics in the presidential election next year,” said  Lawrence Mishel, who has closely studied the issue…

…Since 1973, worker productivity has risen 73 percent, according to an EPI analysis. Higher productivity should result in higher wages, Mishel said, but that link is broken, a reflection of deliberate policy decisions by both parties over several administrations.

Median worker wages, adjusted for inflation, are up only 9 percent over the same period, with most of that coming in the late 1990s. Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history, yet they earn less than previous generations and struggle to find jobs in their fields. [Pols emphasis]

You hear that, Millennials? You can still vote with your wallet even if it’s empty.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Bernie Rocks Boulder, Because Of Course

FOX 31 reported from yesterday’s big, big rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the People’s Republic of Boulder:

Nestled under the picturesque Rocky Mountains, where the political landscape is much less diverse than the ever changing fall leaves, a stampede of more than nine thousand people converge on Boulder’s University of Colorado campus.

“I think Boulder is a spark plug of a town,” said Lee Nemerowicz, a small business owner who lives in Boulder.

“This is like, amazing to see,” said Molly Cooper, who drove eight hours from southwest Colorado for Saturday’s rally.

The Boulder Daily Camera’s Alex Burness described what has been broadly reported via attendees, both avowed supporters of Sanders and ideological fellow travelers who nonetheless back the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, as an electric scene:

Before an estimated crowd of 9,000, standing on a stage on an outdoor running track that was backdropped by the sun-soaked Flatirons, the longtime Independent senator from Vermont-turned-Democratic presidential hopeful delivered his wildly popular manifesto to an audience that loved every word of it.

He said like to pass comprehensive immigration reform with policies that are “humane, sensible and keep families together.” He spoke of the country’s “grotesque” income inequality. He reminded his fans that his campaign is fueled not by a Super PAC or his private wealth, but rather by hundreds of thousands of individual donations that average about $30.

When he said that a bank “too big to fail” is also “too big to exist,” some in the crowd seemed to mouth the punchline along with him, like concertgoers giddy at the chance to hear a favorite song in person, at last.

The die-hard support Sanders has inspired across the country is a reflection of the sort of race the 74-year-old wants to run.

Bernie Sanders in Boulder yesterday.

Bernie Sanders in Boulder yesterday.

As the nation’s foremost proponent of an unapologetically progressive agenda today, Sanders has undeniably sparked a countermovement to the “Tea Party”-based rightward pressure that has dominated American politics for Barack Obama’s entire presidency. And for all the visual spectacle on a perfect afternoon in Boulder yesterday, yesterday’s rally wasn’t even that big compared to other recent Sanders events held in major sports arenas and convention center spaces across the nation.

He’s a very big deal, and no one should underestimate this campaign’s significance.

As the kitchen-sink attacks on Clinton continue to blow back on congressional Republicans, the latest being a high-level member of the congressional investigation into the Benghazi consulate attack denouncing the effort as a partisan political exercise, she appears increasingly likely to weather the storm and remain the Democratic frontrunner going into the early primary states–pending variables like Tuesday’s upcoming debate of course. But the huge groundswell of support for Sanders from the Democratic base and non-aligned left-leaners is both space created for Democrats to be Democrats, meaning not be afraid to stand up for their agenda, and a warning: that to not do so risks squandering important new momentum taking shape in American politics.

Hopefully, the footage of Bernie’s big crowds will help this important point sink in where it needs to.

Weekend Open Thread

“In this business, until you’re known as a monster you’re not a star.”

–Bette Davis

Latest Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt Fizzles

komen-planned-parenthood4-1Huffington Post reports–remember that crazy hearing in Congress a little over a week ago that featured a bunch of Republicans practically leaping over the rail to attack Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood? A hearing so ugly to watch than even Glenn Beck wingnut and ex-Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi was unable to defend it?

The Republicans in charge of that hearing hope you forget it:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds hasn’t turned up anything.

“Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” he said during a Judiciary Committee hearing on the family planning provider.

Chaffetz, a candidate for House speaker, grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards during a five-hour hearing last week. He questioned her salary, asked about the organization’s expenses and revenues, and pressed Richards on why the group had revenue of $127 million last year if it’s a nonprofit. (Nonprofits put their revenues back into their programs.)

But after all that, he concluded that Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything sketchy with its money. “Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said. [Pols emphasis]

After the spectacle of this much-hyped hearing, in which an unflappable Richards was personally lambasted over a range of allegations against Planned Parenthood both related and separate from heavily-edited videos released over the summer, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s anticlimactic admission that there’s no “there” there in any of this latest trolling of Planned Parenthood makes us wonder what the plan ever was. Numerous local investigations of Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos have turned up no violations of the law. Here in Colorado, our GOP attorney general has declined to go after Planned Parenthood despite considerable pressure from legislative Republicans.

In our experience, the Republican Party’s recurring war on legalized abortion, which is sometimes identified as part of a larger “war on women” by Democrats, is much more of an off-year pursuit than something seen during election years. Supporters of so-called “Personhood” abortion bans keep trying regardless of the season, of course, but by and large Republicans tend to put abortion on the back burner during contested elections–even to the point of shamelessly flip-flopping, or dissing their erstwhile allies who aren’t smart enough to know when this issue is useful politically to the GOP and when it needs to be squelched. After all, who wants to be the next Todd Akin?

Well, folks, it’s mid-October in an off year! So it’s just about time for abortion to go back on the proverbial shelf. There’s always the chance that this time, our media and pundit class will figure the game out and not get played like a fiddle in 2016 like Cory Gardner did to them in 2014. We hope so, but based on experience, we can’t count on it.

Republican EPA Bashers Jump The Gun Over “New Disaster”

UPDATE: Spill downgraded even further for the record:


Standard Mine Superfund site near Crested Butte.

Standard Mine Superfund site near Crested Butte.

As the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports, Republican usual-suspect haters on everything the Environmental Protection Agency has ever said or done went on a tear yesterday, after word spread of another spill of minewater from an old Colorado mine in the presence of an EPA crew:

News Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency was responsible for another mine spill, this time near Crested Butte, came with a quick political punch…

The Standard Mine spill included gray-colored sediment from a holding pond at the mine. The contractor was de-watering the pond containing un-mineralized sediment and water from the lower mine adit.

The water and sediment was treated to a pH of 7, which is considered normal. The treated water from the pond was being discharged into Elk Creek. But a vacuum truck pumping water from the pond accidentally dipped into the gray-colored sediment, which led to the discharge into Elk Creek.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

The Denver Post’s Bruce Finley reports, Republicans are so…damn…mad:

“They told us things were going to be different. Now we have a spill. … We’ve apparently got a real challenge with the EPA, not only with notification but their accountability and their ability to adequately execute these types of cleanup projects,” [Rep. Scott] Tipton said. “They’ve got resources. They’re the ones in charge of the program. And they’ve had two spills in my district alone. Is there a better way to approach this?”

…Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who threatened legal action after the Gold King disaster, said she’ll do all she can to protect state resources and hold the EPA responsible.

“Once again the Environmental Protection Agency has apparently endangered Colorado’s waterways while drilling at an abandoned mine,” Coffman said. “I continue to be concerned that the EPA wants to zealously regulate Colorado’s resources but refuses to be accountable for their own activities when they negatively impact our state.”


Who’s Dropping Out Next?

The Republican field for President in 2016 is (very) slowly shrinking, and we may see more movement in the next couple of weeks in the lead-up to the October 28 GOP debate at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

In the meantime, what say you, Polsters? Who will be the next Republican to abandon hopes of becoming President in 2016? Cast your vote after the jump…


Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 9)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Today is Leif Erickson Day, apparently. Go Vikings! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► While everybody wouldn’t mind getting a little More Smarter, it would be hard to get More Dumber than Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt. On Thursday, Witt held a press conference in Lakewood to make a “big announcement,” presumably about something that had to do with the Jeffco School Board recall election. As it turned out, Witt wanted to alert the media that he was filing an ethics complaint…against himself…and he didn’t even do that correctly.

If Witt’s goal was to really anger the local media, he succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. If not, the only thing Witt managed to do was make an impressive case for his own recall, while generating one of the weirdest headlines in recent memory.


► We’re gonna need a bigger thesaurus to adequately explain the complete mess that Republicans have made of Congress. Just moments before an official vote was scheduled on Thursday to select new leadership in Congress, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy abruptly withdrew his name from consideration for the next Speaker of the House — throwing the entire institution into an entirely new level of chaos. The quote of the day comes from Wall Street, where a representative from Guggenheim Securities called Thursday “the political equivalent of a dumpster fire.”

Many Republicans are trying to convince Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to run for Speaker, though he continues to resist the siren call of what has become one of the shittiest jobs in Washington.


Get even more smarter after the jump…