Archive for the 'Boulder Daily Camera' Category

Media Omission: Lawsuits could illuminate if top Republicans knew of GOP-funded anti-Tancredo campaign

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

During this year’s GOP primary, top Colorado Republicans, including Colorado GOP Chair Ryan Call and Attorney General John Suthers, claimed to have no knowledge of a GOP-funded campaign attacking Republican candidates Tom Tancredo and Laura Woods.

Matt Arnold, who runs Campaign Integrity Watchdog, has a hard time believing this, and he thinks a couple of campaign-finance lawsuits he’s filed have a chance, even if it’s a bit of a long shot, of  clarifying things. See them by clicking on “Complaint Search” here and typing “Campaign Integrity Watchdog” in the “organization” line.

Arnold’s legal action follows up on revelations in July that the Republican Governors Association (RGA) funneled money through the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) to attack GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo.

The question is, can the discovery process during technical and narrow campaign-finance legal proceedings illuminate broader information indicating, for example, whether Ryan Call knew about RAGA’s involvement in the Tancredo attacks? Like Call, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who’s on the board of RAGA, has also said he didn’t know about RAGA’s or the RGA’s role in the anti-Tancredo campaign.

Experts told me Arnold will have to be lucky if he can even use the discovery process during legal proceedings to turn up this information. Bu it’s not impossible and will depend on the timeline and substance of the cases, judicial discretion and other factors. Normally, campaign-finance lawsuits, especially if they don’t allege collaboration, are decided rather quickly, leaving little time between the hearing and a trial for much discovery, like depositions and document requests.

One of Arnold’s complaints alleges that Colorado Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity, a state campaign committee, violated campaign finance laws by listing contributions from Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity, a federal superpac that received money from RAGA, as in-kind expenditures.  And the federal Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity also failed to make any disclosure when it contributed to Colorado Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity, as required by state law, according to Arnold.

Another complaint alleges that the Colorado Republican Party Independent Expenditure Committee (CORE) did not report its website’s attack ads against Democrats during the final 60 days of the last election.

Arnold also alleges in this complaint that CORE illegally “coordinated fundraising activities (contributions), expenditures, and electioneering communications with one or more candidate committees”—opening up a legal process that could illuminate who knew about the anti-Tancredo campaign.

“Through ignorance or not caring, Ryan Call set up his donors to take a fall,” said Arnold, who is not known to defend Democrats very often and normally espouses conservative causes, like Clear the Bench.

“To me, it’s not about partisan politics,” said Arnold. “It’s about integrity. The political class is more interested in making themselves look good than in doing the right thing.”

For his part, Tancredo, who’s so angry at RGA President Chris Christie that he’s started a Stop Chris Christie PAC, praises Arnold’s legal work. Talking with his good friend KNUS’ Peter Boyles Dec. 17, Tancredo said:

TANCREDO: “I’m hoping that what happens with these complaints that have been filed by [Integrity Campaign Watchdog] and by Matt Arnold, I hope that most Republicans will at least find out about it, and remember this when it comes time to vote for leadership in this Party, here in Colorado, which will be, by the way, in February and March.”

Tancredo did not tell Boyles whom he’d back as a replacement for Call, but he did say:

TANCREDO: “Obama was the reason why, across the nation, the Republicans did as well as they did.  And in Colorado, they should have done a lot better, of course.”

“You understand that I believe — this is my personal belief, here–that Ryan Call, the Republican Party chair here in Colorado, is up to his nose in [the RGA/RAGA attacks]. I believe he knew about it,” Tancredo said to Boyles.

On another radio program, KNUS’s Jimmy Sengenberger Show, replayed on Saturday, Suthers responded to Tancredo directly:

SUTHERS: “I’m understanding that on your program, Tom Tancredo accused me of having knowledge of [the RAGA involvement in the Tancredo attacks], and I have no knowledge whatsoever of it,” said Suthers, adding later that he didn’t think it was appropriate for RAGA to attack Tancredo. “I don’t know how it happened. I do think, unfortunately, that some of these organizations are used for conduits. And it appears the governors came to the Republican AGs. I will tell you, it did not go through the executive committee as a whole. Whether the chairman sanctioned it or not, I don’t know. And to this day, I don’t know. And I’ve never had that clarified. I do not know how that happened.”

Full story of Magpul’s gruesome CO connection to Sandy Hook has yet to be told

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Update 1/2/2013: A new chapter in the Magpul story unfolded today when the company announced, in a news release, that it’s moving its Colorado operations to Wyoming and Texas.

If company executives talk to reporters about the move, it would be a good time to bring up the unpleasant subject of Sandy Hook, where the shooter used a 30-round magazine made in Colorado.

Magpul declined to talk to reporters about the Newtown shooting when Connecticut State Police originally reported that a Magpul magazine was used.

And Magpul said nothing after photos were released Dec. 27, as part of a police report, showing its 30-round magazine at the crime scene. In the photos, you can read “Magpul Industries” and “PMAG 30″ on the magazine.

Maybe reporters in Wyoming and Texas will have better luck than journalists here in extracting a comment from Magpul about Sandy Hook and the magazines in these photos:

Police photo showing Magpul magazine used at Sandy Hook


















Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, where 20 children were gunned down at Sandy-Hook Elementary School by a shooter using a 30-round bullet holder made in Colorado.

Erie-based Magpul Industries hasn’t commented on the fact that the Newtown shooter used its 30-round magazine at Sandy Hook—or on the possibility that the gunman might not have had a 30-round mag at all if a 15-round magazinelimit (opposed vehemently by Magpul) had been in place in Connecticut or nationally.

But Magpul has been anything but silent on gun-safety issues over the past year or so, as Colorado journalists have reported in bits and pieces. Here’s a quick look at what we know of the larger Magpul story.

Before it was known that a Magpul magazine was used at Sandy Hook, Magpul lobbied hard against Colorado’s proposed legislation to limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds, testifying in the same Feb. 12 and March 4 legislative hearings as Jean Dougherty, sister of the slain Newtown psychologist Mary Sherlach.

Opponents of Colorado’s gun-safety legislation embraced Magpul and promoted the company as their ally. During the debate about the magazine bill, Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman stated that a Magpul magazine had been used by Navy Seals to kill Osama bin Laden. Sen. Greg Brophy offered up his Capitol parking space to a Magpul promotional truck.

After the magazine limit became law, Magpul contributed 20,000 30-round magazines, decorated with a skull & crossbones, to a June 30 fundraising event for recall campaigns targeting State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

Of the 20,000 magazines donated by Magpul, 1,500 were given away, and the rest sold at the fundraiser for $10 each, with all proceeds going to an organization called Free Colorado, a newly formed 501c4 nonprofit advocating gun rights, with registered agent Katherine Kennedy who’s the agent for many Republican 527 and independent expenditure groups. Free Colorado announced that all funds from the Magpul rally would be spent specifically on the recall efforts of Morse and Giron.

At the event, held in Glendale, gun extremist Dana Loesch arrived in a Magpul helicopter to give away the free magazines and thrill the crowd.

Free Colorado kept its promise, running its own television ad against Morse and Giron. Television-station information reveals that Free Colorado purchased over $100,000 worth of cable and broadcast time for political ads targeting the recalls.

Of course, Magpul threatened to leave Colorado, if the Legislature passed gun-safety legislation, including a 15-round mag limit. The bills became law in March, but Magpul showed no signs of re-locating its manufacturing operations or, apparently, its political activities, though the company told the Boulder Daily Camera in October that the move is still planned.

So the Sandy Hook anniversary is coming up tomorrow, and as I wrote above, nothing has been heard from Magpul about its connection to the shooting. It appears that in March, a Magpul executive made rather crude references to Sandy Hook in online discussion forums, and the company issued a formal statement on its website after the shooting. And Magpul executive Duane Liptak, during a radio interview with Denver’s own Mike Rosen, addressed speculation about the possible use of a Magpul magazine at Sandy Hook.

There’s a lot for Magpul to reflect on, beyond its gruesome connection to Sandy Hook. I’m hoping a determined journalist has more luck than I’ve had getting through.


Media omission: Magpul hasn’t always been silent about Sandy Hook, like it is now

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

After news broke Tuesday that the mass murderer at Sandy Hook used a 30-round magazine manufactured by Magpul, a (still) Colorado company, local reporters naturally tried to reach Magpul executives for a reaction.

But Magpul didn’t return calls yesterday from the Boulder Daily Camera, Fox 31 Denver, or The Denver Post.

Rather than simply report Magpul’s silence, reporters should have informed us of previous comments by Magpul executives about the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Asked in March, during an appearance on KOA radio, how he’d feel if one of his company’s 30-round magazines was used by the killer at Sandy Hook, Magpul Industries executive Duane Liptak said:

Liptak: “Address the individual behavior and the criminal, not the instrument.”

In a online discussion forum about Newtown in March, Liptak wrote: “It’s unfortunate that the 363 days last year that did not include a high-profile mass shooting by an insane individual received less attention than the 2 days that did.”

In another online discussion in March about whether video games are the cause of violence, Liptak wrote:

Liptak: “That’s the issue.  Instill a moral code, responsibility, and respect for others…and viola…your young man doesn’t grow up to be a doucherocket.”

Liptak promised readers of the online forum in Jan. that he (presumably through Magpul)would take action in the 2014 election in response to the Colorado Legislature’s gun-safety legislation, which was arguably at least partially a response to Sandy Hook:  “We’re working on our ‘Free Colorado’ campaign right now, but we may not have it launched in time to stop this [gun legislation].  At the very least, we’ll continue to push it through the 2014 elections. :-)

Liptak’s comments about Sandy Hook on the radio and in the online forums contrasted with a more empathetic statement issued by Magpul Dec. 18, 2012 shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting:

We at Magpul are deeply saddened by the acts of violence in our nation, and our hearts and condolences go out to the families who have suffered such tragic losses. These acts of pure evil, committed by deranged individuals with no morals, nor respect for life, are enough to shake one’s faith in human nature. Still, amidst these criminal atrocities, things are brought back into perspective by the actions of those like the teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook, who, unarmed and untrained, put themselves in the path of this violence in courageous attempts to protect those in their charge. Actions like this, those by the passengers of United Flight 93 on 9/11, and the daily sacrifices of our service members and their families bolster our belief in the power of personal responsibility and humble us in our gratitude that such courageous and unselfish individuals vastly outnumber the villains in our midst.


Beezley says Camera got his ADA position wrong

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

On Friday, Colorado State House candidate Don Beezley told me he supports the Americans with Disabilities Act, despite disparaging comments he made about it.

He said he’d like to see the state, not the federal government, make and enforce its own ADA-like law, but he nonetheless supports the act.

On Saturday, someone shot me an email pointing out that Beezley had previously told the Boulder Daily Camera that he opposed the ADA. The Camera reported Sept. 1:

Beezley also wrote [in 2005] about his opposition to the ADA, which he said forced him to make costly renovations to a restaurant he owned.

“I spent $5,000 to redo the bathrooms (on a small budget with no money). Prior to that, it had been a pleasure to help a disabled person out with a tray, a door or whatever. After that, I could only think, ‘you better use my d*** bathroom!’ when someone rolled in. ADA took other human beings from being someone with a challenge whom it might be a joy to help, and turned them into a burden. An enemy.” Beezley wrote in 2005.

Beezley said he still opposes the act, which he believes caused a preschool to discriminate against his diabetic son when it denied him admission.

“I think it’s very well-intentioned legislation, but like much other legislation, it’s had unintended consequences,” Beezley said Wednesday.

So, what’s the deal? Did the Camera err in reporting that Beezley opposes the ADA? Or did I get it wrong?

“It’s settled law at this point time, for the most part, and it is what it is,” he said.  “But I think these things need to happen at the state level.

Asked directly if he opposes the ADA, Beezley said, “No.”