Ted Cruz and Darryl Glenn: No Daylight Between Them

After failed GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz stopped at Denver International Airport for a brief event supporting U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn today, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, highlighted extreme statements from both Cruz and Glenn that could have been spoken by the same person.

“Ted Cruz and Darryl Glenn are two of America’s most radical politicians,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Darryl Glenn’s agenda is so close to Ted Cruz’s that often it’s impossible to tell the difference. Cruz is so far out on the fringe of American politics that even his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate can’t stand him. Glenn is even calling for a position on the Supreme Court bench for Cruz, which would be an unprecedented disaster for the entire nation.”

Here are a few quotes from Ted Cruz and Darryl Glenn:

Darryl Glenn: “Climate change, we can debate that until the cows come home, for lack of a better way of stating that. The bottom line is, I do not believe that man is contributing to that factor.”

Ted Cruz: “The satellites that actually measure the temperature, that we’ve launched into the air to measure the temperature, they have recorded no significant warming whatsoever for the last 18 years.”

Darryl Glenn: “Now listen up Planned Parenthood–if there is any taxpayer money going to support the dismemberment of our babies, I will vote to defund you!”

Ted Cruz: “I intend to lead the fight in the United States Senate to defund Planned Parenthood, even while investigations continue. The time for show votes is over.”

Darryl Glenn: “One thing I am tired of hearing is that Republicans need to reach across the aisle! We need to stand up and lead, ladies and gentlemen!”

Ted Cruz: “It is amazing that the wisdom of the chattering class to the Republicans is always, always, always ‘Surrender your principles and agree with the Democrats.'”

“Darryl Glenn is offering Colorado more of the obstruction and vitriol that is turning the next generation off from politics in general, and has paved the way for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination for President,” said Silverii. “Ted Cruz’s endorsement of Glenn is a warning to every voter in Colorado. If you support Darryl Glenn, you support more dysfunction and failure in Washington.”

Terror, hate, and guns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The shocking violence committed against LGBT Americans in Orlando this weekend has horrified us all. This weekend’s attack on the Pulse nightclub brought together the combined threats of terrorism, gun violence, and bigotry our nation faces today.

Is it time for the nation to follow Colorado’s model on gun safety? Click here to say yes.

Here in Colorado, we took action after the Aurora theater shootings to reduce the threat of gun violence. In 2013 we tightened background checks, limited gun magazine capacity, and made it harder for dangerous domestic violence offenders to have guns. Our state’s painful history of mass murder has forced us to take the lead in finding solutions to gun violence.

No law has perfect compliance. Criminals by definition are lawbreakers. But in Colorado, we know that our gun laws have saved lives. In 2015 alone, over 7,700 criminals attempting to buy guns in Colorado were stopped by universal background checks–including 22 arrested or convicted of homicide, 17 for kidnapping, and 130 for sexual assault. In addition, 251 fugitives attempting to buy a gun were arrested on site. [1] We know that a pause to reload a semiautomatic weapon saves lives in mass shootings. And we know that protecting victims of violence from more violence is the right thing to do.

Sign our petition now: it’s time for the nation to follow Colorado’s lead. It’s time for America to get serious about stopping gun violence. And hatred of LGBT Americans. And terrorism that threatens us all.

Racist Republicans must resign

Republican Rep. Scott Tipton says there’s “no room for racism” in his party. But from Donald Trump to Delta County, Colorado, their words and actions prove that’s not true.

Sign our petition demanding that racist Republicans in Colorado step down or are removed by party leadership if they refuse.

Last month, Delta County Republican Party chairwoman Linda Sorenson posted this unacceptable, racist image to Facebook of President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee being nursed by former President Ronald Reagan. In an interview with Salzman, Sorenson admitted to posting the item in question and said she does not “care if people are offended by it.” A few days later, Sorenson’s vice chairman claimed Sorenson’s account had been “hacked.” Since that time, Sorenson has refused interviews.

On Friday, Colorado GOP chairman Steve House told the media that he “will not be asking anyone to resign” over Sorenson’s blatant racism.

As Donald Trump makes headlines with his own racist attacks on anyone who stands in his way, local Republicans in Colorado are proving that the problem runs far deeper than Trump.

Enough is enough. Stand up to racism in the Republican Party now. Tell Linda Sorenson that if the Republican Party won’t call out her unrepentant racism, the rest of Colorado will.

And above all, remember in November: it’s not just Donald Trump.

“Liar Keyser’s” Fraudulent Campaign Must End

With a lawsuit underway seeking to disqualify scandal-plagued Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser after extensive petition fraud by Keyser’s campaign was uncovered by ProgressNow Colorado, [1] the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization called on Keyser to end his campaign immediately to preserve the integrity of Colorado’s election system.

“Jon Keyser’s refusal to accept responsibility for his campaign’s unprecedented petition fraud is an insult to every Colorado voter,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “As of today there are at least sixty signatures for Keyser that are suspected to be forged, in a congressional district where he only cleared the minimum threshold by twenty signatures. It is increasingly clear that the fraud committed by Keyser’s campaign is what produced the signatures he needed to qualify for the ballot.”

“Jon Keyser’s excuse that he might have other rejected signatures he can ‘re-qualify’ ignores what’s really important: we have a candidate on the ballot in Colorado thanks to petition fraud,” said Franklin. “That precedent cannot be allowed to stand. Keyser’s disgraceful fingerpointing at subordinates and contractors, instead of taking responsibility for his campaign’s fraudulent actions, proves that he has no place representing Colorado in the United States Senate.”

“Keyser can’t possibly win an election now, and continuing to run even as petition fraud allegations have consumed his campaign shows nothing short of contempt for the integrity of our elections,” said Franklin. “Instead of releasing TV ads he can’t afford and that fact-checkers have already called out as truthless, [2] it’s time for Keyser to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race–and devote his full attention to cooperating with criminal investigators as they determine the full extent of his campaign’s attempt to defraud the voters of Colorado.”

“It’s time for this madness to end,” said Franklin.

Presenting The 2016 Rep. Doug Bruce “Kicker Award” Winners!

(Let the 2016 recaps begin – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As the Seventieth Colorado General Assembly’s final session comes to an end this week, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, today presented the inaugural Rep. Doug Bruce Awards, known in shorthand as the “Kicker Awards,”–given to lawmakers who commit the worst gaffes, embarrassments, outrages, and other lowlights in the course of their official and/or political duties.

“As one of Colorado’s most disastrous state lawmakers in addition to the author of the dysfunctional TABOR amendment, convicted felon tax evader Doug Bruce is the perfect namesake for our ‘Kicker Awards’ given to Colorado’s worst legislators,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Bruce remains a hero among conservative lawmakers, even while he sits in prison over his conviction for tax evasion. Its therefore possible our Doug Bruce Award winners will display their trophies similarly as badges of honor.”

Sen. Laura Woods: Worst Endorsement

All the way back in January, Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada led the way among Colorado elected Republicans throwing their support behind Donald Trump. Woods told Republicans her first two choices were Donald Trump or Ted Cruz months before Trump secured the Republican nomination, which is another way of saying months before it was cool to support Donald Trump. Woods deserves credit for predicting who her radical right friends would support, but voters in her swing suburban district won’t be impressed. [1]

Rep. JoAnn Windholz: Worst Social Media Post

In the aftermath of the domestic terror attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last November, Rep. JoAnn Windholz posted to Facebook a shocking unscripted tirade in which she outrageously blamed the victims for the killings. Women in Windholz’s district cried shame and Republican strategists were horrified at what this meant for defending her vulnerable House seat, but Windholz has refused to apologize for her statements. [2]

Rep. J. Paul Brown: Worst Flip Flopper

Colorado’s groundbreaking program to supply young and low-income women with long-acting reversible contraception has dramatically reduced the rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado, but conservatives have opposed the program on ideological grounds at every step. This year, Rep. J. Paul Brown of Ignacio pulled the biggest flip-flop of the session after he voted to strip funding from this important program after initially supporting it. Brown said he “just felt like” changing his vote because he could see many of his fellow Republicans opposing it–perhaps the most honest and most pathetic excuse for reversing course on legislation in Colorado history. [3]

Rep. Kevin Priola: Worst Missed Vote

Rep. Kevin Priola voted against legislation that would have renewed a law that allowed parents to attend academic events with their children for years. But before he voted against Colorado families with school-age kids, Priola actually requested a delay in the vote on the bill–so he could take his own child to a doctor’s appointment. Voting against families with children is one thing, voting against families after expecting special dispensation for your family is hypocrisy in rare form. [4]

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg: Worst Offensive Statement

During debate over legislation in the Colorado Senate, right-wing Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg referred to his colleague Sen. Kerry Donovan, who happens to be female, as “eye candy.”

We sincerely hope it is not necessary to explain why this is offensive. [5]

Sen. Bill Cadman: Worst Puppet

Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman has presided over the most divisive and obstructionist Senate majority in over a decade. Cadman’s pack of far-right Senators have killed so many good bills since taking power by one barely-won seat in 2014 that it would be impossible to list them all. But in 2016, Cadman finally admitted who dictates the backward agenda in the Colorado Senate: the Koch brothers-funded “astroturf” group Americans For Prosperity. Cadman said “I don’t think I would be the president of the Senate” without AFP, and that he looks “forward to continuing our partnership.” Cadman even hired AFP Colorado’s former spokesman to be his own, and stood by while AFP attacked Republicans who dared to break from the party line. Under Bill Cadman, the Colorado Senate doesn’t even work for Colorado Republicans anymore–it’s under radical new management. [6]

BREAKING: Apparent Fraud Uncovered in U.S. Senate Race

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE #4: The Denver Post’s John Frank:

The signature of one voter, Pam Niemczyk of Littleton, raised particular questions because it appeared on two petitions in different handwriting.

Niemczyk said she remembers signing a petition for Graham outside a local grocery store but not Keyser.

“I have seen my signature for Jack Graham and I have seen my signature for Jon Keyser and I can definitely say the one for Jon Keyser is not my signature,” she said in an interview. “It’s forged.” [Pols emphasis]

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POLS UPDATE #3: Coincidentally, a former candidate for Denver city council was just sentenced today by the Denver District Attorney’s office for falsifying signatures on a petition for ballot access.

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POLS UPDATE #2: Marshall Zelinger at 7NEWS reports, bad news for Jon Keyser:

Pamela Niemczyk of Littleton told Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger on Tuesday that she had signed a petition for Jack Graham, another Republican U.S. Senate candidate. She said the signature on the Keyser petition was not hers, calling it a “fraud.” [Pols emphasis]

…The Keyser campaign issued a statement blasting U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the Democratic incumbent whom he and other Republican candidates are vying to challenge in the November general election.

“Senator Michael Bennet’s liberal friends, ProgressNow Colorado, embarrassed his campaign yet again today with a flailing stunt that clearly telegraphs to the entire political world how scared Michael Bennet is to face Jon Keyser in November,” Keyser spokesman Matt Connelly said in the statement. “…The entire political world knows Jon Keyser will be on the ballot and we appreciate Progress Now’s invitation to highlight for conservatives across the country that Jon Keyser is Senator Bennet’s worst nightmare.”

Whether or not it was political stunt, Denver7 confirmed that the Littleton voter said someone forged her signature on the Keyser petition.

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POLS UPDATE: This could be about to get very serious for Jon Keyser, as 7NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger confirms apparent fraud in Keyser’s submitted petitions:

Watch this space for updates, uh-oh…

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With time running out on a temporary injunction against the finalization of the 2016 Republican U.S. Senate primary ballot, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to re-examine petition signatures submitted in the U.S. Senate race. This request comes after a cursory investigation of the Secretary of State’s own data revealed several invalid petition signatures that evidently slipped through the cracks, and at least one wrongly accepted duplicate signature that appears to be fraudulent.

“Our review of just a sample of Jon Keyser’s petitions in one congressional district has found enough uncaught invalid signatures to raise serious questions about whether Jon Keyser has in fact qualified for the Republican primary ballot,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “The Secretary of State must immediately rescind their statement of sufficiency for Jon Keyser, and request an extension of the temporary injunction now in place to revisit errors and potential fraud in the signature validation process. ‘Close enough’ isn’t good enough for Colorado voters.”

After petition documents were made available for inspection by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, a cursory review of Jon Keyser’s signatures in one congressional district found at least six invalid duplicate signatures that were not discarded in the Secretary of State’s signature validation process. The signatories appear in the accepted signature reports for both U.S. Senate candidates Jack Graham and Jon Keyser. Based on Keyser’s total validated petition signatures in one congressional district (CD-1), fourteen additional invalid signatures would put Keyser below the minimum number required to appear on the 2016 ballot.

At least one duplicate signature accepted for Keyser, a voter whose signature was also accepted for Jack Graham, appears to be fraudulent. A visual inspection of the signatures plainly shows the same name filled out in different handwriting. [1]

“Our brief look at the petitions for Jon Keyser has raised serious questions, and after he barely qualified for the ballot, every single signature matters,” said Franklin. “Our sample of petition signatures has revealed previously uncaught errors, as well as a potential for outright fraud, that could change everything in this race. Unless the Secretary of State takes the time to re-verify every petition signature, no one can have confidence in the Republican U.S. Senate primary ballot.”

Who is Scott Tipton working for? Not you

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This weekend, a devastating report in the Denver Post confirmed something many in western Colorado already knew: Rep. Scott Tipton is the tool of an oil and gas company that has given his campaign tens of thousands of dollars. Tipton takes his orders from the energy industry–not the citizens he represents in Congress.

Tell Scott Tipton to return SG Interests’ money–and stop letting them write his bills.

The Denver Post reported this weekend that Rep. Scott Tipton introduced legislation regarding a controversial energy development issue in western Colorado which “was written largely by an energy company that is also Tipton’s largest campaign contributor.” [1] The bill leaves out any plan for long-term conservation in the Thompson Divide area. The Post reports that Rep. Tipton admits to taking language for the legislation “word-for-word” from lawyers for the energy company that owns mineral rights in the Thompson Divide.

And it’s the same energy company, SG Interests, that has given almost $40,000 to Rep. Tipton’s campaign. Ordinary citizens in Tipton’s district can’t compete with the industry’s lavish support for Tipton, and the results are obvious. Western Colorado’s representative in Congress answers to the highest bidder.

Send a message to Tipton now: tell him to return SG Interests’ money, and stop letting the oil and gas industry write “his” legislation. We’ll make sure Tipton gets the message.

Thanks for standing up for western Colorado when it matters most.

Help us stop the loan sharks in Colorado (again)

(Just say no – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At the end of the Colorado legislature’s session in 2015, lobbyists for subprime predatory lenders rushed a last-minute bill through with almost no debate allowing lenders to dramatically increase interest rates on personal loans. You might remember this battle: with our members’ help, we fought back against the loan sharks and persuaded Gov. Hickenlooper to veto the bill.

With only weeks left in the 2016 legislative session, the loan sharks are back. Contact your legislators right now and tell them to vote NO on Senate Bill 16-185, the “2016 Loan Shark Enrichment Act.”

Politicians like to say they’re for protecting the middle class, but Senate Bill 16-185 would do exactly the opposite. Hiking interest rate caps on personal loans will lead to more unaffordable debt and years of steep payments–or default, which these lenders fully anticipate with some of the most aggressive collection practices in the industry.

Senate Bill 185 will cost Colorado families millions of dollars in higher interest payments, for no good reason other than increasing profits for the out-of-state hedge fund that dominates Colorado’s “supervised lending” market. Contrary to the industry’s claims, there is no evidence to indicate these loans are not accessible to consumers, and certainly no evidence they are unprofitable. Colorado consumers and hard-working families who need access to credit deserve better than predatory terms.

Contact your legislators right now: urge them to vote NO on Senate Bill 185.

Loan shark lobbyists are very good at what they do. Last year, similar legislation almost became law with practically no debate. This year, help us get the message to our lawmakers loud and clear that they work for us–and not the predatory lending industry.

Voters across Colorado call on Jon Keyser to disavow Tancredo’s endorsement

After GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser celebrated the endorsement of anti-immigrant ex-Congressman Tom Tancredo at a debate last night [1], ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, once again called for Keyser to disavow Tancredo’s endorsement–and apologize to Colorado’s Latino voters for cozying up to Tancredo and his racist agenda.

“The response from ProgressNow Colorado members to Tom Tancredo’s endorsement of Jon Keyser has been overwhelming disgust,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Colorado has worked for years to undo the ‘hate state’ reputation that Tancredo helped create with his openly racist anti-immigrant demagoguery. What politician in his right mind would re-legitimize Tancredo’s racism by touting his support?”

After Keyser announced Tancredo’s support in March, ProgressNow Colorado members responded with anger:

“Mr. Keyser, we are watching,” stated Robert Johnson of Evergreen. “Racist policies will not win the day in Colorado. My family and friends have been voting in Colorado going on half a century and as a whole our state thrives on diversity–not shallow and self-serving racism.”

“As a Colorado citizen I am ashamed of your support for people such as Tancredo and Trump who continue to create divisiveness between people of different ethnic backgrounds instead of working for unity among all Americans and those who live here,” stated Sharon Baker of Palmer Lake.

“We have come too far to go back to this kind of racist hatred and bigotry,” stated Niara Isley of Durango.

“Tancredo’s politics are bigoted and disgusting,” said Susan Wolinsky of Denver. “Do you really want to be involved with them? Remember the old adage: ‘You will be judged by the company you keep.’”

“I find Tom Tancredo to be as hateful and racist as Donald Trump,” says Judith Maclean from Bayfield. “In fact the philosophy of the right wing is frightening. I am a student of World War II history, and I shudder at the sight of watching history repeat itself in America in 2016.”

“Kicking off your campaign by alienating Colorado’s large population of Latino voters is not the way to win,” said Franklin.

Coloradans To Sen. Cory Gardner: #DoYourJob

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gardner-MorningJoe-22416With new polling released today showing the American public rejects the right-wing stonewalling of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, delivered a petition with nearly 1,300 names and hundreds of comments from Coloradans to Sen. Cory Gardner demanding he do his job and give Chief Judge Garland a fair hearing.

“It was a risky gamble for the far right to vow to block any nominee President Obama put forward, and today the polls show the American people reject this latest act of partisan obstruction by the Republican Party,” said ProgressNow political director Alan Franklin. “The message we’ve heard from progressives in Colorado is loud and clear: we can’t wait until 2017 for a new Supreme Court Justice. It’s time for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to set aside their endless vitriol against America’s first black President and do their jobs.”

Here are just a few of the hundreds of messages to Sen. Gardner from Colorado voters received by ProgressNow Colorado:

Robert in Denver: “It is not unprecedented for a president to nominate a SCOTUS replacement during an election year. Do your job–you know, the one the tax payers are paying you to do, and carry out your Constitutional responsibility.”

Jacquelyn in Boulder: “It is not likely you will have the courage to do the right thing. I have yet to meet an independent Republican. You love to talk of the Constitution, but will not even give a nominee a hearing. It is disgraceful. If it were up to me, none of you would get your paycheck. Most of us would be fired immediately if we did our job the way your party does. I will spend as much shoe leather as I can afford to defeat you and your obstructionist colleagues.”

Sharon in Palmer Lake: “If it was good enough for Reagan to nominate someone for the Supreme Court during his last years…it is also good enough for President Obama to do the same thing. Shame on you and the others who are not willing to work together according to the U.S. Constitution.”

Curt in Denver: “Ronald Reagan was the last president to nominate a Supreme Court justice in the year prior to an election…it is ridiculous for Mitch McConnell to block a nomination to the Court by President Obama. Leaving the Court in limbo is unprecedented. Election year politics have no place in your obligation to advise and consent to Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Garrett in Pueblo: “I find it interesting for all of Republicans’ rhetoric about following the Constitution, that you are not willing to follow it in this case and give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing. No one is suggesting that you must accept his nomination–you can always vote ‘no.’ But to deny him a hearing and an ‘up or down’ vote is to disregard the Constitution and to make up the rules as you go along. We all have our jobs to do–now do yours. Give Judge Merrick Garland the hearing he deserves.”

To read more comments from Colorado voters to Sen. Cory Gardner, click here.

“The response from Cory Gardner and Republicans in Washington to the election of Barack Obama as President almost eight years ago has been to wage endless partisan warfare against him, which has done enormous damage to our nation and our politics,” said Franklin. A new poll today [1] shows that Republicans are rapidly losing public support for their refusal to even hold hearings on Judge Garland’s nomination. The message from Colorado voters to Cory Gardner and the Republican Party could not be clearer: do your job. If they refuse, November is coming fast.”

Racist or Liar? Progressives Condemn Keyser/Tancredo Unholy Alliance

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports, Tom Tancredo isn’t the only endorsement Jon Keyser announced today, but it’s the one everybody is talking about:

[T]he most intriguing of the bunch is the thumbs-up from Tancredo, the on-again, off-again Republican who ran an insurgent race for president long before Donald Trump tried it.

Said Tancredo in a statement released by the Keyser campaign: “Jon brings an unparalleled level of national security experience to this race and I have no doubt he will secure our southern border and bring Colorado common sense to Washington, D.C.”

Tancredo did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment, though it’s not surprising that he mentioned immigration in his statement — as that issue was Tancredo’s often-controversial calling card during his political career.

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Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo.

After the announcement this morning that former state Rep. Jon Keyser has accepted the endorsement of Colorado’s foremost anti-immigrant radical politician Tom Tancredo, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, condemned Keyser joining forces with a national symbol of racism to win right-wing primary voters.

“Tom Tancredo is one of America’s most notorious anti-immigrant demagogues, and it is outrageous that Jon Keyser has joined forces with him to further his political career,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Tom Tancredo’s racism has no place in any responsible political campaign, especially with the hate-filled rhetoric we’re seeing around the country. But not only did Keyser welcome Tancredo’s endorsement, Keyser actually sent out quotes from Tancredo in a press release celebrating his support.”

“Does Jon Keyser agree with Tancredo that we should launch a nuclear attack against the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina?” Asked Franklin. “Does Keyser agree with Tancredo that Miami is a ‘Third World country?’ Does Keyser support Tancredo’s longstanding ties to racist groups like the League of the South? Does Keyser endorse the Republican Party’s ‘palace coup’ last year that Tancredo participated in?”

“For Jon Keyser to celebrate the support of a racist demagogue like Tom Tancredo raises very serious questions about Keyser’s integrity,” said Franklin. “Either Keyser shares Tancredo’s racism, or he is a liar willing to say anything to win an election.”

Cadman vs. Everyone: Rogue Colorado Senate Must Abandon Destructive Budget Stonewall

Sen. Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

POLS UPDATE: Continuing Senate GOP intransigence over the hospital provider fee even after GOP Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s opinion upholding the legality of the proposed reclassification of the fee to exempt it from TABOR restrictions received a ton of press coverage this morning–here’s a brief roundup starting with the Denver Post’s John Frank:

[T]he attorney general’s argument runs counter to a nonbinding memo from nonpartisan legislative lawyers that argued the measure may prove unconstitutional because it didn’t meet all the legal tests.

Top Republican lawmakers — who revealed the memo in January with great fanfare — suggested it nullified any action to reclassify the program, a move they believe would erode the foundation of TABOR and allow for unnecessary spending.

Not surprisingly, the new legal interpretation did little to shift the conversation at the Capitol. Hours after its release, Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, called it just “another opinion.”

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus:

The news offered a slight break from the partisanship that has plagued discussions, as Hickenlooper pursues the proposal as a means to address budget woes.

“It takes it a little out of the political realm …” Hickenlooper said following the release of the formal opinion. “I can only imagine that the attorney general and her office were under a lot of pressure … I respect that she’s resisted whatever political pressure was there.”

The pause from partisan bickering was brief, as Republican Senate President Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs fired back in the afternoon…

And the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader:

Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, has based some of his opposition on the OLLS memo. He said Monday his attorney’s are considering the new opinion from Coffman, but there are significant hurdles to passing legislation this year that removes the hospital provider fee from the general fund.

“Voters and taxpayers are looking to be protected from people who want to take the money out of their pocket and spend it wherever they want to,” Cadman said. “We’re now the arbiters between conflicting legal opinions.”

 

Given that the hospital provider fee fix has the support of a large number of traditionally GOP-friendly organizations like the chambers of commerce, it’s difficult to see how Cadman can maintain this position. Indeed, the only support Cadman really has at this point is from ideological pressure groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Independence Institute.

Who will Cadman listen to? The well-funded activists, or everybody else? Original post follows.

—–

Following the release of a formal opinion from Colorado’s Republican Attorney General affirming the legality of a technical change to the state’s hospital provider fee to forestall painful budget constrictions on education and other critical funding priorities, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded that Senate President Bill Cadman stop trying to hurt Colorado families–and get out of the way of a solution virtually everyone else in Colorado wants.

“Once again, convicted felon Doug Bruce’s so-called ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights’ is impeding our elected legislators from carrying out their most basic responsibilities,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “But this time, there is a simple fix that almost everyone in Colorado supports. Reclassifying the hospital provider fee to help the state fund core functions like education and transportation, while protecting the equally important gains we’ve made expanding access to health care, is what stakeholders in both parties agree is the right thing to do. The only thing stopping us now is Bill Cadman’s one-seat right wing Senate majority.”

“Bill Cadman’s budget stonewall goes against the recommendation of nonpartisan fiscal policy groups, local chambers of commerce, and bipartisan regional coalitions across the state,” said Franklin. “With the Attorney General’s definitive opinion upholding the legality of this simple change, it’s time for Cadman to let an honest debate take place in the Colorado Senate. At least one member of the Senate GOP caucus has publicly broken with Cadman and Cadman’s friends at Americans for Prosperity on the hospital provider fee, stating that he is not a ‘puppet for out-of-state billionaires.’”

“Bill Cadman’s irresponsible budget stonewall against the entire rest of Colorado must end now,” said Franklin. “If it doesn’t, the voters will sweep Cadman’s tiny Senate majority from power in November–and they’ll have richly earned their fate.”

Call For Mike Coffman To End Silence About Donald Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: The press release below asks Rep. Mike Coffman to take a stand one way or the other on Donald Trump, but at the very bottom of an obscure paywalled story in the Colorado Statesman right after the Iowa caucuses, it does appear that Coffman was already on the record–at least via his campaign spokesperson:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary?” said campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm. “The answer is obviously yes. [Pols emphasis] And he believes strongly it is going to be Marco Rubio.”

After two more losses for Rubio in two subsequent primaries, we’d say it’s okay to ask again…

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Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

After the chairman of the Republican National Committee announced that the Republican Party will support Donald Trump if he secures that party’s nomination for President, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded that Rep. Mike Coffman end his own silence on Trump’s divisive campaign.

“For months now, Mike Coffman has run away from questions about whether he would back Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President–sometimes literally,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “After Trump’s resounding victory in last weekend’s South Carolina Republican primary, GOP chairman Reince Priebus announced that his party would support Trump if he keeps winning. Now, it’s time for Mike Coffman to come out of hiding and tell the voters of his district whether he will follow his party’s lead.”

Last December, Rep. Mike Coffman was repeatedly asked by Roll Call if he would support Trump as the GOP presidential nominee. Coffman awkwardly evaded the question, saying “I’m not going to go there,” then told the reporter while fleeing to an elevator that Trump is “not going to be the nominee.” [Roll Call, 12/10/15] After Trump’s victory in the South Carolina primary Saturday, GOP chairman Reince Priebus stated that the party will support whoever wins the nomination, including Trump. [ABC News, 2/21/16]

“Mike Coffman is the only member of Congress from Colorado who has claimed that President Barack Obama ‘is not an American,’ and that Social Security is a ‘Ponzi scheme,'” said Franklin. “When Coffman runs away from questions about Trump, is it because Coffman own views are so close to Trump’s that he can’t bring himself to condemn Trump’s campaign? Is Coffman afraid of opposing Trump, for fear of losing support if Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination?”

“Donald Trump is now the biggest story in American politics,” said Franklin. “Mike Coffman’s continuing silence on Trump is an insult to the voters he represents, and a disservice to everyone who agrees that Trump is a grave threat to American values. If Coffman won’t speak out to condemn Trump’s hateful rhetoric, we have no choice but to assume he supports it.”

Do your job, Cory Gardner

After Colorado’s highest-ranking elected Republican officials vowed to obstruct the speedy appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice in the wake of the sudden death of Antonin Scalia, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded that Sen. Cory Gardner give the President’s forthcoming nominee a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote.

“Colorado can’t wait until 2017 for a new Supreme Court Justice,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “There is absolutely no reason why Cory Gardner cannot carry out his constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on the appointment of a new Justice when President Obama nominates Scalia’s successor. Years of mindless obstruction by Republicans in Washington, D.C. have created an environment where even the most basic functions of government seem impossible. But the consequences of stalling the appointment of a new Justice until after the election would be too great no matter who wins.”

After the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia this past weekend, Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner announced that “the next President” should nominate Scalia’s successor. Failure to replace Scalia on the court in a timely manner could affect numerous important cases before the court, from collective bargaining rights to abortion access. [1] In an Aurora Sentinel story this weekend, most Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Colorado supported Sen. Gardner’s vow to obstruct the process. [2]

“After years of obstruction of virtually everything that President Obama has proposed, refusal to confirm a Supreme Court nominee with nearly a year left in the President’s term is another perfect example of the right’s disregard for their most basic responsibilities,” said Franklin. “From the 2013 government shutdown to refusing to do their job and fill this Supreme Court vacancy, it’s clear to the voters of Colorado in this election year who is serious about governing. If Republicans won’t do the job, they shouldn’t have the job.”

Coloradans Reject “Liar Keyser”

Following a petition drive in January to expose the ethically questionable record of Rep. Jon Keyser, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online advocacy organization, released comments from the public showing Coloradans are tired of dishonest right-wing politicians who will say and do anything to win elections. This comes after Washington, D.C.-based ethics group American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging Keyser broke campaign finance laws. Last month, ProgressNow Colorado filed a complaint with the Judge Advocate General regarding Keyser’s alleged campaigning for office on government time.

“From playing politics on the taxpayer’s dime to lying about our elections, Jon Keyser has very serious ethical problems that make him unfit to serve,” stated Alan Franklin, political director of ProgressNow Colorado. “When we inform Coloradans about the truth of Keyser’s record, they want nothing to do with him.”

Here are just a few comments received from ProgressNow Colorado members about Keyser’s ethics scandals:

Karen in Littleton: “Jon Keyser–really? what lengths you have gone to mislead the public! I would be embarrassed to put my name out there again. You have to know that you will be thoroughly vetted and those looking for the truth will shine a spotlight on past indiscretions. Coloradans deserve trustworthy politicians to represent their interests in Washington.”

Clinton in Parker: “Why would you setup the ‘straw man’ of voter fraud? There was little evidence, and your false documents just emphasize how political you made this and the danger you pose to honest citizens.”

Sylvia in Boulder: “I’m a teacher. If one of my students had falsified information the way it appears you’ve done, I would have given him a couple of extra assignments, asked for a public apology, and hoped he’d learned a lesson about honesty. Character building, I’d call it. Do you have any such plans for yourself?”

Lyn in Lakewood: “What you did was deliberately mislead Colorado voters in a partisan ruse to make us think there was massive, deliberate voter fraud. We’ll keep your snake-oil hocus-pocus in mind come time for us to vote.”

Elisa in Hotchkiss: “Lying to influence issues important to the voters, or on any issues, is unethical and shameful.”

Alice in Wheat Ridge: “We don’t trust a liar and we don’t vote them into Congress.”

“Once the voters have a chance to see Jon Keyser for who he really is, they can see he is not ready to serve in the U.S. Senate,” said Franklin. “What sounds good on paper or in a Washington, D.C. backroom doesn’t always work on the ground here in Colorado. After Cory Gardner’s deceitful campaign in 2014, the message we’re getting from Coloradans is clear: we won’t be fooled again.”