Call For Criminal Investigation of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

(Making it formal – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus updates the story, with Tom Tancredo admitting that the name of Steve House’s alleged mistress was indeed brought up during their confrontation–a key confirmation:

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo said Thursday that the name of the woman who Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House allegedly had an affair with came up in a meeting last week in which several fellow Republicans expressed concerns with House’s leadership.

Tancredo’s comments to The Durango Herald come as a left-leaning group, ProgressNow Colorado, called on Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to investigate Tancredo, along with Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and a well-known Pueblo Republican, for extortion related to the meeting. The DA’s office Thursday afternoon declined to take the case…

The Herald asked: “Why would her name have come up?”

Tancredo responded: “There was essentially concern, I’m sure that that was a problem.”

The Herald then asked, “What would that problem be?”

Tancredo said: “What do you think? He immediately walked out and called her.”

The Herald also asked: “Is it fair to say that her name was brought up because you were trying to let him know this is something you guys know about, and that it could come back potentially to haunt him?” [Pols emphasis]

Tancredo answered, “Yea, I think that’s probably the correct context.”

Whatever the Denver DA thinks of the request you read below, these are some potentially damning admissions.

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Attorney General Cynthia CoffmanAs questions continued to grow about the involvement of Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman in an alleged attempt to blackmail Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House into resigning from his position, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, submitted a formal request to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to open a criminal investigation into the incident.

“For ten days now, we’ve been trying to get answers from Colorado’s chief law enforcement officer about her role in trying to push Steve House out of his job as Republican Party Chairman,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Yesterday, we asked Attorney General Cynthia Coffman if she discussed the possibility of legal proceedings or action against Steve House in any way to persuade him to resign. Coffman’s own statements in press interviews this week appear to admit her reasons for being involved in this scheme against House, as well as admitting that allegations of an extramarital affair ‘came up’ in an attempt to convince House to resign.”

In a letter to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, ProgressNow Colorado asserts that “Mr. House’s allegations appear to support a finding that General Coffman, Mr.Tancredo and Ms. Mizel committed criminal extortion. C.R.S. § 18-3-207…[y]our office is reported to have stated that it has not been contacted regarding any potential crime described in Mr. House’s statement. Please consider this a formal request to begin an investigation into whether an extortion attempt occurred in your jurisdiction.”

Read ProgressNow Colorado’s letter to DA Morrissey here.

“Again, if Coffman was in any way involved in criminal activity, even to sanction it with her presence, she has violated the trust of Colorado voters and cannot remain in office,” said Runyon-Harms. “Colorado law is clear that any person who makes a ‘substantial threat’ to damage the reputation of another person in order to coerce them into a decision is committing a felony crime. As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Cynthia Coffman must be held accountable for her actions in this case. Even the appearance of such unseemly behavior on the part of the Colorado Attorney General renders her unfit to serve.”

“For the sake of the rule of law, and confidence in our law enforcement, we have to get to the bottom of this,” said Runyon-Harms.

Demand For Preservation of “Coffmangate” Records

(Drip, drip, drip – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

pipercoffmanToday, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, filed a Colorado Open Records Act request for all correspondence between Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and specific individuals named in a growing blackmail scandal involving Coffman and Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House. As the likelihood of an outside investigation grows, ProgressNow Colorado further calls on the Attorney General’s office and other parties to preserve all records that could be pertinent to the case.

“Coffmangate is the biggest political scandal to hit Colorado in years,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Allegations of criminal blackmail and libel involving the Colorado Attorney General personally, as well as high-ranking Republican officials from across the state, are much too serious to sweep under the rug. It’s absolutely vital that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Tom Tancredo, and others involved in this incident fully cooperate with investigators and come clean with the public about their role in the attempted ‘shakedown’ of the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.”

Read ProgressNow Colorado’s Open Records Act request here. This morning, the Office of the Attorney General acknowledged receipt of this request.

“Given the seriousness of the criminal acts alleged to have occurred, we are very concerned about the possibility that incriminating records may be destroyed,” said Runyon-Harms. “We demand that any information about the events of the past week be preserved in their entirety for investigators and the public to review. The people of Colorado must know if their chief law enforcement officer was a party to criminal extortion and other crimes in attempt to remove Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House from office.”

“The possibility of our state’s chief law enforcement officer being involved with a felony crime she should be prosecuting is, needless to say, totally unacceptable,” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for accountability and for the truth to come out.”

Call For Brauchler To Apologize For Endangering Aurora Shooting Trial

Following the dismissal of three jurors from the trial of the alleged shooter from the 2012 mass murder at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded an apology from Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler for putting justice for the victims of the Aurora shooting in jeopardy to boost his political standing.

“The eyes of the entire nation are on Aurora as the trial of the alleged killer proceeds,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “District Attorney George Brauchler’s political ambitions are well known, and he never misses an opportunity to promote himself. Unfortunately, Brauchler’s irresponsible tweets from the courtroom have now resulted in the dismissal of jurors who were tainted by his actions.”

Yesterday, Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour dismissed three jurors from the Aurora shooting trial “over concerns they had been tainted by a prosecutor’s Tweet last week.” [1] DA George Brauchler was admonished by the judge last week after his social media posting about the trial was publicized, telling DA Brauchler, “If you’re bored, and don’t want to pay attention to the proceedings, then you’re welcome to leave.” [2]

“George Brauchler has a growing reputation for letting his political ambitions get in the way of good judgment,” said Runyon-Harms. “The victims and survivors of the Aurora shooting deserve justice, not a circus of gaffes by a politician prosecutor that could endanger the outcome of this trial. It’s time for Brauchler to apologize for his irresponsible actions, and stop putting justice for the victims of this terrible act of violence at risk for political gain.”

Progressives, Consumer Advocates Call For Veto of Interest Rate Hike Legislation

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, joined today with Colorado Senators Lucia Guzman and Jessie Ulibarri, along with the Bell Policy Center, the Colorado Center for Law and Policy, and other concerned stakeholders to deliver a petition to Gov. John Hickenlooper requesting a veto of House Bill 15-1390–legislation that passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session to allow lenders to dramatically increase interest rates on specific kinds of personal loans.

“Today, we’re here to deliver the signatures of hundreds of Coloradans to Gov. Hickenlooper, asking for a veto of House Bill 1390,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Lobbyists for the subprime lending industry sneaked in this last-minute bill to allow huge interest rate increases on specific kinds of personal loans used by working families in Colorado and others trying to re-establish their credit. The Colorado Attorney General’s office estimates that this legislation could mean increases of almost 40% to the total cost of a supervised personal loan.”

“Passing bills that could cost thousands of Coloradans millions of dollars at the last minute with no debate is just plain wrong,” said Runyon-Harms at today’s press conference. “There was no opportunity to properly debate this legislation–and that was by design. This bill to allow lenders to hike interest rates on personal loans was passed by both chambers in less than a week. Lobbyists for large financial corporations like Citigroup pushed this legislation for the sole purpose of enriching their clients–at the expense of Colorado’s hard working families who need access to credit.”

“We believe that once Gov. Hickenlooper has a chance to examine the issue in its entirety, a veto of this legislation will be an easy call,” said Runyon-Harms. “We support access to credit, and we want financial services in Colorado to be profitable. If the laws need changing, let’s have an honest debate–not a last-minute swindle that denies citizens a voice in this important decision.”

Veto the “loan shark giveaway,” Gov. Hickenlooper

In the final hours of the legislative session last week, something bad happened.

Lobbyists for the subprime lending industry sneaked in a last-minute bill to allow huge interest rate increases on certain personal loans. The Colorado Attorney General’s office estimates that this legislation could mean increases of almost 40% to the total cost of a personal loan.

Send a message to Gov. Hickenlooper right now requesting a VETO of House Bill 15-1390.

There was no opportunity to properly debate this legislation–and that was by design. This bill to allow lenders to hike interest rates on personal loans was passed by both chambers in less than a week with almost no debate. Some lawmakers have already expressed regret over their rushed vote for this legislation. Passing bills that could cost thousands of Coloradans millions of dollars at the last minute with no debate is just plain wrong.

Tell Gov. Hickenlooper to VETO House Bill 15-1390, the “loan shark giveaway” bill. Your message will be delivered instantly to the Governor’s office.

Thanks for your timely assistance stopping this bad anti-consumer legislation. This time, the money saved could be your own.

Mike Coffman and the Aurora VA Hospital: Coffman’s Part of the Problem

(Right back at ya – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Rep. Mike Coffman appeared in Aurora today to grandstand at a U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing about the troubled VA Hospital project in Aurora, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released a new report documenting Coffman’s own oversight responsibility over the project, and failure to take action for years despite knowing that massive cost overruns were occurring.

“We all know the situation with the VA hospital in Aurora,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms, “a project that will drag on for years beyond its target completion date and is currently estimated to be a billion dollars over budget. But there are some key facts in this situation that have been conveniently overlooked.”

“Representative Mike Coffman, who represents district where the hospital is being built, has recently become very outspoken about this issue,” said Runyon-Harms. “Coffman can be outraged. He can be frustrated. But he cannot be shocked or surprised when as Chair of the Oversight Committee, he had known this information for years–and until recently has done almost nothing to fix the problem.”

In a report summarizing Rep. Coffman’s statements and actions in response to the Aurora VA Hospital’s cost overruns, ProgressNow Colorado finds that Coffman knew that the price of the new hospital would exceed a billion dollars, hundreds of millions over its original budget, since at least 2013. Coffman participated in the drafting of legislation to address problems identified in early 2013 by the General Accounting Office, but admitted delaying the bill for 16 more months.

Read the report in full here.

“As chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Oversight Committee, it has always been Coffman’s responsibility to do something about the problems at the Aurora VA Hospital project,” said Runyon-Harms. “But up until this point, all we’ve gotten is finger pointing, grandstanding, and even attempting to fundraise off of this catastrophe for his re-election. There is plenty of blame to go around for this budget-busting debacle, but Mike Coffman has spent over 5 years on the Armed Services Committee, and over 2 years as the Chair of the VA Oversight Subcommittee. So instead of political grandstands, we call on Coffman to take some responsibility for this problem, and offer real solutions instead of slogans to get it fixed.”

“Coffman is fond of the words ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way,'” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for Coffman to take his own advice.”

Call For Politicians To Boycott Western Conservative Summit

As controversy erupted over the decision by organizers of the Western Conservative Summit to exclude the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans from this year’s conference, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on prospective attendees to cancel their plans to attend.

“At a time in our history when discrimination against gays and lesbians is finally being repudiated, the decision by the Western Conservative Summit to exclude the Log Cabin Republicans is simply unacceptable,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Even many Republicans are shocked by this decision and dismayed by what it means for the party’s future viability. When will the right wing finally understand that bigotry no longer has any place in American society?”

A press release from the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans Wednesday announced that the organizer of the Western Conservative Summit, former Colorado Sen. John Andrews, had “disinvited” the Log Cabin Republicans. Questioned by reporters about this decision, Andrews claimed that the Log Cabin Republicans “exists to redefine the family” and “advocate contrary to our agenda and our core beliefs.” [1]

“If Republican presidential candidates want to be identified as supporters of discrimination just as the 2016 elections are getting underway, the Western Conservative Summit is the perfect venue,” said Runyon-Harms. “If Republicans truly want to succeed in 2016, it’s time to set aside the religious right’s agenda of intolerance and show the voters they can stand up to the bigots in their party. The best way to do that today is to boycott the Western Conservative Summit, where organizers have made it clear they are not ready to give up their prejudice.”

“Colorado Republicans from Congressman Mike Coffman to Colorado Sen. Laura Woods have all claimed they oppose discrimination against anyone,” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for them to walk their talk by boycotting the Western Conservative Summit. Unless the Western Conservative Summit reverses course and allows the Log Cabin Republicans to participate, anyone who attends is legitimizing intolerance–and will pay the price in the next election.”

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Equal Pay Day 2015 In Colorado: We Are The Front Line

As women across America participated in Equal Pay Day 2015 commemorations, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, reflected on the challenges faced by Colorado women even as conservative lawmakers voted to kill our state’s Pay Equity Commission this year.

“The data is clear: in Colorado, women face greater pay inequity than the national average,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “In the last decade, America overall has made some progress close the pay equity gap, but in Colorado the gap has actually grown over the same period.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in late January that women in Colorado earn a median weekly full-time wage of $762, compared to a median weekly wage of $978 for men. Since 2002, the pay equity gap has worsened in Colorado while improving slightly nationwide. [1]

“The choice by conservative lawmakers to kill Colorado’s Pay Equity Commission makes no sense in light of the facts,” said Runyon-Harms. “Closing the pay gap between men and women would mean huge benefits for working families and Colorado’s economy as a whole. Instead of ignoring this problem, Colorado should be leading the charge to solve it. That’s why so many people, including hundreds who signed our petition in support of pay equity, were outraged by the votes this year to kill the Pay Equity Commission. And it’s why voters will hold conservatives accountable at the polls in 2016.”

Help us protect homeowners from shoddy construction

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: 7NEWS’ John Ferrugia with a hard-hitting report last night:

Jennifer Seidman is a lawyer with a major national law firm that has filed many suits against builders for defective work. While conceding that changes in the law affect her business, she says homeowner sometimes have no alternative to suing.

“With arbitration, the homeowners have to pay a private judge and the person that they are paying often times has a relationship with the building industry,” she said.

That’s because the bill makes it clear that people, such as Harris, would not only be prohibited from suing for defective work, they would be limited in the hiring of experts to advise them about defects.

And, they would have to accept the builder’s arbitrator, and pay for the proceedings.

Original post follows.

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I need your help to stop what may be one of the worst bills of the year in the Colorado legislature. Today, a bill will be heard that will weaken the ability of homeowners to hold developers accountable for construction defects.

Contact your senators right now to tell them to vote NO on this bill.

Senate Bill 15-177 would force homeowners and homeowners associations into arbitration over construction defects to multifamily construction. We’ve all heard horror stories about new condo projects in Colorado, like the Beauvallon in Denver, where avoidable defects in construction hurt homeowner property values, caused public safety issues, and turned the condos into money pits. In the case of the Beauvallon, the only way homeowners were able to get help was to have access to the courts to fight the developers of this shoddy construction.

If Senate Bill 177 had been the law when the Beauvallon started leaking, those homeowners wouldn’t have had the power to get justice. The fact is, for most middle class Colorado families, buying a home is the biggest investment they will ever make. Why would anyone want to give up their rights to hold developers accountable for negligence in the construction of their home?

(more…)

Cory Gardner and the #47Traitors

(Cory Gardner’s first mushroom cloud – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Outrageous. Destructive. Beneath contempt. Treason?

Those are the words being used to describe a letter sent by 47 Republican U.S. Senators to the government of Iran in an attempt to undermine negotiations over its nuclear program.

Our new senator, Cory Gardner, signed this letter. Tell Cory Gardner right now to remove his name from the GOP’s Iran letter.

We all know Washington is regularly mired in partisan gridlock, but this is different. By interfering with the diplomatic efforts of the United States and our allies to dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Cory Gardner is risking both American lives and the lives of millions of people in the Middle East–and all to score political points. Is this what we want from the Cory Gardner who claimed to be “a new kind of Republican?”

Send a message to Gardner now: let our President do his job. Stop putting lives at risk. Stop embarrassing our country before the eyes of the entire world. Sign on now–and then ask your friends to do the same. We’ll make sure Cory Gardner gets the message loud and clear.

Take action now to protect Colorado’s land, water, and people

A task force of experts, industry representatives, and citizens appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to study the conflicts between local communities and oil and gas drilling submitted their final report Tuesday. Unfortunately, industry representatives on the task force stalled any attempt at real reforms to give local governments a say in oil and gas permitting decisions. This issue is becoming critically important for more and more Coloradans each day as hydraulic fracture drilling, or “fracking,” pushes oil and gas development closer to homes and schools along the Front Range.

Colorado Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, one of our state’s foremost progressive leaders, is disappointed that the task force failed to recommend meaningful reforms and has said in news reports that the legislature may need to take action on its own. Take a moment right now to send a message to Speaker Hullinghorst–tell her you’ve got her back as she fights for local control over fracking in Colorado.

This isn’t a fight over “banning fracking.” This is about giving local communities a voice in regulating a heavy industry operating within their boundaries. This is about preserving the rights of homeowners and families to safeguard their health and property. And it’s past time for our elected leaders to get serious about solutions.

Tell Speaker Hullinghorst you’ll stand with her as she takes the next steps to sensibly protect Colorado’s land, water, and people. We’ll share your names and comments with the Speaker’s office, the press, and other public officials.

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