Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

Media omission: Gun group’s attack ad appears to violate campaign-finance rules

Friday, October 24th, 2014

A “Rocky Mountain Gun Owners” attack advertisement, mailed to constituents of State Sen. Andy Kerr, appears to violate a couple of campaign finance rules.

The return address on the ad reads, RMGO SuperPAC, but the disclaimer lists the sponsoring organization as “Rocky Mountain Gun Owners SuperPAC.”

Neither entity has reported a campaign expenditure attacking Kerr, according to campaign finance reports, so there’s almost certain violation of the 48-hour reporting rule currently in effect.

Another problem, “Rocky Mountain Gun Owners SuperPAC,” does not exist on Secretary of State’s website, and sponsoring organizations must file reports. Obviously, this could be a typo-like error, but it’s still a likely violation.

Here’s the text of the ad, with a surprising last line:

When seconds count, Andy Kerr wants to leave you defenseless

Vote No to Kerr in the Nov. 4 Election

Andy Kerr wants to leave you vulnerable to armed rapists when you’re working the late shift to make ends meet

Kerr voted to make YOU liable if you defend yourself at your workplace

Kerr also voted to make women pay a fee and get government pre-approval to borrow or buy a gun for protection against a deranged stalker or violent and abusive ex the next time he violates the “restraining order.”

While criminal gang-bangers run around Denver with unlimited ammo, Young [sic?] voted to cap your firearms to 15 rounds. [BigMedia emphasis]

Click here to see RMGO’s mailer ad attacking mostly Kerr but Young too 10 21-14

So, you can see that in the last line of the advertisement, there’s an abrupt change from outrageously attacking Kerr to outrageously attacking “Young,” possibly meaning State Rep. Dave Young, who’s been the object of attack mail.

It’s a strange strategy to dedicate one bullet point, if you will, in Kerr’s ad to Young, but RMGO’s logic usually escapes me and most normal people.

Media omission: RMGO funneling money in apparent recognition of toxicity of its own brand

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

With all the negative attention on Rocky Mountain Gun Owners of late, you’d think the outfit might want to hide its name when it attempts to influence voters. On the other hand, RMGO isn’t known to care about what normal people think.

It appears, though, RMGO has actually gotten the message that its RMGO name scares people. Instead of simply using its independent expenditure committee “RMGO SUPERPAC” to oppose at least one state senate candidate, RMGO is sending money to do so to an entity called “Colorado Liberty PAC.”

Exactly $55,000 of the $60,000 donated to Colorado Liberty PAC comes from RMGO. (The other $5,000 came from the “Colorado Tea Party.”)

And the designated filing agent for Colorado Liberty PAC is Joseph Neville, who runs RMGO in Colorado and serves as its notorious lobbyist here. So RMGO apparently controls Colorado Liberty PAC. Neville did not return an email seeking comment.

In turn, Colorado Liberty PAC is sending mailers attacking SD 22 candidate Andy Kerr, who’s Jeffco district is populated by people whom, RMGO has apparently concluded, don’t like the RMGO brand.

See a Colorado Liberty PAC mailer attacking Andy Kerr 10-2014.

And another one attacking Kerr.

Laura Woods’ anti-freedom stance on personhood turns off libertarian blogger

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

If you don’t know about Ari Armstrong’s “Defend Liberty Always” blog, you should take a look at it. In this post, Armstrong, who’s a detail-oriented, deep-thinking libertarian, explains why he can’t vote for state senate candidate Laura Woods.

I confess that I tried not to look too closely at the Republican candidate for my Colorado senate district (number 19), Laura Woods, because I was afraid of what I might find. After gleefully witnessing the fall of Evie Hudack following her reckless, Bloomberg-inspired campaign against peaceable gun owners (after which Democrats replaced her with Rachel Zenzinger, now the Democratic candidate), I really wanted the seat to turn Republican.

After the fiascos of ObamaCare (implications of which played out in the state legislature), the Democrats’ persecution of gun owners, the Democrats’ war on energy producers and consumers, and other matters, this would have been an excellent year for the GOP to punish the Democrats and win back some seats. But, Republicans being Republicans (aka “The Stupid Party”), Republicans in my district nominated a candidate I cannot possible vote for.

Thus, just a couple of weeks after announcing I planned to vote a straight-Republican ticket, I now have to make an exception and declare that I cannot and will not vote for Laura Woods. The basic problem is that Woods enthusiastically endorses total abortion bans, including the insane and horrific “personhood” measure on the ballot this year.

Armstrong writes frequently and thoughtfully about how personhood amendments would violate the basic freedoms a women should have in America. Woods went too far down the personhood path for Armstrong.

And if other self-identifying libertarian pundits in town, like the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara, are going to be consistent, they should agree with Armstrong.

Will the primary dance on gay marriage end for candidates like Sanchez?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

A familiar pattern among GOP candidates in Colorado has been to openly oppose gay-marriage during primary season and then try to sweep such positions away for the general election.

You have to doubt that this week’s developments on gay marriage will change this dance, as exemplified by >GOP state senate candidate Tony Sanchez.

Sanchez came out strong against same-sex marriage prior to his unexpected primary victory in June, stating on his campaign website at the time:

Sanchez: “I will protect the lives of the most vulnerable, defend traditional marriage, and protect your right for personal/religious liberty.”

But shortly after his primary win, the “Pro-life, Pro-family, Pro-liberty” section of his website, including his promise to “defend traditional marriage” vanished completely, in an apparent makeover move for Jeffco voters.

The cleaning up of his website apparently hasn’t done much to help Sanchez raise money. Sanchez and fellow Rocky-Mountain-Gun-Owner-backed candidate Laura Woods are lagging way behind their non-RMGO-backed GOP counterparts from the 2012 election cycle.

Sanchez and Woods are running in swing Jeffco state Senate districts that Republicans had hoped might flip the state senate over to the GOP.

Here is a comparison, from campaign finance reports, of Sanchez’  fundraising totals in 2014 (vs. Summers’ in 2012) to Laura Woods’  fundraising totals in 2014 (vs. Sias’ in 2012):

Ken Summers (SD 22 candidate in 2012)

Total raised (full cycle): $ 130,000

Cash-on-hand (Oct. 1) : $ 80,000

Tony Sanchez (SD 22 candidate in 2014)

Total Rasied (Oct. 1) $ 69,000

Cash on hand (Oct. 1): $ 19,000

Lang Sias (SD 19 Candidate in 2012)

Total raised (full cycle): $ 123,000

Cash on hand (Oct. 1): $ 74,000

Laura Woods (SD 19 Candidate in 2014)

Total Raised (Oct. 1): $ 99,000

Cash on hand (Oct. 1): $ 27,000

 

 

Media omission: Personhood ties run deep in Jeffco GOP campaigns

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

I wrote last week about how senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s support for Colorado’s personhood abortion ban was part of his formula for winning the 2010 Republican caucus process, which was a big step to his being elected to Congress.

If you look at the State Senate races in Jefferson County today, you see that the influence of key personhood backers persists, meaning that Cory Gardner would have likely faced the same pressure to embrace personhood positions today as he did then. Gardner, of course, did not run in Jeffco, but similar dynamics play out statewide.

And don’t forget that Jefferson County is the most critical battleground between Democrats and Republicans for control of the state legislature. The swing district could also decide Colorado’s Governor and U.S. Senate races, and the outcome of Colorado’s Senate contest could put the entire U.S. Senate in Democratic or Republican hands.

The latest campaign finance reports reveal that Jeffco Republican candidates Tim Neville (SD-16), Laura Woods (SD-19), and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) all have notorious GOP strategic consultant Jon Hotaling on the payroll via his company, “Liberty Service Corporation.” Liberty Service Corporation was Sanchez’s largest expenditure ($1,750) during the latest campaign-finance-reporting period and the second largest for Woods ($1,000) and Neville ($1,000).

Hotaling’s firm has worked over the years for Rep. Janak Joshi, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, and other personhood supporters, most notably for Colorado For Equal Rights, which ran the pro-personhood campaign, fronted by Kristi Burton, in 2008, according to campaign-finance reports. In 2008, Hotaling collected about $12,000 from Colorado For Equal Rights.

So a major consultant for Personhood is deeply integrated into the campaigns of the three Republican senate candidates in Jeffco. Neville, Sanchez, and Woods all support personhood, as defined by Colorado Right to Life, based on their responses to its candidate survey this year.

Using what Republicans themselves called unethical tactics, Woods and Sanchez hammered their Republican primary opponents on the abortion issue during their primary campaigns against Lang Sias and Mario Nicolais.

In one flyer produced by “Colorado for Family Values,” (see link below), Nicolais was pictured next to openly-gay Democrat Pat Steadman and accused of advancing the “radical agenda of gay marriage” by supporting civil unions.

A search for Colorado for Family Values on the Secretary of State’s website returns, “Decommissioning Colorado for Family Values,” which was previously called “Colorado for Family Values.” Its agent is Mark Hotaling, Jon’s brother. No expenditures are listed, apparently indicating a campaign-finance violation, like the one that prompted a complaint Tuesday by Colorado Ethics Watch against Colorado Campaign for Life and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

The bulk mail permit (#255) used for 2014 mailers against Sias by the Christian Coalition of Colorado, a staunch anti-abortion group previously directed by both Jon and his brother Mark Hotaling, is identical to the bulk mail permit number used by Colorado for Family Values for Gosnell mailers against Nicolais.

(Click here to see the Christian Coalition of Colorado mailer using bulk permit #255 and the Colorado for Family Values mailer using bulk permit #255.)

pile of accusations point to Hotaling as using similar mailers and messaging to destroy his past opponents, Republicans or Democrats.

For example, Hotaling was accused of orchestrating dirty tricks in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary victory in 2006 over talk-show host Jeff Crank and CO Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera. In that race, a mailer linked to Hotaling and his brother accused the ultra-conservative Crank and Rivera, of supporting the “homosexual agenda.” And you can imagine how that was received by Colorado Springs Republicans. On his KVOR radio show, Crank still talks bitterly about the race.

The mailed advertisement against Crank came from the Christian Coalition of Colorado, directed at the time by Jon Hotaling’s brother Mark, who’d just taken over the organization from brother Jon, who’d left to run Lamborn’s campaign.

Hotaling, who was once Marilyn Musgrave’s campaign manager, has been investigated by the Federal Election Commission (See graphic on page 9.).

I didn’t receive a response to phone and/or email messages offering Jon and Mark Hotaling, Sanchez, Woods, and Neville a chance to respond to the issues raised in this blog post.

I’m not saying all personhood backers are anything like Jon Hotaling.

My point in this short blog post, and there’s more where this came from, is that the personhood pressure, in its various forms, faced by Gardner as he worked his way to power, is still very much alive within Colorado’s GOP, even in Jeffco, one of the entire country’s most critical swing counties.

This post was updated 9/13/2014

Media omission: State Senate candidate Sanchez accuses Kerr of narcissism and abuse

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

About a week after State Rep. Chris Holbert alleged that Gov. John Hickenlooper “treats us like his abused spouse,” State Senate candidate Tony Sanchez said people “feel like they’ve been in an abuse relationship” with lawmakers like Obama and Sanchez’s Democratic opponent Andy Kerr, both of whom Sanchez called “narcissists.”

Even within the mean-world politics that surrounds us, it should be news when one candidate accuses his opponent of narcissism and abuse.

Sanchez did not return my call yesterday asking to discuss the comments, which were made Aug. 12 on KLZ 560-AM’s nooner show Freedom560, and to explain why he thinks the extreme accusations of narcissism and abuse are warranted.

Sanchez: “If we keep talking about those that should not be named, we empower them, their narcissism. We don’t want any more narcissists, whether it’s Obama, whether it’s Andy Kerr. We want people who are there to listen to us and understand that we matter. That’s what people are feeling, like they don’t matter. They feel like they’ve been in an abuse relationship and that we’ve enabled that abuse relationship. Here I am saying, people matter. We matter. And that’s exactly where we need to be going, I think.”

By saying, “we’ve enabled that abuse,” Sanchez shows he agrees with the characterization.

In June, Sanchez prevailed in the GOP primary over attorney Mario Nicolais, in a race marked by comparable extremism, unaddressed by Sanchez.

For example, in one flyer produced by Colorado Campaign for Life, Nicolais was pictured next to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor convicted of murdering babies, above the caption: “Kermit Gosnell and his ‘House of Horrors’ abortion mill operated in secrecy for 17 years before his murderous crimes became infamous. Ask Mario why he won’t publicly defend the unborn? Call Mario…”
A similar flyer targeting GOP state senate candidate Lang Sais was first embraced by Sais’ opponent, Laura Woods, then denounced by Woods, who reportedly wrote that she had “more respect for my opponent than what was implied” in the Gosnell comparison.

But I can’t find any record of Sanchez denouncing the Gosnell flyer targeting Nicolais.

Listen to Sanchez on KLZ Freedom560 8.12.14

See the Colorado Campaign for Life 2014 GOP Primary Mailer Targeting Mario Sanchez Opponent Mario Nicolais.

Media omission: Holbert stands behind statement likening Hick actions to spousal abuse

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

In a Facebook posting yesterday, state Republican Rep. Chris Holbert wrote that Gov. John Hickenlooper “treats us like we are his abused spouse.”

In explaining why he’d vote for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Holbert wrote in response to a Facebook post of one of Holbert’s Facebook friends:

Because Hickenlooper treats us like we are his abused spouse. He smiles and tells us that things will be better, signs bills into law that trample on the freedom and prosperity of the People, apologizes, becomes angry when we don’t forget, swears at us, then promises to abuse us again.

Don’t put Hickenlooper back in office for another four years. That ONE person can cancel out anything that a Republican Senate might accomplish. Don’t allow ONE Governor to cancel out 18 or more Senators who would work to repeal eight years of Democrat control.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Holbert stood behind the comments.

Asked if he thought his comparison to spousal abuse could be offensive to actual abused spouses and others concerned about domestic violence, Holbert said:

Holbert: “I think there are various kinds of abuse, and what I am pointing to is verbal. I’m not comparing it to physical abuse. People would have greater respect for the governor if he would have one story and stick to it.”

“He tells us one thing and tells his supporters another thing,” Holbert said, explaining his Facebook post further. “He suggested to the sheriffs that he didn’t talk to Bloomberg and records show he did. He apologized for signing bills that he claims he didn’t understand were so controversial. And then he talked to Eli Stokols, I believe, and says he’d sign the bills again. So which doe he mean? I feel that’s abusive to the people of Colorado who look to him for leadership.”

Principles left unexamined in Woods’ on-air suggestion that unaffiliated vote as Republicans in GOP Primary

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The day before the Republican primary, in which Republican Laura Woods triumphed over Lang Sias for the right to take on Democratic State Senator Rachel Zenzinger, Woods made the following comment on the KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado:

WOODS: “…tomorrow, if you’re an unaffiliated voter, and you don’t want more of the same, go down to the polling place, change to a Republican for a day or two, fill out a ballot, and then after the primary, if you don’t want to stay a Republican, you don’t have to stay. You can unaffiliate again. But you can be a part of the change right now by electing somebody who is going to stand up for the Constitution.”

Listen to Woods suggest unaffiliated voters briefly switch parties to help her win GOP primary 6-23-14

There’s nothing illegal about Woods’ suggestion, but the folks down at KLZ, including host Kristina Cook, are all about “principles.”

How principled is it to try to win a Republican primary with the votes of fake Republicans? It doesn’t appear that Woods’ suggestion made any difference in the election, but if I were running the show at Grassroots Radio Colorado, I would have asked Woods about her idea that unaffiliated voters should join the GOP for “a day or two.” But it’s done now.

Woods’ love of vouchers goes unchallenged, as usual

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

I can tell you I’ve heard plenty of love for vouchers on conservative talk radio. I can also tell you I rarely hear a grain of sand fall in opposition.

Typical of the unchallenged statements is the one below, from State Senate candidate Laura Woods from KLZ 560-AM’s Wake Up with Randy Corporon June 2. Waters is fighting Lang Sias in a State Senate primary Tuesday to take on Democrat Rachel Zenzinger.

State Senate Candidate Laura Woods: I am a believer in empowering teachers. I want teachers to be empowered to use the skills that they’ve been given to teach our kids, and mold and shape creative geniuses to come out of our schools. For that to happen, we need to get Common Core out of our schools. I’m in favor of parental choice where school is concerned. I would be very much in favor of a voucher system for schools. And I would support private school, home school, charter school, public school, across the board, evenly, so that parents have the choice in whatever they choose, their kids get the best education possible.

Listen to Laura Woods on KLZ 6.2.14

Her words flow over the airwaves free from any resistance from critical thought.

Here’s a Politico article that Corporon can save in his pocket and pull out next time he has Woods or another voucher lover on his show. Titled, “Vouchers Don’t Do Much for Students,” the article provides a good national glimpse at the problems with vouchers.

But behind the outrage is an inconvenient truth: Taxpayers across the U.S. will soon be spending $1 billion a year to help families pay private school tuition — and there’s little evidence that the investment yields academic gains.

Talk radio does us a service by offering candidates a comfortable place to talk about religion

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

A candidate’s religious or godless beliefs are too often ignored by the dwindling press, so we should be grateful to the radio hosts on KLZ AM-560 for giving candidates the chance to talk openly about how religion guides their lives and decisions.

I mean, it’s a public service to know that State Senate candidate Laura Woods, who’s running for the seat currently occupied by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger,  will look narrowly to the Constitution and the Bible to guide her if she’s elected. And that God directs Woods in a “real sense.”

Conservative talk radio is apparently seen by candidates as a safe and comfortable place to talk openly about God, and it’s a public service for all of us to hear the religious discussions that bless the airwaves there.

I previously reported on gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo’s belief, as stated on talk radio, that God has a plan for him. Woods offered her thoughts on the topic on two recent shows.

On his nooner show on KLZ 560-AM, called “Freedom 560,” Ken Clark had this discussion with Woods on June 4:

Clark: Yeah. So, let’s talk about your candidacy. What is the platform that you’re running on?

Woods: I’m running on a liberty platform. That’s who I am. I believe in the Constitution, the
Bill of Rights, the declaration of independence. And I will stand with those documents every day I’m in office. The Constitution and the Bible will be the two books that I use to govern me in doing that job. So that’s Constitutional conservative, smaller government, lower taxes, conservative.

Listen to Woods on KLZ’s Freedom 560 with Ken Clark 6.4.14

Two days before talking to Clark, in a conversation with righty Randy Corporon on KLZ’s morning show, Woods (who formerly called herself Laura Waters) revealed more about how religion affects her political life:

Corporon: So, let’s talk about you and why you threw your hat into this ring.

Woods: Well, thank you. I decided to get into this race in December, because I sat down with my primary opponent [Lang Sias] for lunch. And I didn’t feel like he was conservative enough to represent this district and to fight for this seat that we had just opened up. Plus, also, when I asked him the question, “Do you want to be our Senator?”, I couldn’t get a straight answer to that question. So, we left that meeting – my husband and I–not really clear if he wanted the job. It’s December. County assemblies are in March. We just started praying about, you know, somebody has got to be in this seat. And I had had people suggest to me it should be me. It was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. But, as we were looking for closed doors, doors kept opening and it just became clear that I wasn’t stepping out to do this on my own. This was God directing me to do it in a real sense. And so I got into the race in early January. And then my primary opponent got into the race after I did — about ten days, two weeks after I did.

Corporon: Oh, very, very interesting. So, when he realized that there was going to be competition, somehow, he decided to step up and jump in.

Listen to Woods on KLZ Wake Up with Randy Corporon! show 6.2.14

I’ve got nothing against anyone who turns to religion or God to guide their lives. And I’ve got nothing against people who turn to godless reason. But regardless, media figures like the hosts at KLZ are doing us a favor when they provide a platform for discussion of how candidates make decisions. Voters should know.