Cynthia Coffman Owes the Koch Brothers…Big Time

Republican Cynthia Coffman

The Koch Brothers told her to wear this outfit.

Fundraising reports for the month of July are now available through the Colorado Secretary of State's website. Before we do our regular comparison of fundraising efforts for state candidates, it's worth highlighting how at least one Colorado candidate will have no hope of winning in November without the infamous Koch Brothers.

As we wrote before in this space, there is an ongoing rift among Republicans over money reportedly directed by the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) through the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in order to harm GOP Gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo. To help you catch up on the story, here's the gist of what we wrote last week:

According to Republican sources close to the issue, the fallout from the RGA/RAGA scandal could prove disastrous for the campaign of GOP Attorney General nominee Cynthia Coffman. From what we hear, Coffman was counting heavily on massive financial support from RAGA in her bid to defeat Democrat Don Quick this fall, but the cross-pollination of RGA and RAGA finances has many Republican donors balking at writing checks to RAGA on Coffman's behalf…

…Coffman had been counting on RAGA to pick up the financial slack in her campaign, where she has lagged behind Quick and the Democrats. Prior to today (Aug. 1 is the deadline for the most recent fundraising period), Quick had about $232,000 in the bank compared to less than $70,000 cash-on-hand for Coffman; with relatively small contribution limits for Attorney General, Coffman was always going to have a hard time matching resources with Quick without the help of RAGA.

As Colorado Pols has pointed out before, Cynthia Coffman is not exactly a fundraising powerhouse. Take a look at how Coffman and Democrat Don Quick compare through July:

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“Mostly true” not “mostly false” that Gardner blocked immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

In a fact-check last week, Politifact concluded that it was "mostly false" for SEIU to assert, in a radio ad, that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner "blocked immigration reform." A fairer conclusion would have been, "mostly true."

Politifact's logic:

So far the House has not acted [on immigration-reform legislation], and prospects are dim for action before the fall elections. That means Gardner hasn’t had the opportunity to actually vote on legislation, making it hard to attribute any blame to him. It’s not as though he holds any leadership positions where he could have advanced legislation or held up the process.

Hard to attribute "any blame" to Gardner? Please.

Gardner went from publicly backing comprehensive immigration reform to publicly opposing it. It's safe to say that he was making the same arguments against comprehensive reform to fellow House Republicans, including Eric Cantor, who was a close Gardner ally, having taken a personal interest in Gardner during his first term in office. Gardner was on everyone's list for House leadership, and he was already a Vice Chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee.

But regardless of what he said to House leaders, Gardner never produced a specific immigration reform plan of his own, relying instead on his platitudinous lines about the need for more border security.

If you attack a plan that's on the table, and you have no specific plan of your own, that's blocking, maybe not total blockage, but blocking nonetheless.

So, while would be false to say Gardner blocked immigration reform all by himself, it's at least "mostly true" to assert the he blocked it nonetheless.

Coffman’s fact-free attack on a judge deserves media scrutiny

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

In a blog post about a week ago, I gave conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt some unsolicited information on why Rep. Mike Coffman is still so upset at losing his conservative district and now being a square peg in the round hole of Aurora.

Coffman told Hewitt that Democrats had "targeted my seat in the redistricting process."

"A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver signed off on their map, without any amendments, and it certainly is what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district."

An astute reader informed me that, in fact, judge Robert S. Hyatt is an unaffiliated voter, and likely has been since 1979, according to public records.

I checked this out myself, and confirmed it, with a high degree but not complete certainty, as I was unable to reach the retired judge himself–and he likely wouldn't have divulged this information anyway.

As my correspondent pointed out, Coffman's reckless — and fact-less — attack on the independence of the judiciary deserves scrutiny by reporters, particularly in light of Coffman's oath to defend the U.S. Constitution.

As a progressive, I can tell you that Hyatt is no friend of progressive causes over conservative ones, as a brief examination of Hyatt's decisions makes obvious. Remember, he ruled in favor of conservatives just last year in a case clearing the way for the recall of two Democratic state senators.

Post Editorial Page Editor’s slap at Beauprez could portend Hick Endorsement

For the few of you looking for clues about which gubernatorial candidate will be endorsed by The Denver Post, check out this line, mocking Republican Bob Beauprez, from today’s column by Denver Post Editor Page Editor Vincent Carroll.

Still, Hickenlooper, whose persistence pushed the deal through, has bought more time for those on both sides of the divide over local control of drilling who desire a genuine compromise. His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, may think that any “grand bargain compromise” amounts to weak-kneed capitulation, even if acceptable to oil and gas companies, but Initiatives 88 and 89 were real threats to the state’s economy. They may have been defeated — and probably would have been — but who knows? Now they’re off the table.

Of course Carroll doesn’t make the endorsement decision by himself, but still.

Real Irony in Our Colorado Solar Fight

Oops. If I were the folks at Xcel, that's what I'd be saying. For the last year they've been trying to get rid of net metering here in Colorado (just like other utilitiesand the Koch brothers – have been trying to do nationally). 

Well it turns out, according to this press release from the solar folks, that just a few years ago Xcel was happy to make the case for solar: 

Last week in Denver, Coloradans packed into the Public Utilities Commission meeting rooms to support the cornerstone rooftop solar policy net metering.  Meanwhile, a new finding shows that Xcel also knows the true benefits of net metering.  A Denver Post article from 2007 says "Xcel officials maintain that all customers benefit because solar systems delay the need to build expensive power plants and reduce prospective future taxes on carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power." Xcel's current attacks on net metering are a flip-flop meant to protect the utility monopoly from competition.

Right there, Xcel is admitting that rooftop solar and net metering systems actually help the grid – exactly the opposite of what they're arguing now. And they're making the case using the kinds of points about expanding the cost analysis (i.e. including the cost of building huge new expensive power plants) that they're rejecting now. 

Oops, indeed. 

I tracked down the original DP story. Here's a link to it for anyone interested. It's really worth a read, as it walks through Xcel execs making the case about everything that's great about rooftop solar. Quite a change of heart they've had. For instance, in a more recent piece in the post, they say:

"We believe that net metering is a hidden incentive that unfairly requires non-solar customers to pay the grid costs of solar customers," Alice Jackson, a vice president of Xcel's Colorado subsidiary, said in an e-mail.

What's with the change of heart? The solar folks in that article lay it on competition, and that's probably a bit part of it. But the old quote from Xcel is important not just as a gotcha moment: it should force the company to accept cost projections that take into account the other social costs of dirty coal and gas power they're using, compared to solar, and to account for the upfront costs of big infrastructure investments in power plants (which are also passed along to consumers). After all, they're the ones who made the case for it. 

 

 

Winners, Losers, and Lessons from Frackapalooza Deal

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

​News broke late yesterday that Gov. John Hickenlooper had reached a deal to avert dueling ballot measures related to fracking — and not a moment too soon. Yesterday was the final day to submit signatures to the Secretary of State's office for certification to make the November ballot. The deal has apparently met approval with Rep. Jared Polis, oil and gas executives, environmentalists, and even some Japanese tourists on 16th Street Mall (okay, we made that part up), and will culminate in the removal of four initiatives from the ballot (two backed by Polis, and two backed by the oil and gas industry) in exchange for the formation of a humongous "blue ribbon commission" that will make recommendations to the legislature. So, instead of ballot measures, the State will appoint 18 people to continue arguing about fracking long after Election Day.

Is this a good deal for Coloradans? A bad deal? That depends on who you ask, of course, and here at Colorado Pols, we sort of avoid the question because we focus our analysis on the pure politics of the deal. As always here at Colorado Pols, we limit our analysis to politics while leaving the policy debate to others. Which leads us to…

Frackapalooza 2014: Winners, Losers, and Lessons

In the interest of both time and space (relative though they may be), we're going to break this up into three separate posts. So up first, after the jump, are the big Winners from Frackapalooza:

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Republican volunteers quit over Republican-funded attacks on Tancredo

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

tancgov

Pueblo County Republican Chair Becky Mizel told KVOR's Jimmy Lakey over the weekend that Republican volunteers in Pueblo have been quitting in response to the revelation that the Republican Governors Association apparently funded a campaign to defeat Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo in the June primary.

"I've had a lot of people call and say, 'Take my name off," Mizel told Lakey. "We've had about five that have withdrawn from precinct chair because they're so ticked off at some of the things going on at the governor level…. But it really does hurt us. It's hurt us a lot."

Lakey: So you've had people this week drop out as precinct chairs and stuff like that, just as fallout from the RGA. Any fallout from the Gardner and Coffman votes? Really, it effects that locally?

Mizel: Yeah. We had two, a husband-and-wife team, drop out because of that one just yesterday.

Lakey: Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Mizel: It's dramatic, and people just don't realize what they are doing to the local party, and to the party in general.

Lakey: These candidates, they need the local party, as localized as possible, to have strong organization to help get out the vote. And when they're chasing away your precinct chairs, they're kind of cutting off their nose despite their face.

Mizel: Jimmy, I hate to sound a bit skeptical. I think they just think they need the money of the establishment. And I don't think they necessarily think they need the grassroots. I hate to be so skeptical, but after being in this game a while, I'm beginning to feel that way. I hope I'm wrong.

Lakey: I hope you're wrong too. I'm afraid you're not that wrong Becky.

Listen: https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/co-republican-activists-quitting-over-gop-attacks-on-fellow-republican-tancredo

The Republican Governor's Association (RGA) donated $175,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which, in turn, contributed $155,000 to attacks on Tancredo during the GOP primary in Colorado. The indirect money path appears to have been an effort by the RGA to conceal its involvement in Colorado's Republican primary.

The revelation of the RGA's furtive meddling angered not only Tancredo but Republicans statewide. Mark Baisley, the Vice Chair of the Colorado GOP has called for an investigation.

Mizel's statement on the radio is an indication that the controversy is affecting morale of Republican activists who, as Lakey points out below, are critical to GOP electoral efforts this fall.

Romanoff Waxes Centrist In First TV Spot

The Denver Post's Jon Murray reports on Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff's first ad, now playing:

In the ad, the former Colorado House speaker touts a record of balanced budgets, with legislators working across the aisle to make tough choices. The contrast to Congress’ partisan gridlock is clear.

Of course, as Romanoff points out, the state constitution requires a balanced budget each year. He ends the spot by saying “it ought to be the law in Washington, too.” Romanoff has said he supports a balanced-budget amendment…

The ad’s simple lines leave little to pick apart factually, opening with: “It’s really pretty simple. You don’t buy things you can’t pay for. But that’s what Congress does all the time, spending our tax dollars on perks and privileges, while racking up a mountain of debt.” It’s an ad that Romanoff hopes will cast him as financially responsible in a district where he needs to win over plenty of moderates.

A little more from Romanoff campaign spokesperson Denise Baron:

Romanoff’s communications director, Denise Baron, noted the different approaches of the two candidates in this race. “Congressman Coffman and his colleagues voted for a budget that would shift the tax burden onto middle class families, make college more expensive, and force seniors to pay thousands more in Medicare costs. Andrew supports a balanced budget plan that grows the economy, protects Social Security, and puts the middle class first.”

It's not an ad aimed at partisan Democrats, but for the purposes of introducing Romanoff to lay CD-6 voters, that's just fine. The story of Romanoff's background in the Colorado legislature, where the budget must constitutionally balance each year, makes a great counter to trying to pre-emptively hold Romanoff responsible for fiscal profligacy in Washington, DC. It would make a good follow-up for Romanoff to make clear that said fiscal irresponsibility is the fault of Republican tax cuts and wars as much as anything Democrats have done, but that's maybe a better point for later in the cycle.

For today, Romanoff has a well-produced ad up that doesn't go expressly negative, but nonetheless responds squarely to a central Republican talking point. We'd call that a good investment.

Can you come up with a better explanation for Gardner supporting Fed Personhood bill?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

I may be the only person in the universe who spends his quiet moments in the shower trying to figure out the puzzle, left unsolved by local and national reporters, of why Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner hasn't un-cosponsored federal personhood legislation, which aims to ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

Gardner's been jumping up and down and screaming that he no longer supports personhood amendments here in Colorado, even saying so in a TV commercial, but he's not backing off the federal personhood bill, called Life at Conception Act.

Gardner spokespeople have told reporters that the federal legislation "simply states that life begins and conception," and it would have not real-world impact on abortion or contraception.

But if you take one minute and read the bill, you'll see that it actually factually aims to make personhood the law of the land. And other co-sponsors of the bill agree.

So what's up with Gardner?

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Operation Choke Point – Denying the Dollars

Victor “Everyone Loves” Head is all choked up about a Federal program, Operation Choke Point (OCP). In an interview with Jennifer Kerns, Head claimed that credit card services for Pueblo Freedom and Rights (PFR) were suddenly cut off the week before the recall elections in 2013.  Other right –wing groups  also reported sudden and mysterious severance of their banking relationships, and an astroturf organization, USCC, has been set up to take reports of suspected OCP interference.  The funders of USCC are unknown, but have strong ties to conservative groups.

“Operation Choke Point” overreach is the latest generator of anti-Obama, anti-AG Holder outrage in the right wing blogosphere. Look for it to become the next big attack on the Obama administration and Attorney General Holder, with Pueblo’s own “grassroots hero”, Victor Head, prominently featured as the poster boy. Here is your daily requirement of irony: (Below, right, is Victor Head of PFR, a recall organizer, and current Pueblo Clerk candidate, posing  in 2013 with El Paso Sheriff Terry Maketa, himself recently the target of a failed recall for sexual and  administrative offenses.)

But…Is OCP  a real “scandal”? Is it “overreach”? Is OCP the bank version of NSA spying on ordinary Americans?

William Isaac , columnist for “The Hill” wrote:

The DOJ launched Operation Choke Point in 2013, working in concert with a wide range of agencies including the FTC, FDIC, OCC, CFPB, and FBI.  The stated goal of Operation Choke Point was to “sensitize” the banking industry to the risk of doing business with legal but “undesirable” businesses through the issuance of non-public FIRREA subpoenas ( as opposed to enforcement actions where the authority could be challenged).

Regulators and the DOJ highlight some two-dozen businesses that they consider “high risk” or “undesirable”, including ammunition dealers, producers of adult films, check cashers, short-term unsecured loans (commonly called “payday loans”), telemarketers, firearms/fireworks vendors, raffles, pharmaceutical firms, life-time guarantees, surveillance equipment firms, and home-based charities.

I am all for the DOJ monitoring some of these shady businesses, and if they find illegal action, stopping it. I’ve had hundreds of dollars deducted from my own bank account via a scam for a non-existent health insurance card company, prior to the ACA’s enactment. Had someone taken the money from my purse, there would have been criminal charges; however, because it took place in the obscure world of third-party bank businesses and fly-by-night internet scam artists, it proved impossible to stop or to get redress. I'll never get that money back.

 I don’t want felons and violent offenders to be able to order firearms online.  Pharmaceutical firms that market under-the-counter medications need some oversight to protect public health.  Online child pornography businesses need oversight of their bank transactions so that they can be shut down and punished. This is the DOJ appropriately protecting the public.

The grey area is that most of these are legal businesses, at least until there is proof of criminal activity. Where I agree with the right wing outrage, (and the possibility of being on the same side of any issue as Victor Head makes my own gag reflex kick in) is on this point:  there is little or no oversight on the overseers.  People are losing access to their own money, without a warrant, without a trial, without a civil action.

Liberals may applaud the restrictions on shady businesses, and on right-wing political groups that benefit from dark money. However,  there is no guarantee that the OCP’s possible overreach stops there. Like the IRS scandal, we may well find that progressive organizations are also targeted as much or more than conservatives.   How will the Department of Justice be made accountable and transparent, when the agency is now unaccountable and its transactions are hidden from the public?

The United States Congress has initiated legislation on this issue. House Bill 4986, the End Operation Choke Point Act of 2014,  was introduced with bipartisan support in June 2014. It was referred to the Committee on Financial Services, where it sits. Given the dismal history of Congress in passing legislation, govtrack.us gives it only a 26% chance of being signed into law.  I frankly don’t have the financial expertise to understand how or if this bill will provide oversight and transparency on OCP, so I’m not going to try to evaluate the legislation.

Given the people promoting the right wing outrage over OCP, most critical thinkers are justifiably skeptical of the claims of OCP overreach. Jennifer Kerns, aka California Partygirl, aka anti-recall spox, aka California Republican media consultant, now a Washington pundit, wrote in  “TheBlaze.com” that Operation Choke Point,  (OCP): “Evidence has emerged of Operation Choke Point targeting other Republicans on or before Election Day.”  Victor Head has a record of rummaging through post office trash for ballots to bolster his claims of possible election fraud.

Jennifer Kerns would be an expert on dark money funding of political organizations, from the inside – Magpul funded $150,000 for  the organization “Free Colorado”, which in turn funded  the recall efforts against  Senator Morse in Colorado Springs.  Free Colorado was promoted by the Koch brothers on the AFP-Colorado website. Kerns was the spokesperson for Basic Freedom Defense Fund, and helped to promote “Free Colorado”  anti-recall efforts.

I don’t find the outrage over OCP to be credible, because it comes from these sources. However, I’m aware of and concerned about NSA and IRS overreach, during the course of legitimate agency endeavors. Progressives shouldn't dismiss concerns about government stomping on privacy rights, just because they come from a conservative direction. I’d like to see more transparency and accountability of OCPs efforts to curtail borderline-criminal financial transactions. I just don’t quite know how that balances with civil-liberties concerns.

UPDATE:  A Huffington Post article by Zach Carter posits that OCP is an effective way to curb money laundering schemes.  Similar laws were put in place during the Bush administration, and resulted in, for example, Wachovia Bank paying $150 million to resolve charges that it laundered money from drug cartels.

Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkely, and Dick Durbin like the OCP program.

We found the problem with immigration reform

Reps. Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner have voted to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, four times, and as recently as May.

Last night, they ‘changed their minds’ and voted against an amendment to end DACA. With the election fast approaching, it’s no surprise why.

But don’t be fooled by this apparent change of heart. Both Reps. Gardner and Coffman continue to block real immigration reform. In fact, before leaving for a month-long recess, they voted against bringing a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill up for a vote–a bill that would have helped millions of families, and so many people right here in Colorado.

Tell Congressmen Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman that you see through their political pandering. Demand they take real action now.

There’s no question about it: America is facing an immigration crisis, and something must be done. And when we need leadership the most, Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner are letting us all down.

There’s a reason why Congress’ approval ratings are at historic lows: it’s because politicians like Gardner and Coffman refuse to do their jobs. Click here right now to send the message that it's now or never.

Thank you,

Amy Runyon-Harms

CO Republican Vice Chair Calls for Investigation into Tancredo Attacks

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

tancgov

On KLZ's nooner show Aug. 29, Freedom 560, Colorado Republican Party Vice Chairman Mark Baisley announced his support for an investigation into the Republican Governors Association's involvement (via the Republican Attorneys General Association) in attack ads against gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo.

Ken Clark: Quite frankly, you’re right about one thing. And that is simply that it was — Who was it? It was the CREW folks that actually did dig this up — and yes they’re left leaning and yes, and they did leak this information to Lynn Bartels. However, there is one problem with all that. It’s true!!!

Mark Baisley: It is true!

Clark: Yeah! The RGA got involved, the RGA, the establishment Republicans, the national establishment got involved in our election here in Colorado, manipulated it, and lied — flat out lied against Tom Tancredo. Now, did Bob Beauprez know this was happening? I doubt it. In this article that Lynn wrote, she claims that — or Ryan [Call] claims that he had no idea it was going on. Frankly, I don’t buy that, because right before the election, Ryan Call was putting out propaganda from the Party that used all of Bob Beauprez’s lingo on how he described himself. So, I’m having trouble with the idea that Ryan Call just didn’t know this was going on. Sorry, but he’s the chairman of the state Party

Baisley: Okay, and I don’t know the answer to that. Chairman Call and I have not spoken on this topic. And so, I’ll reach out to him today. But, regardless, the RGA has done something that is just wrong. And they obviously know that it’s wrong, because they took such great pains to hide their actions. And we need to come against them very strongly. So, I’m calling for the Republican Party in Colorado to stand up to the national influences and say, “Look, you SOBs! This is our state! We’re Western culture. We think rather independently. Stay the hell out of our world, here!” And let’s even– let’s have a local investigation. Let’s have the state Party denounce that kind of involvement and let us just do what we do best, get out the vote for our nominee, and go beat the Democrats. But stay out of our world! And yeah, even if there’s an investigation that needs to be done to bring out what were the dominoes that led us to this point, that would be great, too. I’d be all for that. [BigMedia emphasis.]

Clark: Well, yeah, because I agree with you, Mark. And you know what? I am very, very pleased to hear you come out so forcefully and strongly, and stand up and actually make the call for an inviestigation into this matter. Mark, I think that is huge. That’s the kind of leadership we’re looking for. Now, there’s a mealy mouthed press release we got from Beauprez. It really didn’t go that far. And I understand he is the candidate, but at the same time, if he didn’t know that these guys were doing this– and you’re absolutely right, Mark, they were doing everything they could to hide those dollars.

Listen to Mark Baisley on KLZ FREEDOM560 7.29.14

Fallout from RGA/RAGA Scandal Will Seriously Harm Coffman Campaign

Hick and Coffman

Several top GOP donors are supportive of both Gov. John Hickenlooper and AG candidate Cynthia Coffman (and not just because of their fashion sense).

Earlier this week the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) was accused of funneling money through the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in order to fund television ads that were critical of GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo — ostensibly to boost the candidacy of Bob Beauprez in advance of the June Primary election. The story received national media coverage, from the Washington Post to the Newark Star-Ledger (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the current Chairman of the RGA and was recently in Colorado to raise money for the group), but one particular angle deserves another mention.

According to Republican sources close to the issue, the fallout from the RGA/RAGA scandal could prove disastrous for the campaign of GOP Attorney General nominee Cynthia Coffman. From what we hear, Coffman was counting heavily on massive financial support from RAGA in her bid to defeat Democrat Don Quick this fall, but the cross-pollination of RGA and RAGA finances has many Republican donors balking at writing checks to RAGA on Coffman's behalf.

It's no secret that RAGA and RGA work closely together, sharing expenses for trackers, polling, and other critical resources. Heck, they even share the same office building in Washington D.C. (1747 Pennsylvania Ave., with RGA in Suite 250 and RAGA in Suite 800). But in working together to influence the Republican Primary in Colorado, RAGA and RGA crossed a line that has angered a vitally-important group of GOP donors (vital for Coffman, anyway). As the campaign of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has always been quick to acknowledge, there are many wealthy and influential Colorado Republicans who support Hickenlooper's bid for re-election as Governor. Many of those same Republican donors also support Coffman — and had planned on writing big checks to RAGA for soft money support of Coffman's campaign. But because of the RGA's pre-primary shenanigans, those GOP donors are likely to refrain from making further donations to RAGA because they don't that money being used by the RGA — we're talking at least $100,000 in funding that will no longer be spent to help Coffman.

Coffman had been counting on RAGA to pick up the financial slack in her campaign, where she has lagged behind Quick and the Democrats. Prior to today (Aug. 1 is the deadline for the most recent fundraising period), Quick had about $232,000 in the bank compared to less than $70,000 cash-on-hand for Coffman; with relatively small contribution limits for Attorney General, Coffman was always going to have a hard time matching resources with Quick without the help of RAGA.

It appears clear that the RGA was working behind the scenes to influence the outcome of the GOP Gubernatorial Primary in June. But by involving RAGA in that effort, they may have inadvertently crippled the campaign of Cynthia Coffman for Attorney General.

Udall Calls for Resignation of CIA Director After Spying on Congress Revealed

Sen. Mark Udall.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo)

From the Huffington Post:

Following reports that Central Intelligence Agency employees improperly accessed computers used by U.S. Senate staff to investigate the agency, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Thursday called for the resignation of John Brennan as CIA director.

"After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan," Udall said in a statement. "The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. This grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers. These offenses, along with other errors in judgment by some at the CIA, demonstrate a tremendous failure of leadership, and there must be consequences."

According to a CIA Inspector General’s Office report first obtained by McClatchy, agency employees in 2009 hacked Senate computers being used to compile a report on the agency’s infamous detention and interrogation program — a move that some critics have characterized as a significant breach of the separation of powers. Brennan has apologized to Senate intelligence committee leaders, including Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who took the floor earlier this year to excoriate the agency for skirting the law and attempting to intimidate Congress.

As a member of the powerful Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Udall has been a leading national voice on both the CIA allegations and the more well-publicized NSA spying scandal. From a purely political perspective, Udall's outspoken beliefs on this issue line up well with the interests of Colorado voters, and should help him craft a strong narrative with the barrage of TV ads making their way to your living rooms.

2014 Colorado Legislative Conservation Scorecard

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Today we were proud to release the 2014 Colorado Legislative Conservation Scorecard. Overall, the 2014 legislative session was pretty good for the environment.  The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels was the first one up with a story this AM, headlining our recognition of Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita) for “reaching across the aisle.”  

Rep. Max Tyler (D-Lakewood) joined us on our press teleconference and spoke of his pride in working to help clean up uranium contaminated groundwater for residents in Canon City and move innovative water efficiency measures. One of which was inexplicably vetoed by the Governor. Although in the end the Governor did end the bill signing session with a bang for the environment. Rep. Tyler’s House Transportation and Energy Committee did yeoman’s work on conservation issues this past session as Senator Ulibarri’s Senate State and Veteran Affairs Committee.

The future looks bright on conservation with up and coming leaders like Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder) while we salute conservation champions Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), Randy Fischer (D- Fort Collins) and Claire Levy (D-Boulder).  Conservation Colorado will work hard to defend our conservation champions this fall and we expect to move a progressive agenda next session to protect Colorado’s air, land, water and people.

Our press release below:

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