Media omission: Hudak-recall leaders lash out at fellow Republicans for “obstructing” their efforts

CLARIFICATION 11-10-2013: The Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus originally reported that Recall Hudak Too hired two young staffers who are involved in the signature-gathering effort, but Marcus found no evidence at the time (Marcus’ article was published Oct. 28.) that Kennedy Enterprises was on the payroll. He also reported that RMGO promised financial support.

UPDATE 11-9-13: Here’s a some evidence that McAlpine’s organization, Recall Hudak Too, has money for signature gathering. It might be gearing up in case money comes in, of course. But signs point to a paid effort.


The tone of the Hudak-recall organizers was one of forced optimism this morning, as they told KNUS’ Peter Boyles that they’re “just over half way” to their target goal of signatures, and they blamed Colorado GOP Chair Ryan Call and Colorado Republican leaders for obstructing their efforts and turning fellow Republicans against them.

Recall leader Mike McAlpine said Call is “impeding” and “obstructing” the recall, and doing so “to intimidate [Republican] supporters into not supporting a winning issue.”

Sounding hurt, fellow recall organizer Laura Waters said that, thanks to Ryan Call’s comments, “at certain doors and in certain phone calls, we’re even fighting against our own party.”

In numerous morning appearances on KNUS, McAlpine and Waters have avoided attacking fellow Republicans, but on air today, the anger in their voices was deeper and more explosive when they talked about Republicans than it was when they discussed recall target Sen. Evie Hudak.

Listen to McAlpine and Waters on KNUS 11-8-13

Waters got particularly angry when she talked about receiving a fundraising call Monday from the Republican Party telling her that maybe the State GOP would be organizing recall campaigns.

Waters: “[The GOP phone caller] told me that maybe they would be doing some recalls. But what I think is, they were throwing that word [recall] out there. It’s a buzz word that they know will help raise money.”

McAlpine added that he received an email from the Colorado GOP and Ryan Call “saying by insinuation. ‘Pueblo recall was us; Colorado Springs recall was us; grassroots efforts are us.’ It could not be farther from the truth.”

“Here’s the problem we have,” said Waters. “It seems like it’s just us. It’s us. It’s RMGO.”

Yesterday, I pointed out that the Colorado Statesman and The Denver Post published conflicting information about whether paid staff has been hired to gather signatures for the Hudak recall effort, with the Colorado Statesmen’s Peter Marcus reporting McAlpine as saying that  “his group has not paid a petition-gathering firm.” The Denver Post’s Kurtis Lee, citing anonymous sources, reported that Kennedy Enterprises is on the payroll.

Statesman reporter Peter Marcus defended his reporting in an email to me yesterday, writing that he asked McAlpine if “Kennedy or any other paid gatherers were collecting signatures at all, and that’s when [McAlpine] told me about the two paid staffers. But they’re teenagers, if I remember correctly, so nothing significant.”

Marcus wrote:

I also asked what RMGO has done for them, and they said pledged financial support.

[Recall organizers] also said that paid petition gatherers isn’t off the table. But this was a few weeks ago.

I’ve been pretty hands on. I’ve been to the house they’re organizing at, I’ve been on the street corners with them — there has not seemed to be a paid petition effort. I also live in the district, and I haven’t seen anything but what looks like volunteers on the street. But it’s been a couple weeks now since I’ve really paid attention. Maybe they’ve hired someone at this point.

I don’t know where Kurtis got his info, but it didn’t match what I was told at the time I was writing my story. I’m not sure if he’s actually been down on the street like I have, but I just have had no indication that they’re paying for signatures. I saw how they were organizing at the house they’re working out of in Arvada, and these guys were volunteers. Granted, many of them are not from the district, but there’s nothing illegal there. These recalls have become more than just district issues, I think everyone knows that. If the Democrats can raise millions from Bloomberg and D.C., then I don’t see why recall proponents should be criticized for utilizing help outside the district.

I just checked out their disclosures on TRACER, and they’ve raised about $23,000, with only $358 in non-monetary items. There’s nothing in their expenditures that shows paying for petition gathering. I also don’t see any contributions from RMGO, or any organizations like that. Their effort looks a lot like the one down in Pueblo, which was mostly grassroots.

I also don’t see any expenditures in the RMGO PAC to the recall effort.

They could funnel donations through a C4, but if Recall Hudak Too takes the contributions, they would at least have to list the C4 on their disclosures. So, if RMGO makes a contribution for petition gathering, or any other organization, then it would be listed on the disclosure as a non-monetary contribution, as was the case in Colorado Springs for the recall effort there. I Am Created Equal donated for Kennedy and it was listed as a non-monetary contribution of like $64,000, or something like that.

If Marcus is right, and he makes a convincing case here that paid signature gatherers are not a factor now, you begin to understand the desperation in the voices of Hudak-recall organizers on the radio this morning.

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