Former VIP backers of Romney in CO have differing views on whether to support him now

(Ouch! More war chest RomneyCare, stat! – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who launched his presidential exploratory committee yesterday, would be President now, if the Colorado GOP had its way in 2008.

You recall, Romney won big here in the GOP’s caucuses over Sen. John McCain, with major Republican support from people like Sen. Wayne Allard, Rep. Bob Beauprez, Sen. Hank Brown, Gov. Bill Owens, and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. GOP State Senators Andy McElhany, Shawn Mitchell, and Nancy Spence all supported him. As did, among others, CO State Rep. Kenneth Summers, Weld Country District Attorney Ken Buck, executives Bruce Benson and Alex Cranberg, and Colorado GOP chair Ryan Call.

Not to be left out, The Denver Post selected Romney in the GOP primary.

Reporters haven’t asked what these folks think of Romney now, about three years later. So I checked in with some of them.


“I’m inclined to think we need a fresh face,” McElhany told me. “I was a strong early supporter of Mitt Romney in 2008, and I think he had his chance at that time, but I’m encouraged to look other places.”

I asked McElhany about the health care law Romney signed into law in Massachusetts, mandating that state residents purchase insurance.

“I don’t think the health care thing helps him,” McElhany said. “Certainly it’s a huge issue, and his support of the Massachusetts law will weigh on him heavily.”

Attorney General Suthers and Colorado Sen. Spence are both still supportive of Romney.

Through his spokesman, Suthers said:

“America is in need of an economic turnaround. No one has the credentials he does in terms of producing an economic turnaround.”

“Of the names in the race so far, I’d still support him,” Spence told me. “Now that doesn’t mean if Superman jumped in, I wouldn’t change my mind. But that’s where I am right now.”

Asked whether the health care issue affects her view of Romney, Spence said, “I supported him last time-and there was the health-insurance and right-to-life stuff then. He did what he had to do in Massachusetts.”

Colorado Rep. Ken Summers hasn’t made up his mind. “Maybe it will be like in 2008 when it was easier to keep track of who wasn’t running than who was,” Summers told me.

Romney’s support of the Massachusetts health care law is not a deal breaker for Summers, who added that he (Summers) was “fully supportive of the health-care exchanges here in Colorado, and he told Rep. Amy Stephens that his “name would have been on that bill if it was introduced.”

“As Republicans go, Romney was doing what he had to do in Massachusetts,” Summers said. “It’s baggage that he’ll have to overcome, just like Tom Tancredo had to do with immigration. But Tom didn’t want to.”

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck is remaining neutral.

“I am staying neutral in the presidential race for a while,” Buck told me. “I am the national co-chair for the Pass the Balanced Budget Amendment. We are trying to get candidates together for a presidential debate sometime this fall, and the leadership is staying neutral until we can get that accomplished.”

Pestiferous Independence Institute President Jon Caldara, who was not listed among Romney’s supporters in 2008, gave me his opinion on Romney:

“My guess is, it’s going to be very, very difficult for him to win support in a GOP primary given his support for what is essentially Obamacare,” said Caldara. I don’t know how he dislodges himself for that. On the bright side, he’s got great hair, and for that I am most envious.”

Caldara cohort Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute added:

“I would say that Romney’s chances of winning would be much, much higher if Romneycare did not exist, especially because Obamacare will certainly be one of the biggest issues in the 2012 Presidential election, and perhaps the biggest issue,” Kopel emailed me. “The Sunday that the U.S. House voted for Obamacare, the biggest political loser in the nation was Mitt Romney.”

President Barack Obama has been praising Romney’s health care law of late, reportedly saying in a Feb. speech at the National Governors Association:

“I know that many of you have asked for flexibility for your states under this law. In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he’s proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions. He’s right. Alabama is not going to have exactly the same needs as Massachusetts or California or North Dakota. We believe in that flexibility.”

Yesterday the DNC distributed a photo of Romney signing the health care law-with Sen. Ted Kennedy in the photo looking on approvingly. Democrats have also been eating birthday cake and pointing out that today is the five-year anniversary of the enactment of the Mass health-care bill.

Romney did not mention his health care law yesterday, when he announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee, but he’s said previously that he supports the rights of states to craft their own health care laws.

Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog

Doug Bruce, Author of TABOR, Indicted For Tax Evasion

As the AP reports, who will weep for the author of Colorado’s iconic Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights? How ironic is a charge of tax evasion against Bruce, really? How much harder will this make it for the TABOR movement in other states?

Colorado anti-tax crusader Doug Bruce has been indicted for allegedly failing to pay his taxes.

Attorney General John Suthers announced Friday that a statewide grand jury returned the indictment against Bruce on Thursday.

He’s accused of failing to pay taxes on income earned during three years by moving money into a non-profit he founded.

Something tells us we’ll be savoring this irony, and talking about what might finally be Bruce’s much-anticipated fall, for some time. Even if smart local Republicans ditched him long ago.

(Mug shot public domain, courtesy Colorado Department of Law)

Backstab: Stephens Spikes Health Care Exchange?

We’ve been following the strange case of Majority Leader Amy Stephens this session, specifically her decision to sponsor two seemingly at-odds pieces of health care legislation: Senate Bill 200, the bill to implement a health care insurance exchange pursuant to federal health reform passed last year, as well as a “Tea Party” inspired bill that would radically opt Colorado entirely out of the federal health care system in favor of an “interstate compact.”

We, like many others, found the apparent contradictions between the sponsorship of these bills to be interesting, but we were assured by people close to the debate that Stephens was participating in the health care exchange bill in good faith. Stephens herself said as much, and that the health care exchange was a “free market” component of federal health care reform she could support while trying to undermine it out of the other side of her mouth.

Well folks, if a letter we were forwarded today from Stephens to the Democratic co-sponsor of Senate Bill 200, Sen. Betty Boyd is accurate, Stephens’ true colors are revealed:

On this point let me be clear: Obamacare is unconstitutional, and it is bad public policy.  I applaud Attorney General Suthers and his colleagues around the nation for taking the fight to the courts.  I have supported legislation in the past to legislatively opt Colorado from its big government vices.

That brings us back to SB 200, and the fear that the health exchange legislation might be unwittingly used to support the implementation of Obamacare.  There is only one way to solve this problem, and that is to make absolutely sure that the healthcare exchanges are implemented only after the State of Colorado opts-out of Obamacare.  Specifically, I am requesting that the Committee add the following provision to the legislation.  

“The provisions of SB 200 shall not be implemented, nor shall they have force or effect, until the State of Colorado requests, and the federal government grants, a full waiver from all terms, restrictions, and requirements in the federal Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act of 2010, and all rules, regulations and administrative guidelines issued thereto. [Pols emphasis]  The Governor of the State of Colorado shall seek such waiver within 60 days of the enactment of this Act.”

Looks like that cynical voice in the back of our heads was right once again. It really doesn’t matter if it was always Stephens’ (or somebody else’s) plan to spike this bill with a big partisan splash, or if this is in response to the “Tea Party” ambush she experienced last week.

Either way, if we’d been asked to bet money the moment we heard she was involved, this is the outcome we would have bet on. Read the full text below, and tell us if you don’t agree.


March 31, 2011

Dear Senator Boyd:

The discussion surrounding SB 200 (the Health Benefit Exchange) is proof positive that the enactment of Obamacare has set the American debate about healthcare backward by light years.  For years, conservatives at all levels have touted the free market virtues of healthcare exchanges as a way to give private citizens greater purchasing power and greater access to private health insurance.  The concept of individuals banding together to cut the best healthcare deal possible for themselves and their family has been a staple of the House Republican platform for many, many years.

But enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare – has so thoroughly contaminated the public discourse about the nation’s healthcare system that even simple and common-sense ideas like healthcare exchanges have become toxic and fraught with public policy peril.  This is more than a symbolic concern.  Many of my constituents and a few of my colleagues have told me that, while exchanges are themselves sensible public policy, the potential linkage of this legislation to Obamacare is far more damaging than whatever benefit is derived from the bill.  Some have worried that, even though the exchanges created in my bill are totally independent of Obamacare, that future legislators or Governors (or even the federal government) could hijack this local control measure to implement Obamacare.  It is not in the plain language of the bill, but after all the over-reaches that government has engaged in of late, it is an issue that I want to settle in this legislation in the clearest possible terms.

On this point let me be clear: Obamacare is unconstitutional, and it is bad public policy.  I applaud Attorney General Suthers and his colleagues around the nation for taking the fight to the courts.  I have supported legislation in the past to legislatively opt Colorado from its big government vices.

That brings us back to SB 200, and the fear that the health exchange legislation might be unwittingly used to support the implementation of Obamacare.  There is only one way to solve this problem, and that is to make absolutely sure that the healthcare exchanges are implemented only after the State of Colorado opts-out of Obamacare.  Specifically, I am requesting that the Committee add the following provision to the legislation.  

“The provisions of SB 200 shall not be implemented, nor shall they have force or effect, until the State of Colorado requests, and the federal government grants, a full waiver from all terms, restrictions, and requirements in the federal Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act of 2010, and all rules, regulations and administrative guidelines issued thereto.  The Governor of the State of Colorado shall seek such waiver within 60 days of the enactment of this Act.”

In as much as I believe that healthcare exchanges are a good idea, in order to be a good representative of my district, I must ensure that these state exchanges are not hijacked for the unconstitutional purposes of implementing the federal healthcare legislation.

With this amendment, Colorado would become one of the first states in the nation to take-up President Obama on his recent offer to allow States to opt-out of his healthcare bill.  For his part, Governor Hickenlooper expressed openness to the idea of an opt-out.  In exchange for the bold step of opting out of Obamacare, the State of Colorado will have healthcare exchanges that help patients get and receive affordable and reliable healthcare.  It is a win-win for the State of Colorado.

I strongly encourage the Committee to accept the above language.  If the Committee chooses not to add this important provision and still forwards the bill to the House, I will work all of the votes in my caucus to ensure that the Obamacare opt-out provision is added in the House of Representatives prior to returning to the Senate.

I continue to believe that healthcare exchanges are a common sense policy, just as conservatives have advocated for many, many years.  And with the addition of the above provision, they can be implemented into law without federal intrusion, instruction or interference.

Thank you for your consideration.

House Majority Leader Amy Stephens

###

Battle Lines Forming, Suspicions Growing Over “Payday Payback”

As the Colorado Independent’s Joseph Boven reports, a curious disagreement over what happened last year with the passage, then implementation, of long-sought legislation to reform the controversial payday lending industry in this state:

The battle over payday loan fees will strain partisan loyalties at the Legislature again this year as new legislation was introduced Friday in the House. While former payday loan bill sponsor Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said the new legislation would roll back last year’s improvements, Senate sponsor of this year’s bill Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said the new bill does exactly what he meant to do last year.

“It is doing what I thought we had done a year ago,” Heath told the Colorado Independent. Heath, who says he remains interested in creating a fair marketplace for payday lenders and customers, said “the Attorney General’s office misinterpreted what I thought I had negotiated.”

Ferrendino wholeheartedly disagreed with the move made by Heath to strip what he said was the heart of his bill.

“[The new legislation] basically guts the intent of the bill. One of the main reasons that we [made origination fees refundable] is that it disincentivizes the lender to to churn the loan,” Ferrandino said…

A chart, provided by Coloradans for Payday Lending Reform, shows the cost of a $300 loan held for 30 days would increase from $21.75 under current law to $71.25 under the new legislation. When figured in terms of APR the loan jumps from 86 percent to 289 percent.

Ferrandino and others fear that allowing lenders to keep the origination fee regardless of how soon a loan is paid back will cause them to develop loan products that would lead to individuals returning time and again for loans.

With all due respect to Sen. Rollie Heath, our recollection of events here solidly backs up Rep. Mark Ferrandino. Last August, the implementation of House Bill 10-1351 became heated after Attorney General John Suthers published draft rules that would have allowed payday lenders to keep the full amount of this “origination fee,” even if the loan was paid off early. As we and many others noted at the time, this would have had the effect of making payday loans more expensive to consumers, not less, and left “reform” of the industry in a state that actually increased their profits. Ultimately, after exhaustive hearings (and contributions to Suthers’ reelection campaign from the industry became an issue), final rules were adopted that made this fee refundable on a pro rata basis. Which, as Rep. Ferrandino says above, was always the intent.

Our interest in payday lending reform legislation, as we’ve said from the outset, stems from the endless payday lending spam we battled against for years in our comment threads. This spam has mostly stopped since then, but any industry that relies on advertising methods that sleazy and irritating–not to mention the foolishness of spamming the state’s biggest political blog while reform legislation was debated–deserves what it gets.

In any event, the payday lending industry has not gone out of business in Colorado under these new rules. Consumers now have the time they need to pay off these loans without plunging back into cyclical debt, and the pro-rated origination fee gives them an incentive to pay them off early if they can. The only reason to apply this “fix” is to increase payday lenders’ bottom lines, on what remains the highest-interest financing legally available in Colorado.

And make no mistake–whatever Rollie Heath’s interest, the payday loan industry knows who they are counting on to pass this legislation. They knew a year ago, in fact. As we discussed in detail last fall, and the Independent doesn’t let the reader forget today:

ACE Cash Express, headquartered in Irving, TX, contributed $26,000 to both the Republican Senate Majority Fund, LLC and Coloradans for a Better Future (CBF), a 527 group registered under Andy Nickel who also was the registered agent of Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government (CCAG). Last year CBF received $50,000 from the Senate Majority Fund, LLC.

The majority of CBF’s money was used for two advertisement expenditures to Strategic Media Placement LLC.

As the Colorado Independent reported, CCAG sent out mailers accusing Democratic House Rep. John Soper of wanting to release sex offenders from prison and implied that Soper would turn them loose in the district’s school yards…

Here are the Democratic co-sponsors of House Bill 1290: Jim Riesberg, Ed Casso, and Sue Schafer in the House, and Heath, Mary Hodge, and Lois Tochtrop in the Senate. These are the Democrats who are joining forces with Republicans Dave Balmer, Larry Liston, Bob Gardner, Chris Holbert, Jim Kerr, Ed Massey, B.J. Nikkel, Amy Stephens, and Keith Swedfeger in the House, and Senate Republicans Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp, to give payday lenders a payback at the expense of the state’s most economically vulnerable.

The Republicans at least have an excuse. Perhaps John Soper will ask these Dems for theirs.

Gessler’s Enforcer?

A new report from the Colorado Statesman’s Marianne Goodland about the ethics complaint against Senate Majority Leader John Morse, and the organization that filed it, the Colorado Government Accountability Project (CoGAP), has got to make you wonder:

The request for an ethics investigation was filed with the Senate on March 10 by the Colorado Government Accountability Project (CoGAP), a conservative non-profit that investigates alleged Democratic wrong-doing. The founder of CoGAP, Stephanie Cegielski, is a former employee of the Secretary of State’s office who is tied to Republican activists, conservative blogs, and the current Secretary of State. To date, CoGAP, which claims it is non-partisan, has filed complaints only against Democrats or organizations linked to Democrats…

Cegielski has been linked in the past to Scott Gessler, prior to his election as Secretary of State. In a complaint filed last year against then-Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, Gessler admitted last year he may have had “input” into the complaint, filed by Robert McGuire, Cegielski’s attorney, although the complaint was actually filed on behalf of Nickelette Bigham-Gullette, an Adams County GOP activist. McGuire told The Statesman that Bigham-Gullette was “familiar” with the work of CoGAP on Buescher. In addition, Cegielski told The Statesman she had spoken to McGuire about the issue, although she claimed not to know Bigham-Gullette.

Cegielski’s ties to Gessler, the original letter of complaint, and the timing of the complaint also is raising eyebrows at the Capitol. The original press release, dated Feb. 23, was half about Morse’s per diem and the other half criticizing Morse for going after funds in the Secretary of State’s office. The press release pointed out that Morse had sponsored amendments to cut the budgets of Attorney General John Suthers and Gessler, and during debate on Senate Bill 11-164, said Morse “chastised Secretary of State Scott Gessler for his claims that he could not live on a salary of $68,500. Morse went on to say that Gessler ‘needed to tighten his belt the way ordinary Coloradans have.’ Sen. Morse has been quick to criticize others while collecting state money at a rate superior to his fellow members of leadership,” the press release said.

Cegielski said the timing of the complaint was “coincidental”…

The other interesting finding that Goodland makes in this story is the fact that CoGAP’s complaint against Morse is riddled with exonerating error–this appears to be a much weaker complaint than the precedent-setter against ex-House Minority Leader Joe Stengel in 2005 (which was dismissed). We’ve heard that CoGAP has filed a number of Colorado Open Records Act requests recently, so far as we know all against Democrats–so the first thing to check when they roll out their next high-dudgeon complaint might well be whether the defending party has irritated Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and how recently.

Stapleton not seeking formal AG opinion on moonlighting

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



One of the things I try to do as a media critic is keep track of what officials tell journalists they’re going to do. And if promises made aren’t reported on, I ask about them.

For example, there’s the dangling promise Scott McInnis made to The Denver Post about clearing up his name months ago, but tempting as it is, that’s not what I’m returning to now.

Today I’m writing about State Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s promise to 7News in January that he’d seek an opinion from Attorney General John Suthers about whether it’s ok for him to moonlight for his former company.

You recall Stapleton’s moonlighting job would add as much as a quarter-time-plus job to his life and bring in, at $250 per hour, up to a nifty $150,000 on the side, making The Denver Post wonder about a “conflict of time.”

I asked 7News content producer/presenter Marshall Zelinger whether Suthers had produced an opinion on Stapleton’s moonlighting. Zelinger emailed me that Stapleton spokesman Brett Johnson told him that Stapleton never asked for an official opinion from Suthers’ office.

Zelinger told me that he understood from Stapleton, during his Jan. interview with him, that he was going to seek an official opinion, and that’s why Zelinger stated in his piece that Stapleton had “asked the attorney general’s office to make sure it’s OK to moonlight afterhours.”

Zelinger contacted Suthers’ office and confirmed that Stapleton never sought an opinion.

However, in January, Politics Daily reported that Stapleton had talked about the issue with Suthers but did not ask for a formal ruling.

John Suthers, Walker Stapleton back Ryan Call for CO GOP chair

Ryan Call is picking up some of the most important endorsements possible in his run for chair of the Colorado Republican party, according to this news release:

Attorney General Suthers and State Treasurer Stapleton join Legislators and Party Leaders from Across the State in Endorsing Ryan Call for State GOP Chairman

Denver – Ryan Call is pleased to announce his first list of campaign supporters.

“I am truly honored for the support of these Republican leaders from all over Colorado,” said Call. “From fellow county party activists to statewide elected officials, the range of experience these supporters possess underscores my intent to work with both local and elected leaders to gain large Republican victories in 2012.”

The following are supporters of Ryan Call for Colorado Republican State Party Chairman:

Attorney General John Suthers

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

CU Regent Sue Sharkey

State Senator Nancy Spence

State Senator Ellen Roberts

State Senator Jean White

State Representative/Assistant Majority Leader Mark Waller

State Representative Bob Gardner

State Representative Spencer Swalm

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert

District Attorney Russ Wasley

Congressional District 1 Chairman Gabriel Schwartz

Congressional District 2 Chairman/Summit County Chairman Debra Irvine

Congressional District 3 Chairman Ralph Walchle

Former Arapahoe County Chairman/Bonus Member Dave Kerber

Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder/Bonus Member Nancy Doty

Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson

El Paso County Treasurer/Former Clerk and Recorder/Bonus Member Bob Balink

Former El Paso County Chairman Wayne Williams

Former Adams County Chairman Clark Bolser

Former Arapahoe County Chairman Nathan Chambers

Former State Republican Party Chairman Don Bain

Former State Republican Party Chairman Bob Martinez

State Republican Party Treasurer/Former State Solicitor General Richard Westfall

 

On radio, Suthers vows to fight so gay married couples don’t get CO benefits

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Today’s Denver Post reported that Attorney General John Suthers didn’t have much to say about the Obama Administration’s decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

But Suthers discussed Obama’s decision for about 15 minutes on KOA’s Mike Rosen show this morning.

He told Rosen he doesn’t want Colorado to be forced to recognize gay marriages, performed in states like Massachusetts. This, he said, might require our state to give Colorado’s marriage benefits to gay married couples who move here from states like Mass. Suthers said on the radio:

“We’re going to defend Colorado’s right to say, this is what we think marriage is, and we would not like to have to recognize marriages in other states because that flows for Colorado benefits too, Mike. We’re not just talking about federal benefits. There are statuses of being married that have advantages in Colorado law too.”

Rosen failed to ask Suthers what Colorado marriage benefits he didn’t want same-sex married people to have. It was my understanding that DOMA, under section 3, tried to prevent gay married couples from receiving federal marriage benefits, like being able to be buried together in veterans’ cemeteries.

So I asked Suthers’ Communications Director, Mike Saccone, which Colorado marriage benefits Suthers was referring to:

“What he was thinking of was the joint filing of taxes,” Saccone told me. “To the extent there are other benefits that mention marriage, Amendment 43 [which bans gay marriage in Colorado] could affect them too.”



Obama’s DOMA Decision Affects Colorado

(Suthers loses his cover – promoted by Colorado Pols)



President Obama has decided to direct the Justice Department to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act against challenges in federal courts, challenges in which Republican Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has controversially filed an amicus brief on behalf of the state defending the law despite the fact that Section 3 applies to the rights of same sex marriage couples only with respect to the federal government.

Before this, there was a symbolic difference, but no practical difference, between a civil unions bill, like one being considered in Colorado’s General Assembly this sesion (SB 11-172), and a same sex marriage bill (which Colorado’s constitution currently prohibits at Article II, Section 31: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.” added by Initiative in the 2006 election).  Now, legally married same sex couples will have far more rights under federal law that same sex couples with civil unions (at least until they are legally married in a state that grants same sex marriages to non-residents).

Learning a lesson from the decision of California’s leaders in the Prop 8 litigation, where the state refused to appeal a trial court finding that Prop 8 was unconstitutional (the standing of the ballot measure proponents to appeal in that case has been certified to the California Supreme Court), President Obama has directed the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The Justice Department has said:

The Attorney General made the following statement today about the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman: . . . The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. . . . [T]he Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit. We will, however, remain parties to the cases and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation. I have informed Members of Congress of this decision, so Members who wish to defend the statute may pursue that option. The Department will also work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation.

Furthermore, pursuant to the President ‘ s instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President’s and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3. . . .

Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law. But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act states that the federal government, when applying federal law, shall disregard legal state law marriages that are not between one man and one woman.

The key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act state that:

Section 2. Powers reserved to the states:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

Section 3. Definition of “marriage” and “spouse”:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

The decision does not by itself affect Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act which provides that the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution does not extend to same sex marriages. Thus, state, local, territorial and Indian tribe governments are not federally required to honor same sex marriages that are valid in other states.

Will President Obama’s Position Be Sustained In the Courts?

President Obama’s decision is likely to stick. Generally, the only parties with standing to participate in a case where a same sex couple alleges that their rights have been violated by Section 3 of DOMA are the federal government and the couple(s) bringing the lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court, particularly in recent years, has construed taxpayer standing (alleging the federal funds are used for an unconstitutional purpose) and citizen standing (alleging that the federal government is acting unconstitutionally) very narrowly.

I’ll have to look later at the standing of members of Congress to speak for the federal government in litigation or intervene in lawsuits attacking the constitutionality of a statute. The general rule is that the Justice Department is the sole representative of the U.S. position. But, federal courts have the authority, although not necessarily the obligation, to appoint a lawyer to argue for a position like that constitutionality of a law or the rights of pro se parties, that is not represented by a party in court.

To speak for Congress, per se, or even one house of Congress, would ordinarily require the passage of a resolution by Congress or at least a house of Congress. But, members of Congress who sponsored or voted for legislation might be viewed by a court as suitable intervenors to argue to a court for a position that no party to the suit is willing to advance.

On balance, it seems unlikely that Congressional advocacy will cause a Court to rule in favor of the Constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA when the Justice Department and legally married same sex couples are both parties in the case and arguing that it is unconstitutional.

An IRS ruling last year holding that domestic partners in California were entiteld to split income for federal income tax purposes due to community property principles foreshadowed the changing position of the Obama administration on this issue.

Consequences

From a practical perspective, some of the main consequences of the decision are that gay married couples can file tax returns with married filing jointly status (and receive all of the benefits of married couples for estate taxation purposes), that same sex married couples qualify for federal immigration law treatment of spouses, and that same sex married couples can receive Social Security survivors benefits and spousal Veteran’s benefits. The Veteran’s benefits issue looms large now that Congress has repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Also, while not quite spelled out by this ruling, the implication seems to be that a same sex couple that is legally married in any state will thereafter be treated as married by the federal government, even if the state in which they live does not recognize same sex marriage. Since some states do recognize same sex marriage (and allow non-residents to be married in their state), that means that same sex couples that go to those states to be married and then return to their home states can receive all of the federal government benefits of marriage.

Another tricky issue is the impact that the decision on Section 3 of DOMA will have on state administered programs that are funded by the federal government and governed by federal rules, such as Medicaid (where marriage matters because a spouse’s assets are relevant to eligibility for Medicaid financed nursing home care) and TANF (i.e. the main mean tested welfare program).

In addition to undermining the efforts of state governments to deny federal benefits of marriage to same sex couples in their own states, the determination also increases the stakes in the civil union v. gay marriage debate in the states. Until now, this has been a strictly symbolic debate. A civil union bill that creates as the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage under state law, but doesn’t call it marriage (such as one pending in the Colorado General Assembly right now) would not constitute marriage under federal law, while one that calls the relationship marriage would have that effect.

Thus, states are left with multiple options including: (1) disallow both civil unions and same sex marriages, but acknowledge that couples with legal sex sex marriages from other states may receive federal treatment as married, (2) allow civil unions but not same sex marriage, which gives copules state law marriage rights but denies couples federal treatment as married until they get legally married in another state, or (3) allow same sex marriage.

Also, while Section 2 of DOMA does not require states to recognize same sex marriages from other states, it also does not prohibit them from doing so out of comity. In many states, the issue of when comity should recognize other state’s legal acts when the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution does not require it has been left to the courts rather than being made a subject of legislation. Thus, judges could choose, influenced but not bound by the Section 3 of DOMA interpretation, to honor out of state same sex marriage even though the constitution and federal law do not require them to do so.

Civil unions have been a sensible legislative objective for same sex couples in many states, like Colorado, where the state constitution has been amended to prohibit same sex marriage, but not more broadly to prohibit civil unions or domestic partnerships of same sex couples as well. But, there will be increasing pressure to actually call this marriage legislatively, and as courts evaluate the issue.

Former Supreme Court Justice Demolishes Suthers’ DOMA Meddling

In the editorial pages of today’s Denver newspaper, you’ll find a must-read takedown of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers by former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Jean Dubofsky, over his recent amicus brief in support of the federal government’s case regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, Suthers joined this case in Massachusetts initially claiming that he was defending “a Colorado constitutional provision.”

We were contacted the morning this story published by a source knowledgeable of the case who explained that this claim by Suthers is false–as we said then, there are several sections of DOMA in question, and the lawsuit in Massachusetts pertains to federal benefits for same-sex couples that are already recognized by the state in question–not the section of DOMA that pertains to the authority of states to accept or reject marriages from other states.

The next day, the AG’s office admitted that the Massachusetts case, however decided, “technically wouldn’t invalidate our law.” And today, Dubofsky rips apart the original claim that Suthers’ actions would defend Colorado law, then explains that if his second explanation is true, and he joined the brief in support of “states rights,” then he actually joined the wrong side of the case.

To be honest, we’re aware that this issue isn’t going to rank at the top of every Colorado voter’s priority list, even though the demographics of the electorate are making it less of a controversy with each passing day. Faced with a huge budget crisis and so many other challenges, there’s just a lot of headline-grabbing issues out there competing for importance.

But Suthers sure seems to think gay marriage, and opposing it wherever he can, is awfully important–even to the point of making questionable claims about why he is involved at all.

PPP Polling for President in Colorado

That’s the message we got last night–automated polling firm Public Policy Polling is surveying Colorado voters on the 2012 presidential elections. The poll begins with favorables on President Barack Obama, then compares Obama in a generic matchup between against a “conservative” or “Tea Party” Republican. After that, it’s a head-to head matchup between Obama and potential GOP contenders Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney. For good measure, respondents are asked at the end for their opinion of Gov. John Hickenlooper, Attorney General John Suthers, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Obviously, a poll this far from anything election-related can’t really tell us much, except that its existence shows national players are looking at Colorado very early in the 2012 cycle–PPP selected Colorado based on a vote on their website, which is itself frequented mostly by fellow pollsters and political junkies. With Colorado broadly considered a key presidential battleground next year, our state’s voters can expect to be inspected, dissected, and put on display as often as possible from here on out.

And admit it–even though you know it doesn’t mean much, you are curious, aren’t you?

Post should call on moonlighters like Stapleton to follow Hick’s lead

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Kenny Be summed up Scott Gessler’s moonlighting problem nicely in Westword last month, depicting Colorado’s Secretary of State with a phone on each ear.

If you’re The Denver Post, the two phones in the cartoon would have caught your eye, because the newspaper waged a multi-faceted campaign to get Bill Ritter to turn over his personal cell-phone records for public review-with his personal calls excised.

Ritter refused to do this, even though he apparently conducted state business on his personal cell phone, because he said it was an invasion of privacy.

The Post got pretty upset at Ritter, as was its custom at the time. There weren’t any front-page editorials on this issue, but it hopped up and down on the editorial page, calling for the release of his cell-phone records, and even filed a lawsuit that drags on to this day. (Two decisions have gone against The Post, and the daily has appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.)

Ritter has come and gone and, unfortunately, we never reviewed the state calls he made on his personal cell-phone.

But The Post’s campaign paid off.

John Hickenlooper  told a conservative journalist that he’ll use two cell phones, one for conducting the people’s business and another for personal and campaign work.

He’ll make records of calls on his “government cell phone” available for public review. And he plans to have a neutral party review the records from his private phone to make sure he’s not hiding state biz there.

Former Post Editorial Board member and current Post reporter Chuck Plunkett discussed Hick’s cell phone policies on Jon Caldara’s “Devil’s Advocate” TV show on KBDI. (The name of the show should actually be “The Devil,” dropping the “Advocate” part, but who am I?)

Caldara and Plunkett couldn’t say enough good things about Hick’s cell-phone policies. And a Post editorial patted the new gov on the back.

Recent news cycles have illuminated other state officials whom The Post should now call on to follow Hick’s lead.

I’m thinking of Colorado’s proliferating crop of moonlighting public officials. Among other things, we need to be sure that their moonlighting doesn’t blend their two jobs together on their personal cell phones.

So that means these guys: GOP Attorney General John Suthers, who’s teaching law classes; Secretary of State Scott Gessler, if he starts down the moonlighting path again; and Dwayne Romero, whom Hick appointed to lead the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Of most concern, when it comes to transparency, is Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton. He’ll be raking in to $150,000 per year, at $250 per hour, working for his old real estate firm.

This works out to 600 hours or over 11 hours per week. That’s over quarter time, based on a 40-hour work week. Of course, Stapleton’s weeks will likely be longer, but it’s a lot of time.

I mean, with 600 hours of out-of-state business to conduct, Stapleton will have to be on the phone so frequently that some state matters could slip onto his personal phone, despite his best intentions. He might just get mixed up about whose clock, I mean, phone he should be on, as he makes quick calls for his own business and then the people’s.

I asked Stapleton’s Communications Director Michael Fortney whether his boss would be following Hick’s example on the cell phone issue.

He said he’ll have one cell phone for personal use and another for matters relating to his state work.

“He’s going to do his state business either on his land line or state-issued cell phone,” Fortney told me. “He won’t do state business on the personal.”

Fortney has not yet discussed with Stapleton whether he will let a neutral party review records for his personal cell phone, as Hick says he’ll do, and weed out anything that should be made public.

The Post, which has waged the good fight on the cell phone issue, should stay the course, with a focus mostly on Stapleton, but all the moonlighters should be urged to follow Hick’s lead.

Here’s video of Plunkett discussing the issue with Caldara and Todd Shepherd.

Reporters should ask Suthers: If your anti-gay legal brief isn’t anti-gay, what is it?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has offered different explanations for filing a legal brief in support of a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that bars gay and lesbian married couples from receiving federal marriage benefits. Reporters should find out what Suthers is really thinking.

Massachusetts is suing the federal government to enable gay couples, married there, to receive the same benefits given to other married couples, and Suthers’ office joined the feds, via an Amicus brief, in defending DOMA against the Massachusetts challenge.

On KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show, Suthers said Monday there was no anti-gay-marriage political agenda behind his action. It’s about federalism, he claimed.

He went on to say he’s trying to stop the feds from forcing Colorado to recognize a gay marriage performed in Massachusetts.

“I’m getting all kinds of grief about filing an amicus brief in Massachusetts’ constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Suthers on the radio. “And it’s very apparent to me that people are attributing political motives to me, being anti-gay marriage, when in fact I think this is another case that really bears upon federalism….We don’t want Massachusetts to be able to impose on the federal government or the state of Colorado its definition of marriage.”

So what’s motivating Suthers? The gay-marriage part? Or the states-rights/federalism part?

It’s confusing, especially to people like Brian Moulton, Chief Legislative Council for the Human Rights Campaign, which has been tracking the issue.

He told me that, in response to questions about the case, Suthers’ office has sent emails to constituents stating that Suthers decided to get involved in the Massachussets case to defend Colorado’s Amendment 43, which defined marriage here as between a man and a woman. Moulton said that Suthers’ email stated that his office is obliged by law to defend Colorado’s laws, and that’s what he is doing.

Moulton told me:

“So certainly, at least initially, he was telling his constituents that he was defending Colorado’s marriage laws, and that was the initial response he gave to The Denver Post when they inquired about it. It’s all fine and good to say you’re concerned about federal involvement with the states….But certainly that was not the initial response of the AG’s office, and I’m finding it hard to square the circle. It’s hard to know which of the messages to believe.”

It’s particularly hard to square the circle because the case that Suthers has decided to join isn’t really about gay marriage. It’s about whether gay couples, who are already married in Massachusetts, have a legal right to federal marriage benefits.

We’re talking about stuff like allowing gay couples to be buried together (OMG, what will they do?) in a veterans’ cemetery and to get spousal benefits under Medicaid, according to Moulton.

Is Suthers, on behalf of the people of Colorado, saying gay couples from Massachusetts should not be allowed to be buried together in a veterans’ cemetery? We don’t know because neither Caplis nor Silverman asked him. But fortunately, Silverman promised on the radio to have Suthers back on the show to talk more about the DOMA issue.

Here are some questions Caplis and Silverman should ask him (And for you skeptics, these are the types of questions they ask regularly on the show.):

First, there’s the question above about how Suthers would feel if he successfully prevents gay veterans, married in Massachusetts, from being buried together.

Then there’s a question that flows from something both Moulton and Suthers’ office (as quoted in Tuesday’s The Denver Post) agree on: The Massachusetts case involving DOMA won’t invalidate Colorado’s marriage law, but, theoretically, if Massachusetts wins its case, Colorado’s ban on gay marriage could possibly be a little bit harder to defend down the road. Is it right to support a lawsuit that strips gay couples, married in another state, of the right to be buried together or to receive Medicaid benefits, simply because having those benefits might, theoretically, make Colorado’s ban on gay marriages slightly harder to defend? Does this put any stress on Suthers’ conscience?

Another question: If Suthers’ underlying motivation is related to states rights, why pick this case? As Moulton pointed out: “In this case, what Massachusetts is saying is, our state’s rights are being impinged upon because what the federal government is saying is, here’s some money for a federal program, but if you have to use it, you have to discriminate against some of your own lawfully married citizens under your own law. They are arguing that (DOMA) is infringing on their rights as a state. It does seem odd to have some other state [Colorado] say, no no, that’s not okay.”

And this question, posed by Moulton, gets to the heart of the matter: “At the end of the day, if what you’re really doing is just attacking Massachusetts because they’ve decided to stand up for their gay and lesbian married citizens, because you have some fear that one day in some hypothetical case that doesn’t exist, your marriage law might be in jeopardy, doesn’t this seem pretty mean-spirited and maybe not the best use of state resources right now in this time of fiscal stress?”

Partial Transcript of Appearance by Attorney General John Suthers on the Caplis and Silverman Show, 3 p.m. Hour, Feb. 1

Attorney General John Suthers: You know, you can’t get into these things based on what’s going to be the politically greatest route. I don’t know if you’re watching it today, but I’m getting all kinds of grief about filing an amicus brief in Massachusetts’ constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. And it’s very apparent to me that people are attributing political motives to me, just being anti-gay marriage, when in fact I think this is another case that really bears upon federalism. The federal government in DOMA is not attempting to define marriages under state law. In fact they say, we’re simply defining marriage for purposes of federal law and federal benefits and for our purposes, marriage is between a man and a woman. States are free to do what they want. Massachusetts says, you can’t define it between a man and a woman. That discriminates against our gay couples in Massachusetts. And we in Colorado, the voters in 2006, chose to define in our constitution marriage as between a man and a woman, and we support the federal government and the states as being able to define it for their own purposes, and we don’t want Massachusetts to be able to impose on the federal government or the state of Colorado with the definition of marriage.

Craig: Mr. A. G., we can’t go on that tangent, though it’s interesting, and we’d like to talk to you about it on another day that’s not so newsy.

Colorado Pols Mailbag #2 (Part 1)

We got a ton of questions for our Colorado Pols Mailbag, otherwise known as “Ask Alva.” We received so many questions, in fact, that we’re going to have to answer them in separate “parts.”

Click below for Part 1 of Colorado Pols Mailbag #2.

KHMECK asks a few questions, including an older one that was lost in the mailbox:

1. Hi Colorado Pols,

In theory, I’ve heard all spending on TV ads should be public info-or so I’ve heard–so that any ordered ads, the dates, time-segments, networks, and total expense, are all considered public info as soon as an ad is placed.

Where should I go, or who should I call, to find out how much airtime a campaign bought in a given market, time-period, etc?

Sometimes the local media reports on these ad buys, and sometimes the buys are announced in press releases. But if you want to find out yourself, you should call the particular TV stations that interest you. If it’s a cable TV buy, then things are a bit more complicated. You can probably get the buy for Comcast cable, but DirecTV is done nationally and is thus likely more difficult.

2. Any idea if Primavera will run again in ’12?

The last we heard, Primavera was definitely considering another run in 2012, but it’s too early to say for sure. Republican Don Beezley narrowly defeated Primavera in November, but this district is one of those in northern Colorado which has seen the highest population growth in Colorado, and it could look a lot different after redistricting.

3. Is Max Tyler term-limited in ’12 or ’14-which?

Actually, neither is correct. Former Rep. Gwyn Green retired in April 2009, and Tyler was selected by an HD-23 vacancy committee soon afterwards to replace her. Because Green was less than a year into her term when she retired, Tyler is limited to three full terms. He can run in 2012 and 2014, but not again in 2016.

Galapago Larry asks two very different questions:

1. Why do some cheeses melt, and others don’t?

According to Polster Diogenesdemar, the reason some cheeses melt and others don’t has to do with “fat and moisture content versus milk-solids content…as affected by aging (aka ‘drying’).” That all sounds scientific and fact-based, but the answer to your question also depends on your definition of “cheese.” You can melt the crap out of Kraft singles, but if those little square bastards are really considered “cheese,” then we might as well start calling Twinkies “bread.”

2. Who are the most powerful non-office holding, behind-the-scenes, Democratic decision makers? We got a peek inside the Republican tent in the maneuvering among Maes/Tancredo/Wadhams; who would have been mentioned if something similar were to have surfaced in the Dem. party? (Not that it would, of course, because Dems are so much better organized, on message and managed but ….)

The behind-the-scenes power players in both political parties (see, blogs can use alliteration just like those fancy real media folks!) generally fall into the same category-the big donors and the people who advise those big donors. Because of Colorado’s Amendment 27 and our relatively small contribution limits, elections are often won or lost by the “527″ political committees that can spend unlimited cash, so you need those folks behind you if you are going to have a chance at winning. On the Democratic side, the names would vary a bit depending on whether it was a federal or state race, but either way, Al Yates and Ted Trimpa would be at the top of the list.



Middle of the Road asks:

How many people contribute under the umbrella of Colorado Pols name? We all know better than to ask who you actually are but how many contributors post for you under your blog name?

The answer to that question depends on fat and moisture content versus milk-solids content…as affected by aging (aka ‘drying’).

MADCO asks a multitudinous amount of questions, which we’ll take one-by-one:

1. Why do H-Man and GopWarrior believe it’s ok to post lies?

It’s not a lie if you really believe it. You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you.

2. What would it take to eliminate sales taxes in Colorado?

Colorado doesn’t have enough money for basic services now, so any effort to eliminate sales taxes would have to be part of a larger package to overhaul Colorado’s tax system in general. Dumping the sales tax could be a chip used to negotiate for something like eliminating the Gallagher Amendment, but it couldn’t happen on its own.  

3. Why do local school district residents pay taxes to fund schools statewide?

The aforementioned Gallagher Amendment takes some of the blame for this, for which Great Education Colorado has a good summary:

K-12 public schools in Colorado are primarily funded through a combination of local property taxes and state revenues. Historically, local property taxes have made up the majority of funding. However, since property taxes have decreased and will continue to do so based on the impact of the constitutional Gallagher Amendment, the state has been required to fill in the amount that property taxes used to cover.

The other reason that tax revenue from one district is spread out elsewhere is because population shifts have made it impossible for some rural areas to continue to adequately fund their local schools.

4. How is it the fault of teacher’s unions that the graduation rate is less than we would prefer?

We could answer this in one word: Ignorance.

This happens for the same reason it was the unions’ “fault” that the automotive industry collapsed, even though they had nothing to do with misreading the market and deciding to build SUVs that nobody wanted. You need a foil to make any argument look better, and labor unions make a great “bad guy.”

For a variety of reasons, labor unions are not particularly well-liked in many areas of the country, including Colorado. A lot of that has to do with the fact that labor unions are not well understood. Colorado is not a state that has a high density of union members, so most Coloradans have no exposure to it; most people don’t know anybody who is in a union, so the only thing they hear about unions are the bad stories that pop up from time to time in the media. This makes it easy for critics to blame the teacher’s unions for poor graduation rates, because they don’t know what the union does and they’re already pre-disposed to disliking them. Critics also like to blame the teacher’s union because, let’s face it: they don’t have a real answer of their own. The union might be a part of the problem, but they’re certainly not the problem; if you dissolved the union tomorrow, and did nothing else, would graduation rates rise in two years automatically? Of course not.  

5. Is the Oglalla aquifer really going to go dry this century?

It will if you don’t stop taking three bubble baths a day.

6. Why doesn’t Rep. Tipton outline how to cut the federal budget in half?

Our Scott Tipton impression: Why must everyone keep reminding of my pledge to cut the federal government in half? Don’t you people understand that I was just telling the Tea Party what I thought they wanted to hear? I was a STATE Senator at the time, people! How was I supposed to know that more than 60% of the budget is tied up in military spending, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

And let me be clear on this: I pledge to protect Social Security, Medicare and military spending!

7. Why is whatshisnametad still in the penalty box?

Uh…what?

8. Why is anyone a “conservative”? Do they all mean the same thing when they claim to be?

They are all triguardian.

9. Shouldn’t people who believe in the rapture not drive their car at all since they can’t know when they will go?

They can just say that they made a quick run to the store to make sure they had a new toothbrush before they were raptured. God will understand.  

10. Will Dan Caplis ever run for elected office? (And the corollary- why does he suck so much?)

No, Dan Caplis will never run for elected office. He will, however, continue to float his name on his radio show every two years and tell both of his listeners that he is “considering” running for Senate or Governor. It’s not even his fault, really. Dan’s mouth has been on autopilot for 10 years while his brain works on a devious plan to take over the Frank Azar empire. In fact, we’d almost guarantee that Dan will talk about running for Senate next year, even though there is no election for Senate or Governor in Colorado in 2012.  

11. Has the domain Hickinlooper4President been reserved yet?

Nope. The domain name that spells his name correctly is still available, too.

PERA Hopeful asks a couple of questions, including another union query:

1. Whatever happened to Troy Eid?

After stepping down as U.S. Attorney (before he could be officially replaced by President Obama), Eid went back to work at his old lawfirm of Greenberg Traurig. He’s been biding his time until late 2011, at which point he’ll continue his lifelong quest to be mentioned as a potential candidate for every political office in Colorado. With no statewide office up for grabs in 2012, we imagine it will be a tough time in the Eid household because of the limited number of offices to pretend he might target. Eid will definitely float his name for CD-7 at some point, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess!

2. When is Shawn Mitchell term limited, and will he run for AG then?

Mitchell has had one of the more bizarre periods of elected office in recent memory. When he began his legislative career, he was considered a rising star for the GOP…and then he started losing track of his marbles. It was well-known that Mitchell’s ultimate dream was to run for Attorney General, and he was apoplectic when Republican John Suthers was nominated to replace Senator-elect Ken Salazar in 2004 and was allowed to run for two full terms as AG. Since then, Mitchell has gone on a series of weird rants, including open attacks on his fellow Republicans, while also turning into a bodybuilder, or something. He’s term-limited in 2012, but his political career is basically done. Both Democrats and Republicans think Mitchell is a clown, and he couldn’t even get out of the primary if he ran for AG in 2014.  

3. How long do hot flashes last? I’ve had them for years and am ready for them to stop.

Hot flashes are an uncomfortable problem, but there’s good news ahead! [answer redacted by Colorado Pols' attorneys for grievous misuse of Wikipedia in attempt to offer medical advice].

4. I think we can all agree that Ritter’s executive order that allowed state employees to unionize but not bargain on any financial issues was a meaningless sop thrown to the unions.  I mean, yippee: they got to bargain over break times and vacation schedules.  Since that is the case, why are people all wound up about it?

See our response to MADCO in Answer #4 above.

Suthers has delivered his moonlighting opinion to Gessler

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



POLS UPDATE: It’s all over, folks, as the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports:

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has abandoned his plans to do side work for his former law firm, he announced Tuesday afternoon.

In fact, Gessler will not do any side work with any law firm in order to focus on his duties in his new elected position, he said in a letter sent to constituents and the media…

The disclosure was followed by a week and a half of public discussion that included condemnations of his decision and questioning by some lawmakers.

—–

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show Monday that his office has given Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler an opinion regarding his plan to moonlight for his former law firm, but Suthers did not offer further details.

Gessler hasn’t raced to the news media with Suthers’ decision, which means it likely was not a green light, though we obviously don’t know.

The radio show has been breaking newsbits on the Gessler moonlighting story, since it first broke in the Denver Business Journal.

On Thursday, for example, Gessler told Caplis and Siverman that his former law partners were “very uncomfortable” with his idea of making the names of his moonlighting clients public.

Yesterday, with Suthers on the program during the 3 p.m. hour to discuss recent court decisions about the federal health-care bill, Suthers answered the following question from Silverman about Gessler:

Craig: Scott Gessler has asked you for an opinion about whether his moonlighting is ok. You probably can’t tell us your decision, but can you give us some timing on when you might make the call?

John Suthers: We’ve already indicated to Scott what we think the issues are in regard to that decision. And I’m not free to comment what we’ve advised Mr. Gessler.