Archive for June, 2011

Grassroots Radio Colorado a “permanent fixture” on KLZ 560 AM

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

If you hear a media company promoting itself as, “Crawford Broadcasting, for god and country,” then your bias is to think it’s right wing. But it wouldn’t have to be, of course. Conservatives don’t have a lock on god and country. It could be a progressive station.

But it’s not. It is, in fact, a right-wing outfit. And in Colorado, it manifests itself as Crawford-owned KLZ 560 AM on your radio dial.

The program line-up is mostly syndicated hard-right wingers, but it airs a talk show on local issues as well. The slot used to be hosted by anti-abortion activist Jim Pfaff, whose questioning of Ken Buck caught my attention last year, but he departed from KLZ AM 56o after the election to take a job in Congress.

Now KLZ’s local show is called “Grassroots Radio Colorado,’ and it’s been added to the permanent line-up, after a successful trial period, according to a statement by co-host Ken Clark, reported by blogger Ari Armstrong:

I was told that it could not be done, especially by two guys with zero radio experience and more importantly, in a “major market.” Well, we proved them wrong by hosting the show for over six weeks straight (an audition if you will), after which Crawford agreed to a contract. Now Jason Worley and I are permanent fixtures on 560 KLZ.

“We are the voice of the grassroots liberty movement in Colorado,” Jason Worley said on a recent show.

 That’s the truth. If you want hear and understand the Tea Party, and you want to do it in your breezy car as you head home from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., tune to 560 AM.

Transcript of Rep. Scott Tipton’s interview on the Cari and Rob Show May 31

Monday, June 6th, 2011

As I pointed out last week, Scott Tipton’s May 31 interview on the Cari and Rob radio show raises a number of questions that reporters should put to Tiption. Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Douglas: On April 7th, the following exchange took place between our program and Congressman Scott Tipton.

Douglas: Congressman, I sent to a note this morning and I said in a note that I wanted to give you an opportunity to address an issue that has come before our attention. And that is that your daughter took a job at Broadnet as a government relations specialist in Washington D.C., the same month that you were sworn in as United States Congressman. Can you give us a little background on how your daughter got that job as a government relations specialist.

Scott: What that is, it’s a private company by the way. It does not work for the government. Everybody out here working for private company has government relations specialists that’s on there. She had an internship a year or two years ago with this company. Did a good job. They were opening up the office and offered it to her before the election and she’d accepted it.

Douglas: SO the job offer was made to her prior to the outcome of the election last year?

Scott: Right.

Douglas: Alright, very good.

Douglas: Then last week at the end of the week Allison Sherry and the Denver Post reported in a piece entitled “Colorado Rep. Tipton Apologizes to House Ethics Panel for Improper Emails.” The piece begins like this:

Rep. Scott Tipton may have run afoul of House ethics rules after his 22-year-old daughter dropped his name to land congressional business for her employer, a company that is run by his nephew. Tipton sent a letter late Thursday to the House Ethics Committee apologizing for multiple e-mails his daughter sent to members of Congress. She works as a government relations specialist for Colorado-based Broadnet.

Douglas: Given what took place on our program last April 7th, where we were the first to ask questions asked about the employment of Congressman Tipton’s daughter with Broadnet, and given the further reports given by the Denver Post, Politico, the Associative Press, and a number of other news organizations, both around the state of Colorado and nationally, we thought it only fair to allow Congressman Scott Tipton, someone who’s been a frequent guest on this program, we talk about him being our canary in the coal mines when it comes to following freshman congressman to Washington this term, to allow him to come on our program and address this in some more specificity. Congressman Tipton joins us right now where he is on standby to board a plane back to Washington. Congressman, thank you for joining us on the Cari and Rob program this morning.

Tipton: You bet. Glad to be with you Rob and Cari.

Douglas: Let me focus you on a specific portion of our discussion on April 7th. Please listen to this and I have some follow-up questions for you:

Douglas: Can you give us a little background on how your daughter got that job as a government relations specialist.

Scott: What that is, it’s a private company by the way. It does not work for the government.

Douglas: Congressman, you said there that Broadnet does not work for the government. Did you stand by that statement today?

Tipton: I sure do.

Douglas: How you defining “does not work for the government?”

Tipton: They do not sell directly to the government. They do not sell directly to congressional offices.

Douglas: Okay, so Broadnet has a series of subsidiaries…

Tipton: No, not subsidiaries. Actually I have learned more about this after you broadsided me with that question on the previous one. For a point of clarity when you mentioned Rob out of the open that you had sent me an e-mail as a heads up, I did not receive that. But nevertheless they do not sell to subsidiaries. These are privately held companies that Broadnet, as I have learned, are basically labeled as a technology company. Privately held companies they have no part in lease that technology.

Hermacinski: Congressman, Politico reports that Broadnet provides more than 100 congressional offices with tele-townhall services via various vendors. So I would just have to say to the common person out here, we would say that Broadnet provides services to over 100 congressional offices in return for taxpayer dollars. So I am having a hard time understanding the statement that Broadnet does not work for the government.

Tipton: I am trying to drive correlation there for you can get a sense that you license yours out to privately held radio stations and do they pay you something for that? They probably do. But you have no connection with those privately held radio stations that carry your program. So that’s probably maybe not the best example but it is that same sort of thing where licensed technology that people use that you have no control over these companies or who they sell to and that’s it.

Douglas: Then why would your daughter be writing letters on behalf of Broadnet to your fellow congress people?

Tipton: That is something that Broadnet probably better can answer than I can. But the bottom line is that their job was just to make people aware of the technology company. You know, when we talk about transparency, I think one of the good things that has been coming out are these telephone townhall meetings were people can call in and visit with me directly and ask questions directly. It was creating awareness of that and there are a multiple of these vendors up there. The vendor we use is the same one that John Salazar used and it was the most cost effective.

Douglas: And that vendor works via Broadnet.

Tipton: No that is inaccurate Rob. What that vendor does not work via, they license the technology. That is an important distinction.

Douglas: Alright. Broadnet is owned by your nephew, correct?

Tipton: Correct.

Douglas: OK. You and your daughter share an apartment on Capitol Hill, correct?

Tipton: Mm-mmh.

Douglas: Your daughter went to work for Broadnet officially when?

Tipton: I think she started right after the Christmas [unintelligible]

Douglas: When was she offered that job in relation?

Tipton: It was my understanding, and I can be in error, but it was my understanding, after she had done her internship a year or so ago, that when she was getting ready to graduate from college that they had a job for her.

Douglas: Was there an official offer made to her from Broadnet?

Tipton: I can’t tell you. You know we are getting into the weeds of family business and in her personal business as well. I can’t give you the date because I don’t monitor it that closely.

Douglas: Can you get us that date when you get to Washington?

Tipton: You know, I can probably ask her if she chooses. This has been very difficult on her because she didn’t do anything wrong.

Douglas: Were you aware that Broadnet, through licenses it’s product to subsidiaries that do work was Congress.

Douglas: Was I aware that? Sure.

Douglas: When your daughter accepted the job with Broadnet, a company that is co-founded and run by your nephew, did you ever have discussion with your nephew about the appropriate relationship between Broadnet’s employees and Congress now that you were an elective congressman?

Tipton: No, it’s not my business and they do not sell directly to members of Congress period.

Hermacinski: Congressman, when did you first learn your daughter was using her relationship with you in introductory emails when she was contacting congressional offices? When did you first become aware of that?

Tipton: When a reporter came out. If you really want to get into that. In Washington they have flashcards when you get there to memorize all new freshman’s name and their faces. And when she went in people asked about the relationship and so it was a point of clarity rather than trying to hide something.

Hermacinski: and so how did you first learn about your daughter was using…

Tipton: It was actually through the press. I do not know it.

Douglas: So the press approached you and said are you aware that your daughter has sent e-mails to other offices?

Tipton: And again to underscore that was done innocently as a point of clarity. You know there’s know they are there.

Douglas: In those press contacts, there are a number of the news reports that suggests that there were rumors around Washington that an ethics complaint was going to be filed against you concerning these contacts. Did you learn of those rumors? First of all, did you hear of any of those rumors? Did you learn of those rumors prior to your letter to the ethics committee?

Tipton: Actually, we were proactive. Because when I found out I said it is in your interest not to use my name. And secondly then I was the one who went to the ethics committee, explained it and talked to Congressman Bonner. He said you have no connection to this, there is not an ethics issue, so if you want to send a letter we can get a letter back to you. So I was the one that was proactive on that.

Hermacinski: Congressman Tipton, Politico is also reporting that your spokesperson Josh Green, when asked for a statement on this matter, blamed this on Nancy Pelosi sending her top lap dog to Colorado to engage in some sleazy political attacks on you. So when did you become aware of the fact that Nancy Pelosi and her lap dogs were trying to dig up dirt on you?

Tipton: Well I think anyone with clear vision on it can see this is just politics and its Washington politics and this is the way they do business. Honestly we are going to happen competitive race in the third.
Douglas: What evidence do you have that the Democrats did anything on this?

Tipton: Where did it come from? You were the ones that first raised the question. Maybe you can answer that for me.

Douglas: Well we don’t know. We raised with you Scott on April 7. And the other part of the question that I asked you on April 7th. Let me play that for you as well:

Douglas: okay so the job offer was made her prior to the outcome of the election last year?

Tipton: Right.

Douglas: Alright, very good.

Douglas: That is something would like to get for your office is when she specifically got the job offer. The other question I had Scott is I asked, and I will take you at your word that you did not see my e-mail earlier in the day, but I asked you at the beginning of that what was the relationship between Broadnet and you never mentioned that Broadnet is a family-owned company. Why did not you not mention that?

Tipton: First of all, like I say it was a question that hadn’t even across my mind and I didn’t receive your e-mail to give me a head-up on it to give it some thought. Real honestly Rob, if you want full disclosure, I have got one other nephew that is going to be starting a landscaping business. I didn’t know where all you wanted to go on it and wasn’t aware that I needed to point out every family relationship.

Douglas: Scott, I’m sorry, maybe you think that’s funny but you don’t think that it’s relevant…

Tipton: Given that I didn’t know where your question was going at the very beginning of it which you can probably gather that from my answer. I didn’t realize that I needed to try and connect all of the different dots on it.

Hermacinski: Do think the landscaping business of your other nephew will be provided landscaping services to 100 congressional offices?

Tipton: I don’t know. Cari, we can go on that direction. This is privately held company that does not sell directly to Congress. You can’t you can get away from that very important point. This is licensed out. We have a whole host of vendors that every congressional office has. They do not promote individual vendors. It is just the technology. I think it’s an important role for members of Congress to stay in contact with their office.

Hermacinski: And I want to ask you again. Josh Green, your spokesman, did tell Politico that Nancy Pelosi has sent her top lap dog to Colorado to try to dig up sleazy political attacks on you. What evidence do you have that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are behind this and when did you first become aware of it?

Tipton: Maybe an assumption from the standpoint that I had no personal connection with this issue at all nor did my office. But we have had Steny Hoyer in Colorado soliciting candidates to run in the third. So that was the assumption that Josh made.

Douglas: Okay. It has been announced this morning that Sal Pace is going to challenge you for the third congressional district. What is your reaction?

Tipton: You know, we may have a number of Democratic candidates and that is fine. That is our process works.

Douglas: Alright. Final question Scott. In light of all that has transpired, do think that you were transparent with this show and our audience on April the 7th. When we asked you questions relating to the relationship between Broadnet, your daughter, and her job as a government relations specialist and you said that Broadnet does not work for the government at that time. Do you feel that that was forthcoming and that there was no need to get back to us at some point and let us know that you learned more about how this developed or let our audience know more about how this developed?

Tipton: We’re obviously maybe going to disagree on that. But I think, given that I was broadsided with that question and it is something that we have had nothing to do with, I gave you the information that seemed reasonable as a time. I will underscore again that Broadnet does not sell directly to, they only license out to private companies who then market their product to members. So that was forthcoming.

Douglas: Did you know at that time that their licensees did work with more than 100 congressional offices on the hill?

Tipton: I had no idea. They have been in business for a long time. Long before I got here.

Douglas: When did you start using one of their licensees?

Tipton: Actually we picked up the same vendor that John Salazar used. We have had one townhall meeting.

Douglas: And you did not know that licensee was licensed through Broadnet.

Tipton: You know, we look strictly a price and I found out that they do license it. But that was not a consideration. We were trying to the most cost-effective way of reaching our constituents.

Douglas: Okay, you do live with your daughter on Capitol Hill. Did she ever raised the issue of the letter with you and/or the fact that she was going to mention in the letters that she was your daughter.

Tipton; Yea. I would like to underscore again, it was a point of reference because people queried her about whether or not she was my daughter and she used it as a point of reference. That was her stand on it and when I found out about I said don’t do that and she readily agreed.
Douglas: Okay, final question. Congress will vote tonight on a up or down bill on the debt ceiling. Your vote will be…

Tipton: No.

Douglas: Okay, very good. Scott we know you are just about to board plane at DIA for Washington. Thank you so much for joining us on the program today and look forward talking to you again.

Talk show host’s personal investment history hasn’t affected his views on PERA

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

A reader of my blog recently suggested that I ask KOA’s talk-radio host Mike Rosen if his personal investment losses, which made a big splash in the local media a few years back, gave him any qualms about his argument for the privatization of PERA, Colorado’s pension plan for government workers.

In 2009, Rosen told the Rocky Mountain News that he had invested a “seven-figure” sum, roughly 80 percent of his net worth, with the  Boulder-based Agile Group, which invested indirectly with Bernie Madoff. The Agile Group, which Rosen had promoted on his radio station, suspended redemption requests, and Rosen told the Rocky he lost a lot of money.

“I might have to work for more years than I had planned and I might not be able to retire as comfortably as I had planned,” he told the Rocky.

But his own experience doesn’t seem to have affected his view that the government cannot afford to guarantee the pension plans of its workers. Here’s what Rosen emailed me:

The “retirement money” of government employees under PERA isn’t protected by PERA, it’s protected by the taxpayers who are forced to cover any PERA shortfalls; the very same private sector taxpayers who are relying on their own “unprotected” 401(k)s for retirement income.  PERA’s investment portfolio includes mostly private sector stocks, bonds and investment funds.  If PERA switched to a defined contribution plan for future retirees, those government workers would be on equal footing with private sector workers.

Government workers who want more investment security could direct their 401(k) defined contribution plan investments to Treasury bills or FDIC insured accounts which offer lower returns in exchange for more security.  That’s the kind of choice private sector employees on defined contribution plans have to make, including me.  “Guaranteed” defined benefit pension plans are no longer viable.  Future taxpayers shouldn’t be held liable for the irresponsible promises made by past, current or future politicians of guaranteed retirement benefits to government workers.  In Flemming v. Nestor (1960), the US Supreme Court ruled that not even Social Security benefits are guaranteed and can be changed by Congress at any time.     

My personal investment experience hasn’t changed my options.  And no one is guaranteeing me defined retirement benefits.

Maybe the government should guarantee everyone’s investments in anything.  We’ll just add those future liabilities to the national debt.  That’s absurd, of course, but I wouldn’t put it past some budding socialist to demand it.              

Radio hosts deserve credit for trying to get Tipton to clarify when daughter got job offer

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

In another exemplary radio interview on the Glenwood-Springs Cari and Rob Show yesterday, hosts Rob Douglas and Cari Hermancinski grilled Rep. Scott Tipton, whom they call a House-freshman “canary in the coal mine,” about his daughter’s job with technology company whose licensed products are sold by other companies to congressional offices.

The two hosts were particularly direct with Tipton about the offer and start date of his daughter’s job with the Washington DC firm.

On April 7, on the same radio show, Tipton said the company “offered it [the job] to her [his daughter] before the election.”

To make sure he had it straight April 7, host Rob Douglas asked Tipton if his daughter had started her job “before the outcome of the last election.”

Tipton said, “Yes.”

But The Denver Post reported Friday that Tipton’s daughter started full-time in January, when Tipton took office.

Douglas tried unsuccessfully yesterday to get the story straight.

Douglas: Your daughter went to work for Broadnet officially when?

Tipton: I think she started right after the Christmas term.

Douglas: When was she offered that job?

Tipton: It was my understanding after she had done her internship here a year or so ago, that when she was getting ready to graduate from college, that they had a job for her.

Douglas: Was there an official offer made to her from Broadnet?

Tipton: You know Rob, I can’t tell ya. We’re getting into the weeds of family business and her personal business as well. I can’t give you the date because I don’t monitor it that closely.

Douglas: Can you get us that date after you get to Washington?

Tipton: I can probably ask her if she chooses. This has been very difficult on her because she hasn’t done anything wrong.

Douglas is right to be annoyed by the strange squirrelliness on Tipton’s part. (And he expressed his frustration in greater detail to the Colorado Independent.)

Douglas  should ask Tipton directly if his daughter’s job was tied to his congressional victory. It’s a reasonable question, given that Tipton’s daughter has been using her father’s name in letters to members of Congress.

You might think Douglas is going nowhere with his questions about when the job offer was made to Tipton’s daughter, and you may be right, especially since Broadnet is owned by Tipton’s nephew and Tipton’s daughter had a part-time job with the company before she started work full-time.

Still, it’s a reasonable question and Douglas should stay after it.

My guess is that Douglas will follow-up, especially because his show apparently was the first media outlet to question Tipton, in an April 7 interview, about his daughter’s job with Broadnet.

Instead of crediting the Cari and Rob Show with raising the issue first, Tipton’s spokesperson blamed Democrat Nancy Pelosi for sending a “lap-dog” to Colorado to “fire up the rumor mill with a cheap Washington political attack on a 22-year-old girl,” according to Politico.

Asked by Douglas and Hermancinski for evidence that Pelosi was pushing the story about his daughter and Broadnet, Tipton acknowledged he had no such evidence. “Maybe it was an assumption,” he said.

The Cari and Rob Show’s questioning of Tipton is getting noticed. Last month, Tipton admitted he’s lost trust in House Speaker Boehner, after he agreed to a budget compromise opposed by Tipton.

Tipton later backtracked, saying to a national blog that has confidence in Boehner, but he never returned to the Cari and Rob Show to explain why he has a more positive view of Boehner, despite promises by both Douglas and Tipton that he would do so.