Cynthia Coffman plans anti-corruption unit

This is an interesting idea coming form Cynthia Coffman.  She hasn't been seen in the AG's Office in months, but she is still receiving a salary and getting benefits.  Will she investigate herself?

Fact Check: Gardner opposes Dream Act and blocked immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Rep. Cory Gardner continues to misrepresent his record on immigration, and reporters have failed to call him out on it.

During an Oct. 6 debate, Gardner was asked if he'd vote for the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Instead of answering the question, Gardner used the dodge tactic of stating his opinion on what will happen to the DREAM Act.

"Ultimately, I think the Dream Act will be part of the solution of immigration reform," Gardner said. "It has to be. Look, I believe in immigration reform."

If Gardner had answered the question, instead of predicting the future, he'd have said that he's long opposed the Dream Act.

Gardner: "I think if you pass the DREAM Act today, you’re still not fixing the problem,’ Gardner told the Boulder Daily Camera last year. "I want to create a fair system so people who want to be here legally can be here legally.”

Last year, Gardner even opposed a proposed state law, so-called ASSET, to grant in-state tuition for young immigrants in Colorado.

Gardner: "But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country," Gardner told KNUS' Steve Kelly last year." And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security."

On this very day, as I type this blog post, Gardner's website states that the Congressman opposes "giving those people [who are here illegally] benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration."

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Joe Neguse Sets Fundraising Record for SOS Candidates

Joe Neguse

Joe Neguse, Democrat for Secretary of State

According to a press release sent out yesterday by the campaign of Democrat Joe Neguse:

Today Joe Neguse for Secretary of State announced raising $461,380 in contributions. Neguse surpassed the total amount raised by any candidate running for Secretary of State in the history of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Mike Coffman previously held the record with $446,660 total raised in his 2006 run for the office. Neguse has already bougth $280,000 in TV ads. Neguse's Republican opponent, on the other hand, appears to have raised the least amount  of any candidate (Republican or Democrat) running for statewide office in Colorado.

Republican Wayne Williams has raised a total of $225,522, which isn't even half of the total raised by Neguse. We're actually kind of surprised Williams has even raised that much given his numerous problems with fundraising.

Neguse has run a very strong campaign for Secretary of State, which gives him the best odds in our view of the three Democrats running for down ballot statewide races (Attorney General, Treasurer, SOS). As we've said many times in the past, it is tough for any candidates running for these seats to really make a mark in an election year where tens of millions of dollars are being spent on three races alone (Governor, U.S. Senate, CO-6), particularly given the fact that Colorado voters tend to split their votes for these second-tier seats. But the combination of Neguse's strong campaign and Williams' general ineptitude — not to mention a poisonous four years from current SOS Scott Gessler – may just put Neguse over the top in November.

 

What is Amendment 68?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
- What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
- What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?
 


Amendment 68 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Horsetrack Limited Gaming Proceeds for K-12 Education
ALSO KNOWN AS: That Gambling/ School Funding Thing

 

Official Ballot Language for Amendment 68:
"Shall state taxes be increased $114,500,000 annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter, by imposing a new tax on authorized horse racetracks' adjusted gross proceeds from limited gaming to increase statewide funding for K-12 education, and, in connection therewith, amending the Colorado Constitution to permit limited gaming in addition to pre-existing pari-mutuel wagering at one qualified horse racetrack in each of the counties of Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo; authorizing host communities to impose impact fees on horse racetracks authorized to conduct limited gaming; allowing all resulting revenue to be collected and spent notwithstanding any limitations provided by law; and allocating the resulting tax revenues to a fund to be distributed to school districts and the charter school institute for K-12 education?"


…In Other Words:
Should we build a casino at a horse track in just one county in Colorado, and somehow use the tax revenue to give money to schools across the state? And by the way, can we also allow gambling in Mesa and Pueblo counties? It’s for the schools, or something!

Amendment 68 is difficult to fully understand, probably by design. It sounds alright at first glance – tax gambling to raise money for schools – but critics say it contains more holes than the Colorado Rockies’ lineup (for example, who pays for infrastructure and safety costs that would follow construction of a giant casino in Arapahoe County?). Similar broadly written measures have been handily defeated by Colorado voters in the past, including Amendment 33 in 2003, and opposition to Amendment 68 has come from both sides of the political aisle.

It’s important to note that Amendment 68, if passed, would override current laws that give local voters the ultimate say on whether or not to allow casinos in their communities. Some revenue would likely be generated for public and charter schools, but it is unclear how much money, or how it would be distributed.


Who Supports Amendment 68?
People who want to see more casinos and gambling in Colorado but aren’t really concerned about the rest of the details. Colorado Horse Associations (whatever that means). Also, some dude who runs a casino in Rhode Island.


Who Opposes Amendment 68?
Most 2014 candidates are opposed, as is a diverse collection of groups such as the Colorado Municipal League, the Homebuilders’ Association and the Colorado PTA. 
 

The Horse Race* (Will Amendment 68 Pass or Fail?)
There’s a saying about ballot measures that goes something like this: If you don’t know, vote No. Public opposition seems to be growing for Amendment 68, and we’d guess low-information voters will follow suit by voting against an unclear measure (even if it says it will provide money for education).

*No pun intended, we swear.


Links
No on 68 campaign site

Yes on 68 campaign site
 

Gary Hart Slams Post’s Idiotic Gardner Endorsement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Still having great respect for former Senator Gary Hart, and having zero respect for the Denver Post's Editorial Board (that is somehow considered "left-leaning", paging Dan Haley) and their inane endorsement of Cory Gardner over sitting Senator Udall, it was good to see the highly intelligent and respectable former senator make his views known about the Post's public puke.

The Post wouldn't print it, nor any of the other condemnations of their judgment, so I'm posting Gary Hart's response to that Post endorsement

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Breaking Down The Vote For The Environment

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 

(From our Executive Director, Pete Maysmith) 

 

 

Why Do Politics?

    

Fifteen year ago Colorado Conservation Voters (CCV) started running smart, targeted electoral campaigns to elect pro-conservation candidates to Colorado’s legislature. The reason? Who we elect matters. Fast forward to present day and that fact forms the core of Conservation Colorado’s political work.

 

Really, it’s simple: the job of protecting our state’s clean air, water, and public lands gets a lot harder when we don’t have conservation champions voting to protect our environment under the Capitol’s gold dome.

 

Ask almost anyone and they’ll say that they don’t like politics and that they don’t trust politicians; given the deadlock in Washington DC, that’s an understandable position. But that’s not how we do things in Colorado’s state legislature. In just the last two years we have succeeded in passing legislation to increase Colorado’s renewable energy standard, place higher fines on oil and gas companies when they violate the law, create a paint recycling program, and promote innovative water conservation efforts. Without our state conservation champions, none of that would have been accomplished. 

 

That’s why we support pro-environment candidates. We endorse them and then work like crazy to make sure they win. We educate and turn out voters. When we do that, the environment wins.

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Romanoff Releases Internal Poll Showing Race as Dead Heat

As we wrote in this space over the weekend, rumors that national Democrats were pulling up stakes in CD-6 and abandoning Andrew Romanoff were, well, not so accurate. Reporter Jon Murray tried to clear up some of the rumor mess in a story for the Denver Post, as did The Colorado Independent. Here's the key part of Murray's story:

Here’s more about what happened: The DCCC in May reserved $1.4 million in ad time for late October/early November. But since Colorado’s voters overwhelmingly vote by mail, and ballots go out to them next week, the DCCC also sunk $1.8 million in the past couple weeks on two ads attacking Coffman.

Now, the group is moving the original $1.4 million committed to ad reservations in the Coffman/Romanoff race to rescue Democratic incumbents elsewhere.

Today, Romanoff's campaign took the extra step of releasing internal poll numbers to Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols. As Stokols reports, the race between Romanoff and incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is pretty much where everyone thought it was:

Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff released an internal poll Tuesday showing him trailing Congressman Mike Coffman by just a point, an effort to dispel the notion that the race is trending toward Coffman.

Coffman leads Romanoff by a margin of 44-43 percent in the survey by Chris Keating, a Colorado-based pollster who typically works for Democratic candidates and whose surveys are regarded to be fairly accurate.

In the poll, 13 percent of voters remain undecided.

As for the response from Coffman's campaign? You could probably guess they'd say this: Coffman spokesperson Tyler Sandeberg called the Romanoff poll "garbage." Of course, Coffman's campaign could just as easily have produced their own poll results showing something different, but they probably aren't seeing much difference in their own numbers. The bigger question — whether any polling numbers are relevant anymore — will continue to be discussed long after November 4th. But as far as CD-6 in concerned, we'll repeat our earlier line that this race remains a true toss-up.

 

Walker Stapleton is Like Santa Claus, Minus the Presents and the Beard

Perhaps this is how Walker Stapleton gets into his office.

Perhaps this is how Walker Stapleton gets into his office.

Democrat Betsy Markey is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for State Treasurer, a task that is particularly difficult in a year where three marquee races (Governor, U.S. Senate, and CD-6) are gobbling up air time on every television in the state. When it is difficult to capture the public's attention in the midst of so many television ads, it becomes especially important to make sure that your ads hit home; Markey's first TV ad does that and more, with a pretty problematic charge against Stapleton.

In short, Stapleton comes off looking very much a part-time Treasurer when an open records request reveals something that looks bad no matter how you spin it. So how does Stapleton's campaign respond to charges that he is rarely in his office the building? As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, not very well:

“At best, it’s inexcusable. At worst, it’s a scandal,” the spot says. “According to official key card records, Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around 10 days a month.”

Stapleton’s campaign spokesman, Michael Fortney, said when the treasurer forgets his key card, which is often, he goes through the public entrance where attendance records are not kept. [Pols emphasis]

“This is silly. Betsy knows there is more than one way to get into the Capitol. The fact is she has zero understanding of the treasurer’s office and public finance so she has to rely on this garbage,” Fortney said.

One of the most straightforward methods for examining a state employee's work habits is to take a look at how often their key card is used to access the building and, thus, gain entrance into their office. Stapleton's spokesperson would have you believe that Stapleton often forgets his key card and enters the building through a public entrance…which would be perfectly understandable if not for the fact that all building entrances have a key card scanner and a keypad. Perhaps Stapleton also sprinkles magic dust over himself and enters his office through the chimney.

Here's the ad:

The full script for the ad, titled "Missing," is available after the jump.

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What is Amendment 67?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
- What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
- What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?
 


Amendment 67 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Definition of Person and Child
ALSO KNOWN AS: Personhood Measure

 

Official Ballot Language for Amendment 67:
"Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining "person" and "child" in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?"


…In Other Words:
Amendment 67 would re-define the definition of “life” to give a fertilized egg the same “rights” as an actual human being. The point here is to ban all abortions – including for victims of rape and incest – and to allow women to drive alone in carpool lanes (we’re kidding, but this is among many weird legal loopholes that could emerge if the Personhood measure passes).

This is the Personhood ballot measure that has received significant media coverage throughout the 2014 Election Cycle. Similar measures were on the ballot in Colorado in 2010 and 2008, losing each time by a massive margin.


Who Supports Amendment 67?
People who believe that abortion should be outlawed in all forms, without exception. People who don’t see a problem with putting “manslaughter” on par with “miscarriage” in the eyes of the law. Statistically-speaking…people you probably don’t know.


Who Opposes Amendment 67?
Put it this way: If you are not already a Personhood supporter yourself, then it’s a fair bet that everyone you know also opposes this idea. This isn’t one of those issues where someone says, “I can see the argument on both sides.” Even the most strident “pro-life” conservative politicians don’t want anything to do with Personhood.
 

The Horse Race (Will Amendment 67 Pass or Fail?)
It would be one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 Election Cycle if Personhood passes in Colorado—particularly given the fact that it was absolutely crushed at the ballot in both 2008 (73% opposed) and 2010 (70% opposed). Personhood wasn’t on the ballot in 2012, but it’s a safe bet that 2014 will mark its third loss in as many tries.


Links
No on 67 campaign site

Yes on 67 campaign site
 

New Ad: Beauprez held accountable for ‘Mexican Time’ and other insulting comments

(Translation after the jump - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As ballots are being mailed throughout Colorado, Making Colorado Great released a new TV ad to hold Republican candidate Bob Beauprez accountable to Hispanic voters, highlighting his past insults and comments on immigration.

“It is important for Coloradans to know about Bob Beauprez's divisive insults and radical record against the Hispanic community,” stated Michael Huttner, spokesman for Making Colorado Great.  “This ad will raise awareness of Beauprez’s anti-Hispanic remarks and anti reform agenda.”

The script for the ad is below and can be viewed here:

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Big Line Updated

We've updated The Big Line 2014, so head on over and take a look.

From where we're sitting, things don't look a whole lot different than they did when we last updated the Big Line. The Senate race is still close, though we maintain that Sen. Mark Udall will ultimately prevail over Congressman Cory Gardner as Democrats outperform Republicans in the ground game and the antics of the right-wing Jefferson County School Board convince more voters to oppose Republicans in general.

As for the other two marquee races in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper seems to be steadily pulling further ahead from Republican Bob Beauprez, and the battle in CD-6 between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff is a true toss-up at this stage.

What say you, Polsters? Let us know in the comments below.

Rural Endorsement: Mark Udall For US Senate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ten years ago we went to the ballot box and passed the first-ever citizens-initiated renewable portfolio standard in the nation, Amendment 37.  Under the leadership of its bi-partisan co-chairs Mark Udall and Lola Spradley, the initiative put a solid foundation under what would emerge as Colorado's 'New Energy Economy'.  Today, Colorado enjoys the second-highest RPS in the nation, a 30% goal by 2020 (which will be met early).  Today, an estimated 4,000 Coloradans are employed our wind sector – almost 200 times more than the promised 22 permanent jobs that would be created by the Keystone pipeline – with nearly six billion dollars invested in wind projects across rural Colorado.

The net effects of those investments touch the lives of both rural and urban Coloradans each and every day: rural areas enjoy the bounty of the increased tax base, offering the opportunity to both lower local property taxes overall, and to provide new revenue streams for local economic development.  Urban consumers benefit from ever-decreasing costs of wholesale power to their investor-owned utility.  Rural counties are re-energized with the wind farm developments.

As an early supporter of the national agricultural alliance, "25x'25", Udall was instrumental in adding a 25% national renewable goal in to The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  In the headwinds of conservative opposition to clean energy (including Congressman Gardner on ideological principles), Udall now champions a national renewable standard, "25x'25", which would create an estimated 300,000 new jobs, mostly in rural America,  provide $13.5 billion to farmers, ranchers and other landowners in the form of lease payments and add $11.5 billion in new local tax revenues.

It's important to understand the merits of good public policy, and Mark Udall is at the tip of that spear.  Wind energy is the cheapest form of renewable energy today; in the case of the expanding Cedar Point wind farm near Limon, the Vestas turbines stand tall; "Made in Colorado" turbines, planted on the Colorado Prairie, creating rural jobs while simultaneously generating Xcel Energy's cheapest power.  Being an early adopter of clean energy coupled with our successes in the Ritter Administration's  "New Energy Economy",  Colorado is well-poised to meet the proposed EPA emission standards with ease.

It's a Win(d)-Win(d)-Win(d) situation.

So when our state newspaper of record asks, "What has Mark Udall done for us lately?", it's as simple as looking at your utility bill – or the revenue statements from your county treasurer.   It would be hard to find a single, political initiative that has touched the daily lives of more Coloradans in a more positive way.

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Let’s Just Let Faye Griffin Choose All of Our Elected Officials

The Jeffco Shuffle: Government by Vacancy Committee

The Jeffco Shuffle: Government by Vacancy Committee

Jefferson County voters may be familiar with the name Faye Griffin, in large part because her name has been on a Jeffco ballot since the dawn of time. The 75-year-old Griffin is both allergic to the concept of "term limits" and more than willing to let the rest of the GOP county government trade on her name ID in order to retain any elected position for as long as possible.

As we first noted last November ("Finish Your Damn Job, Faye Griffin"), Griffin is a serial office jumper. Currently in the middle of her second term as Jefferson County Commissioner, Griffin is running (again) for County Clerk & Recorder; if she is successful in November, she will have held 4 separate elected positions in one 8-year span, and failed to finish her elected term for the second time in five years. More importantly for Republicans, Griffin's constant movement should allow two other term-limited Republicans a chance at holding a new office without having to go through an actual election – a pretty sneaky way to get around those pesky "voters" in Jeffco.

If Griffin is elected Clerk & Recorder (which is likely because of her high name ID that plays a major role in a countywide vote), that will create an immediate opening for a spot on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners. The term-limited Treasurer Tim Kauffman would then likely be appointed by a Republican vacancy committee…which would leave Kauffman's Treasurer seat open for another GOP vacancy committee selection (likely to be the term-limited County Assessor Jim Everson).

And thus, with the election of Faye Griffin, Jeffco Republicans can avoid open-seat election battles for two other county jobs. Furthermore, Griffin has indicated that she may retire soon, which would open a vacancy for Clerk & Recorder that would be filled via…a Republican vacancy committee!

You can see Griffin's many moves over the years in the list below (after the jump). This is frequent occurrence in Jefferson County — Kauffman himself was appointed Treasurer when Griffin left that office to run for County Commissioner in 2008. But as Republican control over countywide elections continues to fade in Jeffco, the powers behind the curtain are doing everything they can to hold on to any office at the "Taj Mahal."

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Chuck Plunkett Defends Hack Masquerading As “Journalist”

Denver Post Political Editor Chuck Plunkett.

Denver Post Political Editor Chuck Plunkett.

A very strange story written by Denver Post political editor Chuck Plunkett last Friday could result in even more credibility damage to the state's biggest newspaper. As our readers will recall, a freelance local reporter named Art Kane had a contract to write stories about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Colorado for the Denver Post earlier this year. As we covered in detail, those stories were replete with factual errors, necessitating repeated corrections by the Denver Post. Kane's grant from Kaiser Health News was not renewed, and he subsequently went to work for a conservative "news" site called Watchdog.org–writing much more straightforward political hit pieces for an outlet not concerned with things like accuracy.

And that's where, as Plunkett picks up the story Friday, things get stupid:

Arthur Kane, an award-winning journalist, posted a first-person account Friday of an encounter with the Hickenlooper campaign in which he says he was threatened with arrest.

Kane is a former Denver Post reporter and former Channel 7 investigative executive producer whose new gig is with the libertarian-leaning Watchdog.org.

Full stop. "Libertarian-leaning?" This is something we've noticed with Plunkett: the words "libertarian" or "liberty movement" are frequent code words for conservative political groups he likes–as opposed to the much more appropriate descriptor "Republican-leaning," which would be accurate even if it turns off half his readers. But that's not the worst part: as we suspect Plunkett knows very well, Watchdog.org can be traced directly back to allies of Gov. John Hickenlooper's Republican opponent Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

Watchdog.org is operated by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a conservative nonprofit group. The Denver Post reported in their own profile of Beauprez that he was paid over $100,000 by a group called the John Hancock Commttee for the States since 2009 to advocate for the Tea Party and conservative causes. Therein lies the connection: The John Hancock Committee for the States and the Franklin Center were both launched in 2009 by another conservative group called the Sam Adams Alliance, which supplied millions of dollars in funding for each group. The organizations have many individuals in common, including board members and employees.

In short, a "media outlet," created by the same organization that also started and funded the group that paid Bob Beauprez to advocate for them, is now attacking Beauprez's opponent in the gubernatorial race. And the political editor of the Denver Post is openly running cover for their actions, omitting crucial details about the clear connections between these groups.

Kane told me that after seeing the governor at the public event Friday he stopped by the campaign’s headquarters and talked to spokesman Eddie Stern.

Ultimately, Kane reports, Stern asked him to leave, and when he did not, Stern began calling the police. At that point, Kane, who recorded the encounter, left.

“It’s just a ridiculous way to handle the press,” Kane told me Friday.

The answer, if you know all the details that Plunkett omitted, is simple: Art Kane is not "the press." Kane is a paid political operative on the same level as a campaign tracker, working in the service of Hickenlooper's opponents. We have no idea why Plunkett would try to blow up this story into a "journalism" issue, but it's just silly: Hickenlooper's campaign office is located on private property. If employees in that office ask for someone to leave said private property and that person refuses, as Plunkett describes having happened here, the appropriate thing to do is call the police. We would say call the police even if it's a reporter–and definitely if it's just a discredited hack working for a right-wing blog.

By putting his credibility on the line in defense of Art Kane, Plunkett debased the real journalism his newspaper is responsible for providing their readers. This may not be the first such incident for Plunkett, but it's one of the most egregious. And as we've said before, the people of Colorado deserve better from our newspaper of record.

Gardner knew about birth-control ban, says pro-personhood group

(Gardner's amazingly selective ignorance - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Colorado Senatorial Candidate Cory Gardner withdrew his support from state personhood amendments because, he told The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels, he didn't understand that the measures would ban birth control.

Everyone rolled their eyes and moved on, as if to say,"It's obvious he's gunning for female votes statewide, so who cares if he might be lying."

To their credit, reporters cited Gardner's legislation that would have banned some forms of birth control, but, given Gardner's in-bedness with personhood supporters throughout his political career, you'd think we'd have seen more about what Gardner really knew and when he knew it.

Now, with ballots arriving in your mailbox (Yeah!)  this week, comes a blog post from Colorado Right to Life, which was a major backer of personhood efforts in Colorado, stating, yes, Gardner knew all along about the birth control ban.

Colorado Right to Life: As you probably heard, Cory Gardner announced publicly that he no longer supports Personhood. He apologized for ever supporting it. He said he was well-meaning, but it was a mistake.

Of course the reason he gave for not supporting Personhood — that it would ban "contraceptives" — is completely false, and is a propaganda claim of NARAL and Planned Parenthood that is often repeated by the media.

Cory Gardner has attended briefings on Personhood by CRTL where this was discussed — Cory should KNOW better! But since he knew it was a false statement and he made it anyway, we can only conclude he has made a cynical choice to give up on principles so he would be more attractive to moderate voters.

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