AFP Has Money To Burn on Bogus Obamacare Ads

As the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports, two new Obamascare ads from big-ticket conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity are freshly running in Colorado–and the organization's highly dubious track record for accuracy appears little improved:

The words in the ad are chosen carefully. Health care costs had been on the rise for decades, which was the main motivation driving health care wonks on the right and left to design the policies that became the Affordable Care Act. In fact, costs have leveled off recently. FactCheck.org in February summarized the debate over why the costs are leveling and said it was just too early to tell how the Affordable Care Act will affect costs in the future…

AFP zeros in on Udall over the issue of policy cancellations.

“335,000 Coloradans received a cancellation notice,” says the narrator. “What did Mark Udall do? He tried to hide it. Udall pressured state officials to report fewer policy cancellations to make Obamacare look better.”

As our readers know, this is not even close to accurate–but it summarizes the Republican deception in the flap last winter over supposed policy "cancellations." The fact is, as we've discussed repeatedly, over 90% of those "cancellations" were in fact renewal notices. Udall's inquiry with the state sought to establish that, and the state's commissioner of insurance Marguerite Salazar said "the Senator’s efforts were useful" in getting the facts right. We now know that not only did these hundreds of thousands of policyholders remain insured, but the rate of uninsured in Colorado has plunged from 17% of the population to only 11%.

Like we said about Karl Rove's Obamascare ad a few days ago, these ads are too late. The dire predictions didn't materialize. The public can see that with their own eyes. Too many thousands of Coloradans have Obamacare success stories to tell now, not horror stories.

But as the Independent's Tomasic continues, that isn't even slowing down AFP:

The other anti-Obamacare ad released by AFP today targets three Democratic state senators from swing Jefferson County — Cheri Jahn, Andy Kerr and Jeanne Nicholson. Democrats enjoy a mere one-seat majority in the Senate and Republicans are gunning to flip the balance.

The ad says the lawmakers “made Obamacare worse” in Colorado by approving the establishment of the Connect for Health state insurance exchange marketplace.

This second AFP ad (above), targeting Colorado Democratic Sens. Cheri Jahn, Andy Kerr, and Jeanne Nicholson, is nothing short of ridiculous for anyone who knows the story of Colorado's bipartisan-created health insurance marketplace. By every objective measure, the Colorado health insurance marketplace has performed much better than either the federal exchange or the exchanges in most other states, not worse. Just today, a study from the Urban Institute says that the Colorado exchange is highly competitive and offers consumers low premiums. Although Colorado's exchange website had some startup issues, they were resolved far quicker than the federal exchange's infamous chronic breakdowns. It is demonstrably a false statement that Colorado's health insurance exchange "made Obamacare worse"–as Republican sponsors of the exchange like Rep. Amy Stephens are more than happy to tell you, our exchange made Obamacare better.

Bottom line: Americans for Prosperity has released so many false ads about Obamacare–and don't take our word for it, consult any fact-checker you trust–that it's clear at this point the truth is simply not a priority for this organization. That sounds like a typical campaign-season accusation, but it's true in this case beyond the usual back-and-forth. This is an organization spending literally millions of dollars to spread messages that are demonstrably, objectively not true. They are doing it because they know more people will see their ads than will see the fact-check stories disproving them.

In ways that should merit bipartisan outrage, this group sums up what's wrong with politics in America today.

Randy Baumgardner: Native Americans Liked their Water to be Burning

FireWater

Hooray!

The Western Conservative Summit in Colorado is an annual event hosted by Colorado Christian University in which conservative Republicans of varying degrees of partisan fame descend on Denver to say weird things about important issues. The Summit never fails in producing gems of ridiculousness, and the conversations and events that take place in Denver are so multi-layered that they often provide stories for the media and blogs long after the event has ended.

It is from July's Western Conservative Summit that we bring you, via Raw Story, this absurd discussion between State Sen. Randy "The Mustache" Baumgarder (who was an honest-to-goodness candidate for U.S. Senate for a time) and Republican activist (and likely the newest Representative from HD-15), Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt. Baumgardner was a guest on Dr. Chaps' "Pray in Jesus' Name" radio show, and this happened:

“I’ve been doing a lot of the fracking seminars,” said Baumgardner, “and if people haven’t been, then they really don’t understand it.”

“They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other,” Baumgardner went on, “but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the ‘burning waters.’ And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime.” [Pols emphasis]

“So a lot of people,” he said, “if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.”

Randy Baumgardner.

Randy Baumgardner and Mustache

Um, what?

We're not sure what this particular line of "thinking" has to do with fracking, but it is one of the dumbest things we've heard on the topic in quite some time. Sure, maybe the "Indians traveled…to the 'burning waters,'" but what the hell does that have to do with fracking? The fracking argument is primarily about the safety of DRILLING for oil and gas on lands that are surrounded by homes and schools, which has nothing to do with Native Americans and burning lakes and whatever else The Mustache is talking about.

What is most disturbing here is that we have an elected State Senator (and former State House member) who is wandering around Colorado talking about 'burning waters' and 'Indians.'

Why is Baumgardner doing "fracking seminars" when he obviously has no idea what he's talking about?

Or did we just answer our own question?

Hemp Producers

Someone posted a meme at Facebook recently that showed a Henry Ford car made entirely of hemp. I’ve known for a long time that our constitution was printed on paper made of hemp, but it never occurred to me that it was strong enough to manufacture things like cars. Since then I’ve seen all kinds of memes promoting the value of hemp, which is not legally grown in the U.S., but legally grown in every other first world country.  Just as Colorado is blazing a new trail by being one of the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana, it is also now legal to grow hemp in the state.

But nothing about growing hemp is easy. First it is illegal to import any of that hemp seed into the US, or to transport it across state lines. So hemp farmers such as Adam have to find seed suppliers within the state in order to grow their product.

I first met Adam at what looks like a farmer’s market booth, but is not on Main Street with the rest of the booths. Instead it is at a coffee shop popular with young, trendy adults. He was selling ice cream sandwiches, where the cookie’s ingredients included hemp. They are pretty tasty. Adam gets excited when he talks about the possibilities for hemp. “Imagine a landfill where everything, all the plastics, are biodegradable” he gushes, as his blue eyes sparkle.

I asked Adam what kinds of hassles he had with getting in on the ground floor of an industry that is as yet only quasi-legal, and he immediately mentions getting set up as an LLC, not the regulatory burdens that I expected. He is growing hemp on a 3 acre plot of land where he plans a three year crop rotation, with alfalfa growing on two acres and hemp growing on one. He has a license to plant one acre in hemp. The problem is that he really doesn’t have a market for anything but the seeds. The fiber, the stuff out of which Henry Ford made plastic for his car, has no market because there are no commercial processing facilities in the U.S. Adam can’t transport it across state lines without it being fabricated into something, and there are no local manufacturers needing his product. He’s experimenting with fodder and paper, but for now he’s a commercial seed grower hoping that lots of farmers will join him in growing the renewable and biodegradable products of the future.

He also proudly tells me that the labs that have tested his product have detected zero THC, the component in marijuana that is psychoactive. However, his plants have 3% CBD, which is the component in medical marijuana that has the most medicinal applications.

Certainly there needs to be a future for a product that can replace fossil fuel based plastics with hemp based plastics that are biodegradable and don’t involve chemicals any more toxic than fertilizers. I applaud risk takers like Adam and his partners. They are blazing a way for a greener future for all of us.

Now, if only we could get rid of the regulatory restrictions that Adam shrugs off.   

Homework:

Images of Henry Ford's Hemp Car

Canadian hemp trade

Colorado's Regulations

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About TCH

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About CBD

CACI Democratic Endorsements: What RMGO Cost The GOP

CACI.

CACI.

The Denver Business Journal reports on endorsements released today by the pro-business Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry–with a very few perennial exceptions like pro-business Sen. Cheri Jahn, this is an organization well known for supporting Republican candidates over Democrats in the vast majority of cases.

But as Ed Sealover reports, not this year in a couple of key Jefferson County races:

Often known as a Republican-leaning organization, CACI, for example, endorsed Republicans in three of the seven most competitive Senate races, endorsed Democrats in two of them and declined to endorse anyone in two others…

CACI endorsed incumbent Democratic Sens. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada and Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who sit in two of the six seats that Republicans feel they can win, and that they need to take control of a Senate that Democrats now hold by an 18-17 margin. Two is the minimum target because most observers believe the GOP will lose a Pueblo-area seat that they won in a recall election last year, but that sits in a heavily Democratic area.

…CACI members were closely divided in the Senate District 16 race, with many liking GOP challenger and former state Sen. Tim Neville, but just enough feeling they could work with Nicholson that Neville’s support fell below the two-thirds level needed for endorsement, [CACI vice president Loren] Furman said.

And in the Senate District 22 race, where Kerr has been known to clash with business groups, there just wasn’t support to endorse Tony Sanchez, a gun-rights supporter who beat more mainstream Republican Mario Nicolais in the primary, she said.

Like we said, Sen. Jahn winning CACI's endorsement isn't a big surprise, since she's one of the more centrist pro-business members of the Democratic majority in the Colorado Senate. But in three other vital Senate races with Democratic incumbents on the defensive–Rachel Zenzinger in SD-19, Jeanne Nicholson in SD-16, and Andy Kerr in SD-22–it certainly appears that the victory of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-endorsed Republican candidates directly affected CACI's decision to either endorse the Democrat, as with Sen. Zenzinger, or in Sens. Kerr and Nicholson's cases, at least remain neutral in the race. In the House, we see a similar flight to moderation in the endorsement of Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp over far-right movie theater owner Susan Kochevar in HD-29. Surely CACI has their key votes to gauge support for their agenda, but beyond that, as the decision to stay out of SD-22 shows especially, this is a tacit acknowledgement of the major disaster the primary defeats of more mainstream Republican challengers represents for the Colorado Republican Party.

Because frankly, if you're a Republican, it takes a lot to alienate these people.

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.

State Sen. King Charged with 3 Felonies & 2 Misdemeanors

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

THURSDAY POLS UPDATE: In a press release this morning, Colorado Ethics Watch calls on Republican Sen. Steve King to resign from the Colorado Senate.

Yesterday, Senator Steve King (R-Mesa County) was indicted on three felony and two misdemeanor charges related to alleged theft of public funds and falsification of records. Today, Colorado Ethics Watch calls on him to resign from the Colorado Senate.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's office filed a criminal complaint against Sen. King, alleging that he wrongfully took between $2000 and $5000 from the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Mesa University, both part-time employers of Senator King. The article also states that the District Attorney is investigating Senator King for other possible criminal violations.

Although Senator King is not seeking re-election, he remains the Chair of the powerful Legislative Audit Committee. The Committee is scheduled to meet twice more before Senator King's term ends. [Pols emphasis]

"The people of Mesa County deserve better than a Senator facing felony charges for embezzlement from public entities," said Luis Toro, Director of Ethics Watch. "Senator King should step down immediately and allow a replacement to serve the remainder of his term."

—-

Sen. Steve King (R).

Sen. Steve King (R).

Grand Junction seems to have really poor luck with elected officials

The complaint alleges King defrauded the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Mesa University of $2,000 to $5,000 between July 2013 and December. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Wednesday that no affidavit explaining the basis for the charges was filed.

Today, in a turn of events not altogether unforeseen by political observers, State Senator Steve King was charged with a series of crimes related to apparent irregularities in outside work that he did during his time in the legislature. 

As ColoradoPols initially reported earlier this month, King was being paid for three different government jobs simultaneously. King was fired from the Mesa County Sheriff's office early in the summer for allegedly falsifying timecards. As the extent of the questionable behavior became public, King withdrew his candidacy for Mesa County Sheriff. Now, DA George Brauchler has filed a series of charges which include felony counts of embezzlement of public property, forgery and theft. He also was charged with misdemeanor counts of forgery and official misconduct.

State Legislators: Today’s Foreclosure Scandal just the Tip of the Iceberg

LISTEN UP Colorado Legislators:  Today's Foreclosure Scandal News in the Denver Post: is the tip of the Iceberg.  I've been telling Democrats and anyone else who would listen about it for years.  Absorb this from the story:  "Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he was disturbed by what investigators uncovered, fostered largely by how the state's foreclosure system carried little oversight." 

Think about that sentence:  Our Republican AG is questioning the oversight of our laissez-faire foreclosure system!

 

Realize that Attorney Castle helped change the state foreclosure laws to his favor in 2006 and that there are homeowners throughout the state being unlawfully foreclosed upon with no documentation.  The banks are literally stealing homes from borrowers where they are not even the party of interest and have no skin in the game.  It is more difficult to repossess a car than a house in our state.

FIX THIS NOW!   

"Colorado is the only state in the country that allows an unsworn statement by an attorney for a foreclosing party — without any penalty — to say, 'Trust me, judge, these guys are the qualified holder for this deed of trust,' " Federal District Court Judge William Martinez said last year. "Is there another state that has lowered the bar for a foreclosure any lower?"

One former attorney who worked for Castle testified in 2012 when some foreclosure law changes failed to get to a state House vote, said he routinely signed foreclosure documents with limited but legal underlying documentation – at the direction of his boss.  He now works to defend homeowners in foreclosure cases.

It's time we quit listening to the Colorado Bankers Association," which is an accomplice in the foreclosure scam and pretends to represent banks in the state when in reality only 1% of assets represented by CBA are headquartered in Colorado (note Citigroup is a leading large-asset member of CBA who just cut a $7 Billion deal for a small part of their reported misdeeds in the mortgage securitization scam that should've been prosecuted under the RICO Act).  Ask why the "Colorado" Lobbyst Arm of the CBA has to bank at the JPMorgan Chase Branch in Baton Rouge.  (Pull up their actual filings on Tracer and click on View Filed Report at the bottom of this page).

Realize how the tables are being turned on MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, in some states that require all transactions of home ownership be recorded locally — not in an electronic database run by the banking industry who is complicit in the scam.  We should be able to go to our County Clerk and Recorders office to see who owns property, but MERS has undertaken a bloodless coup to hold half of the nations ownership records in the bank-owned system.  Colorado needs to require publicly recorded ownership documentation, just as Pennsylvania does.  Earlier this month a court ruled that MERS must stand trial to determine how much money it owes that state for avoiding recording fees and that should be a requirement here. Don't buy that garbage about how interest rates are lower because of MERS, and remember it when it becomes impossible to get a clear title to property down the road (Hint: Don't believe you'll be safe with title insurance either).

It's time to fix the system and demand we treat the largest asset most of us will ever have with respect before the banks turn us all into renters of "their" houses.  

FIX THIS NOW! Make it a Legislative Priority in 2015.  

– Dennis Obduskey, Co-Chair, Progressive Democrats of Colorado

 

Not Another UN Conspiracy Theory Whackadoo

agenda21

Here's a report from the Western Slope Watchdog from late last month that we didn't want to slip through unmentioned. From time to time, we've had to contend with some of the fringier Republican candidates for the Colorado legislature–and the occasional Congressman–who is convinced that the United Nations is right on the cusp of executing some kind of evil secret plan intended to strip away our American liberties. In 2010, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes made headlines–and punchlines–with his assertion that Denver's B-Cycle bike sharing program is part of a nefarious "United Nations program." J. Paul Brown, a former state representative defeated in 2012, said that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "negotiating a treaty with the United Nations to take away Americans’ guns, which would spur a civil war."

Well folks, another midterm election year is upon us, so get ready for a fresh round of U.N. conspiracy theories–it must work or they wouldn't use them. Meet Donald Suppes, the Republican nominee running in Senate District 5 for the seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Gail Schwartz:

Public lands issues, such as road closures, target shooting in Dominguez-Escalante canyons or federal water grabs targeting ski resorts and ranches, are another concern of the Republican candidate, who said he was “researching quite heavily” the Utah legislature’s resolution asking for their federal lands back.

“That’s going to be a battle that we’re going to have to fight,” Suppes said. “If they won’t back off, we will do this – we will take our lands back.”

Suppes said he saw the anti-fossil fuels movement and issues relating to control of public lands as part of the creeping influence of Agenda 21. He added that he saw evidence of United Nations influence when he visited Mexico. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s absolutely here,” he said. “The thing about Agenda 21 that the liberals didn’t expect is it gave the liberal playbook a name.”

Donald Suppes.

Donald Suppes.

​As we and other grownups have tried to explain in the past when this has come up, the United Nations' "Agenda 21 plan" consists of totally nonbinding recommendations on land use and economic planning. Like the U.N. Small Arms Treaty to regulate international arms trafficking, which conspiracy theorists imaginatively morphed into a "United Nations Gun Grab," these are recommendations meant mostly for the developing world–not for developed nations like the United States where solid land use policies (or in the case of guns, gun laws) already exist. In some countries, "Agenda 21" represents a first real attempt at any kind of land use planning.

In the minds of far-right Republicans and radio talk show hosts, however, "Agenda 21" has morphed into totalitarian plan to control more or less everything everyone in rural America does. It probably hasn't registered with Donald Suppes' target audience that the U.N. Small Arms Treaty has already been signed by the United States (it currently awaits ratification by a sufficient number of members), and gun confiscation in the neighborhoods of middle America has not followed suit. It's worth noting that the only nations to have voted against the U.N. Small Arms Treaty were Iran, North Korea, and Syria–what great company for the gun rights crowd to keep!

But that's the thing about conspiracy theories, isn't it? The next one is always the real one.

When Koch Front Groups Collide

Americans For Prosperity, the big-spending conservative "grassroots" group already criticized this year for misleading campaign ads in Colorado, is out with a new TV spot this week attacking three Democratic Colorado Senators up for re-election. From the group's press release yesterday:

Colorado’s largest grassroots free market group, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, today announced a major expansion of its efforts to hold politicians accountable for ObamaCare. That effort starts today, when the group will use cable television spots, a direct mail campaign and neighborhood walks to hold accountable three Jefferson County lawmakers: Sens. Andy Kerr, Cheri Jahn and Jeanne Nicholson for supporting ObamaCare in Colorado.

The cable spots, which will run July 7 through 28, call out “The Obamacare Three” for helping President Obama’s unpopular health law take hold in Colorado, through expansion of the federal Medicaid program and creation of a state health exchange that’s already fraught with problems. The ads encourage their constituents to call their senator and tell them to stop supporting the failed policy…

What's interesting about this ad is that it goes all the way back to Senate Bill 11-200–the bipartisan legislation that originally created the Connect For Health Colorado insurance marketplace. SB11-200, as our readers know well, became known as the "Amycare" bill after its principal Republican sponsor in the Colorado House, Rep. Amy Stephens. Other Republican sponsors of SB11-200 included Reps. Tom Massey and Ken Summers. On final passage in the Colorado House, Republican "yes" votes on Senate Bill 11-200 included then-House Speaker Frank McNulty, Larry Liston, Cheri Gerou, Carole Murray, Kevin Priola, Robert Ramirez, among others.

So there's that, and for a lot of viewers, omitting the major Republican role in passing SB11-200 is enough to flatten AFP's credibility–assuming, of course, they ever hear the rest of the story. But here's perhaps an even more interesting twist for political junkies: AFP receives a large portion of its funding from influential conservative donors Charles and David Koch, known together as the "Koch brothers." One of the biggest conservative-leaning proponents of Colorado's health insurance exchange legislation, a big reason why there was bipartisan support for the exchange to begin with, is the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB supported the Colorado exchange because the exchanges were, at one time, anyway, considered a "free market" way of expanding access to health care:

NFIB supported the concept of exchanges long before Barak [sic--Pols] Obama was elected President. The exchange concept was not unique to the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.

Do you think NFIB should tell that to AFP? Especially since they've both taken millions of dollars from the Koch brothers?

In all likelihood, the Koch brothers couldn't care less if these two organizations they fund are working at cross purposes. But the NFIB's support for the very thing that AFP is attacking these Democrats for, with no mention of the many Republicans who helped pass it, underscores what an illegitimate pile of crap this whole attack from AFP is. This one group, Americans For Prosperity, has accounted for a disproportionate share of the "Obamascare" mendacity we've seen on the air this year in Colorado–and so far, blistering fact-checks from the media haven't fazed them.

For anyone who knows the facts that AFP twists, it's outrageous. But how many will find out before the election?

Woods: Become a fake Republican and vote in GOP primary!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

The day before the Republican primary, in which Republican Laura Woods triumphed over Lang Sias for the right to take on Democratic State Senator Rachel Zenzinger, Woods made the following comment on the KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado:

WOODS: “…tomorrow, if you’re an unaffiliated voter, and you don’t want more of the same, go down to the polling place, change to a Republican for a day or two, fill out a ballot, and then after the primary, if you don’t want to stay a Republican, you don’t have to stay. You can unaffiliate again. But you can be a part of the change right now by electing somebody who is going to stand up for the Constitution.”

Listen to Woods suggest unaffiliated voters briefly switch parties to help her win GOP primary 6-23-14

There's nothing illegal about Woods' suggestion, but the folks down at KLZ, including host Kristina Cook, are all about "principles."

How principled is it to try to win a Republican primary with the votes of fake Republicans? It doesn't appear that Woods' suggestion made any difference in the election, but if I were running the show at Grassroots Radio Colorado, I would have asked Woods about her idea that unaffiliated voters should join the GOP for "a day or two."

Or maybe Jon Caldara will invite her on his KHOW show and compare notes. In any case, it's done now.

Democrats Continue to Outraise Republicans in State Senate Races

With the Primary Election behind us, focus can now turn fully to the key General Election matchups that will determine control of the State Legislature. According to a press release from the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund (DSCF), Democratic candidates in key State Senate races are significantly outperforming Republican counterparts in fundraising.

You can read the full press release after the jump, but take a look at the comparisons of some top races below:

SD 5
Kerry Donovan (D)
DEM COH: $45,840.31
Dem Total Raised: $59,473.00
Don Suppes (R)
R COH: $20,760.92
R Total Raised: $32620.63
Edward Mulcahy (Libertarian)
Lib COH: $1,430.95
Lib Total Raised: $1,475.00

SD 16
Jeanne Nicholson (D)
DEM COH: $62,653.88
Dem Total Raised: $103,445.10
Tim Neville (R)
R COH: $64,106.04
R Total Raised: $74,457.70

SD 19
Rachel Zenzinger (D)
DEM COH: $56,615.35
Dem Total Raised: $69,573.65
Laura Woods (R)
R COH: $2,596.67
R Total Raised: $45,644.00
Gregg Miller (Libertarian)
Lib COH: $0
Lib Total Raised: $0

SD 22
Andy Kerr (D)
DEM COH: $56,342.53
Dem Total Raised: $91,895.31
Tony Sanchez (R)
R COH: $15,122.16
R Total Raised: $39,651.52

 

These fundraising totals are certainly not all-encompassing in terms of the amount of money that will ultimately be spent by third party groups, but they nevertheless give a good indication of how successful candidates have been at appealing to supporters.

(more…)

Where does your state legislator stand on women’s issues?

 Women's Lobby of Colorado Legislative Scorecard.  See how your legislators are rated.

It's a ten page document, and posting pdfs is a pain, so you can look it up yourself. But you may find some surprises.

My SD3 candidate, and current HD46 rep, Leroy Garcia, has 100%.

My Senator, George Rivera, has 64%, which was higher than I thought he would have.

My current HD47 rep, Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, is rated 36%. I guess that's what happens when one's market brand is being "business friendly".

By the way, "women's issues" are not just reproductive rights issues – economy, healthcare, education, and opportunity are also women's issues. Sorry, Laura Carno, larger magazine size on full auto guns didn't make the list.

 

 

BREAKING: Judge Tosses Lawsuit Against Colorado Gun Laws


Gov. John Hickenlooper signs gun safety legislation, March 20, 2013.
Photo via AP's Ivan Moreno

UPDATE #3: From Gov. John Hickenlooper via AP/9NEWS:

The judge today offered a thorough and reasoned opinion and recognized that the state's new gun laws do not unduly burden anyone's Second Amendment rights. We appreciate the good work that the Attorney General's team did to represent the state and defend the law.

USA TODAY's Michael Winter recaps background our readers know well:

The state's Democratic-majority legislature passed the measures last year in reaction to the 2012 mass killings at a Denver-area movie theater and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In a backlash by voters, two Democratic senators subsequently were recalled and a third resigned.

In her 50-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger wrote "evidence shows that large-capacity magazines are frequently used in gun violence and mass shootings, and that often a shooter will shoot continuously until a weapon jams or the shooter runs out of ammunition."

"Most experts agree that the size of a magazine correlates to the number of rounds that are fired in both an offensive and defensive capacity," she added.

But the plaintiffs — gun owners, advocates, manufacturers and sheriffs — had presented no evidence that someone's ability "to defend him or herself is seriously diminished if magazines are limited," Krieger declared. [Pols emphasis]

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UPDATE #2: Read Chief Judge Marcia Krieger's decision in its entirety here.

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Dudley Brown’s Temporary Triumph: RMGO’s Last Hurrah?

Dudley Brown of RMGO.

Dudley Brown of RMGO.

AP's Ivan Moreno reports this morning in the wake of huge legislative GOP primary victories for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners in bellwether Jefferson County, over comparatively moderate Republican challengers–victories that have nonetheless worsened Republican odds of retaking the Colorado Senate this November:

In Senate District 22, which covers Lakewood, Tony Sanchez defeated Mario Nicolais, a party attorney who helped draw maps during state redistricting in 2011.

In Senate District 19, which includes Arvada, Laura Woods defeated Lang Sias, a veteran of both Gulf Wars. Woods was involved in two recall petition efforts against former District 19 Sen. Evie Hudak.

Both districts are considered toss-ups, and political analysts saw the defeated Nicolais and Sias as more established candidates who could have attracted independent voters in November. Nicolais advocated passage of civil unions for gay couples last year, and Sias narrowly lost to Hudak in 2012.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols lays it out more plainly:

Senate Democrats might also be excited about Tuesday’s result, in large part because they believe both Sanchez and Woods are too conservative for the districts they are seeking to represent. If Democrats are able to defeat both candidates, it will go a long way in helping them hold onto their one-seat majority this November.

Some Republican analysts feel the same way.

“These are very competitive districts in a very competitive county,” former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams said. “And if the wrong candidates win these primaries, they cannot win these competitive districts. Lang Sias can win. Mario Nicolais can win. Their opponents (Woods and Sanchez) cannot.” [Pols emphasis]

With victories in these two key battleground primaries now in hand, Dudley Brown's Rocky Mountain Gun Owners now moves to the next stage–as Brown put it, "hunting Democrats" in the general elections. But that is quite likely to prove a bridge too far for RMGO, who has had great success getting their favored candidates elected largely by winning GOP primaries in safe Republican seats. In a general election in a competitive district, what operates in RMGO's favor in a safe-seat primary becomes a liability. Both RMGO endorsed candidates who won last night in Jefferson County, Laura Waters Woods and Tony Sanchez, and distantly out of the mainstream of a wide variety of issues that have nothing to do with guns.

While no one should write off these races by any stretch of the imagination in what remains a challenging year, Democrats were cut a tremendous break last night when the more electable Republicans lost these two primaries. RMGO, whose energies Republicans have been glad to channel when it suits their purposes, may be about to discover the hard limit of their power.

In a way that's going to leave a mark.

Dudley Brown Slimes Up SD-19 GOP Primary Real Good

Lang Sias, Tea Party endorsed no longer.

Lang Sias, “Tea Party endorsed” no longer.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on another nasty turn the Senate District 19 Republican primary between establishment pick Lang Sias and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners endorsed Laura Waters Woods, to a common tactic employed the nefarious Dudley Brown.

Send in the gays!

In its final get out the vote effort ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primaries, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and other conservative activists backing Laura Woods in state senate district 19 are calling voters to warn them that Woods’ opponent, Lang Sias, is receiving help from a “liberal millionaire homosexual.”

The attack line has been going around for a few weeks, first as part of a direct mail piece from a group called the National Family Coalition (registered to an RMGO ally based in Virginia) that depicted Sias as a monkey alongside text stating that his campaign “is funded by millionaire homosexual activist Tim Gill through Colorado Concern.”

Gill, the software executive whose personal resources helped turn Colorado from red to blue and who’s led the push for LGBT equality through his Gill Foundation, is a board member of Colorado Concern, an organization of more than 100 area CEOs.

While Sias has not received personal financial contributions from Gill, it’s true that Colorado Concern has spent around $50,000 through an independent expenditure committee to help Sias stave off the primary challenge from Woods, believing that the race is critical to Republicans’ chances of winning a senate majority in November.

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

​The idea that Tim Gill, one of the architects of the Democratic takeover of this state a decade ago, would want to help out a Republican candidate in a tight election year is highly improbable to stay the least. That said, board memberships are what they are. Semantically, this is something Lang Sais' opponents can formulate into a complete sentence that's technically accurate under a certain strained interpretation. This isn't the first time that RMGO or one of Dudley Brown's related family of "pro-gun" organizations has gone after fellow Republicans by tying them to the dreaded gays in a primary, as ex-Sen. Jean White can tell you.

If you find this attack repugnant or meaningless, that's because it's not aimed at you. It's aimed at voters who don't like gay people. Now, there may be a plausible correlation one can make between voters who don't like gay people and Republican primary voters, and that might be honestly frustrating to Republican strategists, who seem convinced that the third time's a charm in 2014 for two-time election loser Lang Sias.

But whether we're talking about Dudley Brown, or bigotry against gays in the Republican rank and file, there is only so much sympathy the Republican establishment can be afforded. These one-time assets have too recently swung full circle to bite them. And all other considerations aside, the only reason SD-19 is up for election this year at all is the recall attempt against Evie Hudak mounted by Laura Woods and the RMGO.

So, as they say, dance with the one who brought you.