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:
— Brandon Rittiman (@BrandonRittiman) June 23, 2015
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.
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.
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.