Ted Harvey Still Raising “ScamPAC” Dollars

Former Republican State Sen. Ted Harvey

Former Republican State Sen. Ted Harvey

Back in January, we took note of a story in Politico about political action committees (PACs) set up to raise funds for a variety of conservative Republican candidates and causes. The problem with the committees profiled in this story is that the overwhelming majority of funds raised by them appeared to be paying for staff salaries and overhead–with only a small percentage of moneys raised actually going to fund the public-facing political activities of the group.

One of the so-called “ScamPACs” mentioned in that story was the Stop Hillary PAC, whose chairman is none other than former Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch: the same Ted Harvey currently at the center of a major controversy that has riven the Colorado Republican Party, as the failure to hire Harvey as executive director by GOP chairman Steve House resulted (at least in part) in the legally dubious confrontation between House and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman that has dominated political headlines in Colorado for the last two weeks.

Well folks, it looks like Harvey, while he waits for the infighting on his behalf within the Colorado GOP to resolve itself, is keeping plenty busy sending out fundraising emails for the Stop Hillary PAC! Apparently, a damning national news story about PACs that spend an average of 12% of their take on actual programmatic work hasn’t even slowed him down. From Harvey’s missive to Stop Hillary PAC supporters just this week:

Friend we’re launching a critical goal to reach 1 million Americans strong against Hillary.

**If just 786 donors step up in the next 24 hours, we will be able to reach 1 million Americans strong against Hillary BEFORE our June 30th deadline.**

Click this link to donate $15 or $35 securely and help us recruit 20 more Americans to our movement to Stop Hillary?

Your donation of $15 or $35 will go directly towards our efforts to build an army 1 million strong against Hillary Clinton — before she can win the nomination.

But as we prepare for what is sure to be one of the biggest political wars ever waged — I am certain I cannot do it without the support of patriots, like you, who love and stand ready to defend America…

As we noted a couple of days ago, had Harvey been hired as executive director of the Colorado GOP, his role as chairman of the Stop Hillary PAC may have presented a whole new set of election law problems. But beyond that, the stigma of bringing on a “ScamPAC” artist to run the state Republican Party would have been exceedingly bad for the party’s image and fundraising. Bad enough that we would fully accept that as a justifiable reason for House to not hire Harvey, which House ultimately chose not to do despite Harvey’s very public presumption that it was a done deal.

Unfortunately for Steve House, as we now know, Ted Harvey…has powerful friends.

So You Don’t Like Toll Roads? Well…

U.S. 36 Express Lanes Project.

U.S. 36 Express Lanes Project.

The Colorado Statesman’s Vic Vela has a story up today about the long-term shortage of federal funds for transportation projects, and what that’s forcing states like Colorado to do to provide for the infrastructure needed to sustain economic growth–not to mention keeping your commute from driving you totally insane:

Congress faces a July 31 deadline to pass legislation addressing the country’s transportation needs. But recent history suggests lawmakers will fall short of passing a long-term funding bill, instead opting for yet another stopgap measure.

Over the last six years, Congress has passed short-term transportation funding extensions 33 times.

The temporary funding measures are unsustainable, Mendez said, if Congress intends to repair roads and bridges…

[Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez] called on Congress to take action on the Grow America Act, a six-year, $478 billion highway funding bill supported by President Obama and Mendez’ boss, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

According to Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez, passage of the Grow America Act would bump Colorado transportation funding up 20%, with an even bigger increase for transit projects. As you can imagine, though, the measure is going nowhere in the Republican-controlled Congress:

“There’s difficulty getting it through the Republican House right now, which is sort of par for the course,” said Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who represents the 7th Congressional District.

The U.S. Senate has introduced a more modest bipartisan proposal, cosponsored by GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, that would increase transportation funds by a smaller amount via a relatively gimmicky incentive for corporations to repatriate overseas earnings at favorable tax rates. Anything would help, of course, but the huge long-term deficit in funding for transportation projects, both to maintain current infrastructure and to provide for the future, is much bigger than what Gardner’s bill would provide for.

But there’s another big difference between the two proposals: the President’s bill relies on provisions that Coloradans may not like, even though they are being embraced by cash-strapped Colorado transportation officials right now. The Grow America Act would significantly ease restrictions on tolling of existing interstate highways, as well as encourage so-called “public-private partnerships” to build new transportation projects. In Colorado, the new U.S. 36 Express Lanes Project is an example of what the future would look like under the Grow America Act–new infrastructure, but at a significant long term cost and loss of control:

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Call For Criminal Investigation of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

(Making it formal – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

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

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

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

Read ProgressNow Colorado’s letter to DA Morrissey here.

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

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

Get More Smarter on Thursday (June 25)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Happy belated St. Jean-Baptiste Day to our Canadian friends. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The United States Supreme Court has ruled to uphold federal subsidies related to Obamacare. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the 6-3 majority decision:

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.

This is a win-win decision politically — for both parties. The decision is obviously beneficial for Democrats who supported Obamacare, but it also allows Republicans to continue to crow about the horrors of health care legislation — which they are doing already — without having to do any actual governing on their own.

Turnover among staff in the Jefferson County School District is up 50% over the previous year, attributable almost entirely to the antics of the right-wing majority and (not so) Superintendent Dan McMinimee.

► Colorado Pols continues to be your home for the latest news on The Coffmangate Scandal. We’re still baffled that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman would put her career on the line to help former state Sen. Ted Harvey get a real job. Elsewhere, a group of conservative talk-radio hosts have resigned from KLZ-560 AM, claiming that station management is interfering with their “coverage” of the coup attempt against State Party Chair Steve House. “I guess they didn’t realize they don’t own the radio station,” said Crawford Broadcasting President Don Crawford, Jr.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By The U.S. Supreme Court

UPDATE #2: From the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative:

This is tremendous economic news for consumers nationwide. Everyone, regardless of where they live will continue to have access to more affordable health coverage to get the health care they need. It means that the health coverage of over 6 million Americans will remain accessible and that health care systems nationwide can continue to build on the progress that has already been made through Obamacare. An adverse ruling would have eliminated the affordability subsidies in states using the federal marketplace therefore making insurance unaffordable and leading millions dropping their coverage. The subsequent disruption to the insurance markets would have thrown the health insurance systems throughout the country into turmoil.

Chief Justice John Roberts stated in his opinion, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them.”

Colorado had the foresight to advance bipartisan legislation to establish our own state-based marketplace. Our marketplace customers would have been insulated from a ruling striking down the subsidies, but we recognize the ripple effect from those states more immediately impacted that could have destabilized our own health insurance and health care systems. We are pleased to know that the ACA and Colorado’s implementation of better access to coverage and care will not be jeopardized.

—–

UPDATE: Colorado Republicans vent their rage via Twitter:

From Sen. Cory Gardner’s statement:

“Obamacare began as partisan legislation hastily rammed through Congress without proper debate or consideration. The more than five years since its passage have been marked by policy cancellations, premium increases, and millions of Americans dissatisfied with the changes to the healthcare system.

”Today’s decision bails out the careless, reckless authors of a law that has done real damage to our healthcare system. Obamacare’s problems, however, are not merely the result of poor writing. Even if perfectly authored, a government takeover of healthcare would be the wrong prescription for America…”

—–

obamacaresThat’s the word from our friends at SCOTUSBlog: by a 6-3 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Affordable Care Act insurance premium subsidies for the states that use the federal health insurance marketplace. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the powerful majority opinion:

In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined—“to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. [Pols emphasis] If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt. The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is

Affirmed.

It should be noted again that because Colorado developed our own health insurance marketplace, known affectionately as “AmyCare” after its Republican sponsor former Rep. Amy Stephens, an adverse decision in King v. Burwell would not have immediately affected policyholders in our state. It would have been extremely destructive in the states that did not set up an insurance exchange, though, which not coincidentally are in most cases Republican-dominated state governments. With that said, the case in King v. Burwell was always embarrassingly weak, relying on an elementary drafting error in an attempt to spike a major piece of legislation to the immediate, tangible detriment of millions of Americans.

Well folks, that’s not happening. We’ll update this post with local coverage and reactions.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 24)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218It’s been so crazy today, we almost forgot to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Another longshot Republican candidate for President threw his hat in the ring today, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana:

The child of immigrants from India, Jindal had become the head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals at the age of 24. By his 40th birthday, he had already served in Congress and won election to a second term as governor. Then he stepped in front of a camera to give the party’s official response to Obama’s first State of the Union; people who thought they were watching a coming out party instead bore witness to a political train-wreck — a tin-eared speech immediately derided as “childish” and “a disaster for the party.”

Jindal now enters a far more competitive and crowded presidential field, not as a wunderkind but as an asterisk who barely registers in national polls. He is running as a reform-minded, social conservative armed with detailed policy proposals — and betting that his wonky approach will enable him to break through — but many question whether it’s too late to gain a foothold in the 2016 race.

► Republican House Speaker John Boehner is cracking down on conservative Republicans in his caucus–ostensibly over the recent vote to pass President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, but behind the scenes, he’s just sick of the “Tea Party.” Including Colorado’s own Ken Buck:

It’s a largely ceremonial position, but the title of class president soon could be taken from Congressman Ken Buck — and the Colorado lawmaker says it’s punishment for going against Republican leadership on a crucial trade vote…

Late Wednesday, his campaign put out a fundraising e-mail that cited the effort to remove him.

“Republican Leadership representatives have been meeting in secret and have now called a snap election to impeach me as Freshman Class President because I voted against ObamaTrade,” he wrote.

“Bring it on.”

► The Coffmangate scandal continues to grow, despite confusing reports yesterday about the status of investigations into the alleged blackmailing of Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House. In news interviews yesterday, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman admitted that a major grievance against House was the failure to hire Ted Harvey as the party’s executive director, and that an alleged extramarital affair was invoked against House during their meeting. All indications remain that this will not end well for Attorney General Coffman or others she teamed up with to “burn down the House.”

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Coffmangate Update: Nothing Changed, Coffman Still in Serious Trouble

UPDATE #2: Conservative opinion site RedState has a lengthy story and interview with Steve House up today that’s worth a read–in which this blog is referred to as the “Daily Kos” of Colorado.

An audio interview performed by former federal agent, and current Vice Chair from Adams County, John Sampson with Julie Naye – the alleged mistress, and her close friend, Lana Fore, was published by the state’s version of Daily Kos yesterday. In the interview Naye adamantly denies the allegations of having an affair with Steve house, and damn if she doesn’t sound convincing. In fact, even the lefty outlet that published the audio noted that if she is lying, she is incredibly good at it.

As it stands now, barring any additional evidence provided by the accusers, it appears that Steve House has been falsely accused by some of the most powerful Republicans in Colorado.

We doubt that’s a compliment, but Kos does get a lot of traffic.

Original post follows…

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New Report: Massive Teacher Exodus From Jeffco Schools

While they can.

While they can.

A disturbing story from 9NEWS’ Nelson Garcia last night about a parent group in Jefferson County tracking the departure of teachers and staff from Jeffco Public Schools–according to Jeffco Exodus and new data from the Colorado Department of Education, a mass departure of teachers from what was once one of the state’s highest-performing school districts is now underway:

As both the teachers union and school district expect the teacher turnover numbers to increase this summer, a website run by parents is chronicling the stories of why teachers are leaving.

“What we’d like to do with JeffCo Exodus is to give them a chance to voice their opinions to get their feelings out in the open so that they feel people are listening to them,” Tina Gurdikian, JeffCo Exodus co-founder, said…

She says many teachers say they are leaving because they don’t feel respected. Gurdikian blames the actions of Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams who were elected to the school board in 2013. She says the actions of this conservative board majority are driving teachers away from the district.

Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk

Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk

The last two years in Jeffco have been fraught with battles between the new conservative board majority and the community they were elected to serve. In addition to annual fights over teacher and staff contracts, Jeffco schools have been beset by controversies that have nothing to do with the much-maligned “teacher’s union”–the questionable hiring of Dan McMinimee from the far-right Douglas County school district, McMinimee’s hiring of controversial now-ex communications director Lisa Pinto, the literal global news coverage of Julie Williams’ politically-tainted “review” of AP History curriculum–and recently, highly troubling incidents of bullying by board members against underage Jeffco students.

But in all of those incidents, as embarrassing as they were to the board and district as a whole, one could at least make the argument that for most students, nothing had really changed. Jeffco kids still went to the same schools every morning, to learn the same subjects from the same teachers.

As of yesterday, you can’t say that anymore:

The Colorado Department of Education tracks turnover numbers and says in the 2014-2015 school year, 710 teachers left the district, which signifies an increase in the turnover rate of about 50 percent compared to the previous year. [Pols emphasis]

Superintendent Dan McMinimee says he expects the turnover numbers to top 800 for the 2015-2016 school year.

The story quotes a conservative Jefferson County parent in support of the board majority downplaying this tremendous spike in teacher turnover, but for parents who send their kids to Jeffco schools every day, these numbers are nothing short of disastrous. This throws staffing decisions for next year into chaos, potentially resulting in larger class sizes. For students, this means the loss of trusted mentors and advisors. For some, the loss of a favored teacher could mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out.

And there’s nothing the board majority can point to as a positive effect. Right-wing public education opponents will assert for boilerplate reasons that these teachers “deserve to go,” but there’s nothing we’ve seen to indicate the teachers leaving are poor performers. There’s just no positive way to spin an attrition rate that’s up 50% from the previous year, with another big spike anticipated this year.

Bottom line: you can make the case that nearly two years of controversy in Jefferson County under the new school board majority have been foreshadowing this moment. This massive departure of teachers from a school district previously held up as a high-performing model is immutable proof of the harm being done by the conservative board majority. Real harm, affecting real people on a large scale. It’s the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back, except more of a sledgehammer.

And if this isn’t enough to push Jeffco parents to take action, we don’t know what is.

Coffmangate: Ted Harvey is a Live Grenade

Ted Harvey and Cynthia Coffman in House of Cards likeness.

Ted Harvey and Cynthia Coffman in “House of Cards” likeness.

One of the central curiosities surrounding the Coffmangate scandal is that all parties involved in the alleged coup attempt against State Republican Party Chair Steve House have continually refused to go into any detail about why they were so intent on forcing House to resign after less than three months on the job. While details are scarce, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman did offer a strange statement of sorts yesterday in an interview with the Denver Post that is worth further examination:

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman talked publicly for the first time about what led her to meet with House and tell him he had lost her confidence. She said he was being untruthful and leaving the party open to potential litigation.

“He had promised people jobs and turned and maligned those people and made up false accusations to justify not offering them employment,” Coffman told The Denver Post. [Pols emphasis]

She said that happened in more than one instance.

It is unclear exactly how prevalent this issue may have been with House, but one of the people Coffman is undoubtedly referencing is former State Senator Ted Harvey. Let’s go back to last week and House’s original bombshell statement alleging attempted blackmail:

The rumors started last night [Monday, June 15], when I was scheduled to meet with Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. When I arrived to our meeting, I was surprised to see that former Congressman Tom Tancredo and Pueblo County Chair Becky Mizel were also in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was initially unknown to me and I believed it was a routine strategy discussion by the Attorney General and myself. Congressman Tancredo confronted me about not hiring former state Sen. Ted Harvey as the Party’s executive director, and demanded that I resign my post. If I refused to meet their demand to resign, they threatened that a potential lawsuit may be filed and that false rumors that I have been unfaithful to my wife would be made public. [Pols emphasis]

Back on March 14th, when House was officially elected Republican Party Chair over incumbent Ryan Call, Colorado Pols reported that Harvey was set to be named as the new Executive Director of the State GOP. Harvey was overheard (repeatedly) telling Republicans that he would assume the ED role as soon as the following Monday (March 16). Harvey did not ultimately get the top paid job in the State GOP, in part because Harvey spoke up too soon and made it appear as though House might have made a promise that he should not have made.

Now, let’s go back to Coffman’s statement to the Denver Post that attempting to oust House was, at least in part, because he may not have followed through on promises to elevate the likes of Harvey. If the attempted coup against House was at least partially motivated by employment promises to Ted Harvey — and it certainly appears that way — then it leads to even greater concerns about the judgment of Cynthia Coffman and her merry band of extortionists.

Former Republican State Sen. Ted Harvey

Former Republican State Sen. Ted Harvey

It is possible that House and the Colorado GOP could face some sort of civil lawsuit from Harvey if he can prove that he was offered a job that he never received. But if House and the Colorado GOP had hired Harvey as Executive Director, they would have been walking into an entirely different legal minefield.

As we noted in January, Harvey is the registered chair of The Stop Hillary PAC, a fundraising organization that may not exactly be on the up-and-up. Harvey’s involvement with The Stop Hillary PAC puts him in the company of notable “SCAM PAC” founders such as Washington D.C.-based lawyer Dan Becker. As Politico reported in January, Becker’s previous PACs have been known to spend less than 12% of their fundraising efforts to fund political advertisements and other actions, while essentially pocketing the rest of the money for “operating expenses.”

If House and the State GOP had hired Harvey to be the Party’s Executive Director, they would have opened the door to a much more extensive list of legal problems. Can you imagine the illegal coordination charges that the GOP would be facing if the same guy in charge of a national Stop Hillary PAC — potentially a scam in itself — was also concurrently running operations for the Colorado Republican Party?

Was Cynthia Coffman not aware of this massive conflict of interest? Or was she unknowingly advocating for something that would place the Republican Party in significant legal trouble? Perhaps this is one reason why Coffman and others have been reluctant to get into details about their concerns with House and not hiring Harvey: Those details actually hurt their argument for getting rid of House.

Maybe House promised Harvey the ED job, and maybe he didn’t; either way, Republicans should be glad it never happened.

Need a Coffmangate Refresher? Catch up with these links:

The Strange Story of the Coup Attempt Within the Colorado Republican Party

Cynthia Coffman’s Political Career is Over. Done. Kaput.

Cynthia’s House of Cards: Dial ‘B’ for Blackmail

Mystery Character #4 Revealed in Coffmangate Scandal

EXCLUSIVE: Coffman-gate Scandal is About to go Nuclear

Right-Wing Blog Unwittingly Confirms Steve House Blackmail (Now, With Audio!)

Proposed BLM Rule Could Recoup Billions for U.S. Taxpayers, Help Avert Climate Catastrophe

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Like a number of communities in Colorado, the valley where I live has been engaged in an effort to constrain oil and gas development to keep it out of our water supplies, our favorite recreational areas, our towns, farms and communities. 

This effort has been met with mixed success.  We banded together to stop an ill-advised Bureau of Land Management lease sale, deferring it twice.  We compelled the BLM to consider a community-based alternative as it revises its very stale 1980s era land use plan, and local conservation groups have successfully challenged some other projects—sending them back for a time to the drawing board. 

But more than 80,000 acres of public lands are leased in the upper reaches of the North Fork, many private lands are already under industry control, and Texas billionaires with privately held gas companies have their sights on acquiring more.

When Halliburton rolled a fracking convoy up the valley last week, to do the completion work on some wells on private lands and blocking traffic for a mile on our narrow two-lane road, the Paonia Message Board on Facebook erupted. 

Meanwhile, as small communities like my own face off against the world’s richest industry, each year in Colorado approximately 8.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas is wasted from oil and gas development on public lands, often vented raw or flared at the source.

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Right-Wing Blog Unwittingly Confirms Steve House Blackmail (Now, With Audio!)

UPDATE #2: There has been a flurry of phone calls and back-and-forth conversations among reporters and other officials today, much of it confusing. But you can read between the lines of Steve House’s statement to the Durango Herald:

I personally am not contacting the offices because I leave those decisions to the state party attorney and my personal attorney, I’ve not actively been involved with that,” House said in an interview with The Durango Herald. “I don’t know the law; I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know what rises to the level of criminal activity.” 

—–

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman, finally some mainstream media confirmation of what we’ve been reporting for days:

From Rittiman’s story:

Steve House, the chairman of the Colorado Republican party, has reached out to federal and state prosecutors about his allegations of a coup attempt to remove him from his leadership post at the state party, led by Republican state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

State party spokesman Owen Loftus confirmed that House reached out to both the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Denver District Attorney’s office in the wake of the scandal, which has dominated Colorado political conversation since House’s allegations last week…

His office is refuting a story posted to a conservative blog purporting to be a confession from his mistress.

—–

UPDATE: Here is the complete interview with Steve House’s alleged mistress, recorded the day after House’s confrontation with Cynthia Coffman, in which she categorically denies any affair. A wealth of information about this story in this over 47-minute conversation. See below for audio cue points to key moments. The voices on the recording are John Sampson, a private investigator and an Adams County Republican, Julie Naye, House’s alleged mistress, and Lana Fore, former secretary of the Colorado GOP.

With Julie Naye, Steve House’s alleged mistress:

9:13   How do you know House?
12:39 How often would you see House?
13:02 Have you ever meet Donna House?
13:43 Have you ever been alone with House?
14:00 Have you ever been in the same town overnight as House?
15:02 Why is the opposition pointing at you?
15:18  Is there any evidence (text, email voicemail) for these claims?
18:39 Has House ever paid you for work?
20:00 “House is innocent… I’ve never been alone with him”
29:00 “Steve need to take it to their doorstep.”
31:50 “People are making stuff up. Cannot be something there that there isn’t. House has to fight this.”
35:00 Lana Fore? “She’s sitting right here next to me.”
36:00 “Want to press charges against people who are claiming to have an affair.”

With Lana Fore, former Colorado GOP secretary:

38:00 What is going on?
40:00 “Personal vendetta”
40:30 Who is trying to force you to say something that is not true? McAlpine, Harvey, Mizel, Herzfeldt all named.
41:30 “House made promises and didn’t keep them.”
41:50 What were those promises?
44:00 Tom Tancredo was at the meeting on Monday night.
45:15  “I’m not a big fan of Colorado Pols, but I think they got it right.”

To be fair, this recording is addressed in the blog post by Porter below:

Naye confessed that she lied to help cover the affair. She said that House texted her with instructions to deny their relationship to his friend who would be phoning her. Naye said that she was unaware at the time that this friend was also a private investigator.

To which we can only say, if she’s lying in this recording, she’s a very good liar. In any event, all we’re talking about here is scenery for the main event–criminal extortion.

Original post follows–big updates coming soon.

—–

Ted Harvey, Cynthia Coffman.

Ted Harvey, Cynthia Coffman.

As the controversy has swirled in the last few days over the alleged extortion of Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House by high-ranking fellow Republicans including Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, one of the central details was the purported existence of an extramarital affair between House and an unknown party. House responded to the allegation by denying the existence of an affair, and claiming that he was confronted with it only after the conversation turned from why House didn’t hire Ted Harvey to serve as the state party’s executive director to demands that House resign his position.

House’s version of events is very important to the investigation now underway, as it meets the legal definition of criminal extortion. It would be one thing if House had committed some kind of actual malfeasance in his official capacity–though the manner in which House was confronted is still legally questionable–but to blackmail this man over an alleged love affair is contemptible in addition to potentially criminal.

Fast-forward to today–conservative blogger Kathryn Porter, who has obviously been tasked by someone close to Coffman to run damage control as the likelihood of a criminal investigation grows, published her “shocking expose” of House’s alleged affair:

“I had no expectations of a future with him. I thought this would eventually end and we would remain friends,” said [the woman]. She shared that House was easy to talk to and that they had a special trust between them. “I wasn’t looking for him to take care of me. And he had a wife. I trusted him to be kind to me and stick around as my friend.”

She became more guarded when confronted about her feelings for House. “I care about him a great deal, like you would care about a close friend with additional feelings,” she stated, carefully choosing her words…

She described the submission to their sexual desires as an organic evolution of their friendship.

Steve House.

Steve House.

Missing from Porter’s poorly-written screed is, well, anything particularly nefarious. Nowhere does the story of House’s alleged affair claim to involve his official duties as GOP chairman. Instead of helping, this hit piece would seem to confirm House’s version of the blackmail story, which we have to believe was not the intended purpose. 

And that’s perhaps not the worst part. Today, we were forwarded audio from a conversation between House’s alleged mistress and a private investigator from the day after House’s meeting with Coffman in which she denies the affair repeatedly and categorically. Late in the nearly 50-minute conversation, the investigator interviewing the woman in question says:

It’s called “character assassination 101.” What it all boils down to is, and I’m not a big fan of Colorado Pols, but I think they got it right. This is an attempt to have a coup d’etat. [Pols emphasis]

We are processing the audio from this conversation now and will post shortly, but we wanted to be sure the existence of these denials was quickly noted in the record.

How does this square with the quotes printed in Porter’s blog? Simple: it doesn’t. Sources tell us that House has turned his cell phone text records over to the U.S. Attorney’s office, and there’s nothing to indicate that House asked this woman to lie. And even of these hotly disputed allegations of an affair were true? That can’t justify blackmailing Steve House to get him to resign from his job as Colorado GOP chairman. Remember, it doesn’t make any difference whether House did or did not have an actual affair; it’s still blackmail to threaten him with it.

You can’t ever justify blackmail–it’s a crime as soon as you make the threat.