Archive for the 'Colorado Attorney General’s Office' Category

Has Cynthia Coffman aired all her grievances about Colorado’s Republican Chair?

Monday, July 20th, 2015

During her June 26 testimony before a Republican committee, which was investigating numerous allegations against Colorado’s GOP chair, State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was unable to present “significant facts” because of time restrictions.

That’s the allegation in a post today on the conservative Politichicks blog. In the post, Kathryn Porter claims to have had an exclusive interview with Coffman, during which the Attorney General reportedly said she was unable to lay out all her concerns about Steve House, the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party. Porter reported:

“I galloped through my prepared chronology of events but was not able to finish in five minutes. I felt I had to leave out significant facts,” Coffman said.

But Porter, who is a Republican activist and blogger, did not disclose the facts that Coffman omitted or whether the facts might have swayed the Republican executive committee, which ended up supporting House by a 22-1 vote, to denounce the state chair.

“Coffman broke her silence and exposed a stunning disregard for decorum in its treatment of both elected officials and party activists by the executive committee,” wrote Porter.

Porter’s post, titled “Behind Closed Doors in the CO GOP: From Bedrooms to Boardrooms,” outlined the chaotic atmosphere at the June 26 meeting, which was conducted under adverse conditions and unclear guidelines.

As reported previously, former Congressman Tom Tancredo and former Pueblo GOP Chair Becky Mizel were allegedly prevented from distributing a lengthy list of grievances against House, but it’s not clear who wrote Tancredo’s document.

And it’s also not known whether all of Coffman’s “significant facts” were included on the document.

Those are questions worth investigation by reporters.

Republican Talk-Show Host Calls for Investigation of Cynthia Coffman

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

UPDATE: In response to the request of a commentator on ColoradoPols, I asked Crank if he still holds the opinion below, which he expressed over two weeks ago. Here’s his response.

CRANK: Yes, I still believe that Cynthia Coffman should welcome an investigation by an independent authority.  I don’t know if what she did rises to the legal definition of blackmail or extortion.  Only a legal expert would know that.  There should be an investigation and, if she is cleared, she should apologize for using bad judgement.  If the investigation finds that she participated in an effort to extort or blackmail, she should resign.

I try to hold the same standard regardless of party.  That is more than those on the left usually do.

Amazes me that the folks on the left who are calling for Coffman to resign were eerily quiet about Eric Holder’s gun running operation and the IRS targeting people based on their political views.  Perhaps you should write about that too, unless that just cuts too close to home.


Some of my friends might throw stones at me, but, love him or hate him, Colorado Springs radio-host Jeff Crank tries to hold the Republican Party to basic standards.

When Crank, a Republican, ran for Congress back in 2006, Crank was the victim of GOP shenanigans himself, so he seems to really hate it when the Republican knives come out behind the scenes.

Shortly after the news broke that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and others had allegedly threatened House in an effort to push him out of his position as state GOP chair, Crank took to the airwaves with this:

CRANK: “Now, to me, if that happened, that’s blackmail,” said Crank, who’s worked over the years for Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, during his June 20 KVOR show. “Could it be extortion? I don’t know what the law says about the threshold for extortion or blackmail, but I’m pretty sure that the Attorney General shouldn’t participate in it. I’m pretty sure of that. In fact, I’m pretty sure that an Attorney General would want to prosecute rather than participate in an effort to blackmail the chairman of the Republican Party.

Now, I just say this. If this happened, Cynthia Coffman, the Attorney General, needs to resign. She’s a Republican, and she needs to resign. Because if this happened, she either at worst, participated in it, and at best, was a witness to it, in her office – in your office, in the Attorney General’s office of the state of Colorado. It’s uh — this is what needs to be investigated. Not whether Steve House did this, that, or the other thing. What is really troubling here to me is that the Attorney General of the state of Colorado, who already played politics once and took the opposite side of her husband in supporting someone for Party Chairman, now shows up and decides that that’s, all of a sudden, — he needs to go because maybe he hasn’t hired somebody. But participates in a meeting like this – was either a witness to, or participated in blackmail. There you go.

Who in the world do people think they are, walking into the Chairman. The Chairman was duly elected as the Chairman of the Republican Party. He can hire or not hire whoever he choses as his Exectuvie Director. Tom Tancredo, who again, has been a friend of mine, supported me when I ran for Congress when he was a member of Congress. I appreciate his support. Tom, of all people, was the guy that everybody in the Tea Party hated because he ran against Dan Maes, left the Republican Party, ran as an Independent, and now he’s trying to tell the Chairman of the Party who he has to hire as the Executive Director. And it’s all unseemly.

But here is the biggest problem I have with this: Cynthia Coffman is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Colorado. And it’s lonely when you’re a Republican calling out another Republican. And I’m sad to say that. […] But I will say this: I have built a career doing that, and I will call you out if I think you’ve done something unethical, if you’ve done something wrong. And I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. And I think that’s what people respect about the positions that I take—is that I take them and I hold firm to them. And I’ve got to tell you, I need to know more about what Cynthia Coffman’s role was here. If she participated in or saw an attempt to blackmail the Chairman of the Republican Party, she needs to resign. Because if that’s the case, if that happened, she is Eric Holder of the state of Colorado. And I can’t think of anything worse to say about somebody than being the Eric Holder of the state of Colorado. She can’t just sit silently. There has to be an investigation. There should be an ethics complaint filed.

Barring a sentence or two, Crank actually sounds like a real attorney general here, unlike the one we have now.

Media omission: Tancredo says Republicans told him they were “scared” to vote against House

Monday, June 29th, 2015

After being banned, at least temporarily, from KLZ 560-AM last week, Tom Tancredo’s familiar voice spiced up the airwaves on KNUS 710-AM this morning, as he chatted with Peter Boyles about the (as of now) failed attempt to oust Steve House as GOP Party Chair.

Tancredo said more high-ranking Republicans want to oust Steve House than you might think, judging from the Colorado GOP’s Executive Committee’s 22-1 vote Friday to retain House as party chair.

Tancredo said he talked to members of the Executive Committee who were scared of “retribution” if they voted against House during the open vote of the committee on Friday.

Tancredo: “There was a motion, as I understand it, to make it a closed vote because people are, you know, let’s face it, the chairman is sitting right there, you’re maybe intimidated to some extent to vote openly,” Tancredo told Boyles, adding later (Listen @7:45 below), “No, truly, we talked to people afterwards who said, Hey, I just couldn’t do it, man. I was scared to do anything. Retribution.”

Boyles: No, they were afraid!

Tancredo: These fantastic jobs these people have, you know? No pay. Yet, it’s their own little bit of heaven, you know?

Republican activist Kathryn Porter, who joined Tancredo on Boyles’ show, agreed, saying:

Porter: The 22-1 vote, I don’t believe that’s how those people in that room felt for one minute. I believe that vote was a mask. It was a façade to give the impression of Party unity. And I can tell you for a fact, we do not have that.

Tancredo told Boyles that the committee refused to review the full accusations against House. Tancredo said he had “three-to-four pages” of concerns about House, with no mention of the alleged affair, ready to distribute to the executive committee, but he was not allowed to hand it out. Neither was Pueblo Country Chair Becky Mizel, who sits on the committee, Tancredo told Boyles. (Alleged tweets about the affair were detailed by Craig Silverman on KNUS Saturday.)

But one of Tancredo’s concerns is, apparently, Steve House’s attacks on former Sen. Ted Harey.

Tancredo: “These are big problems. You call say a senator, I’ve forgotten how many years Ted [Harvey] served — you go to people in the media and to the attorney general and tell them that he’s going bankrupt, that his family is leaving him, and that you’re afraid he might embezzle money. I mean this is a guy of sterling qualities. You might not agree with Ted on stuff. But the reality is he’s an honest guy with a wonderful family. All this was concocted. You say this about people, and you can get yourlself sued, get the Party sued. These were the issues we were bringing to his attention.”

Listen to KNUS 710-AM’s Peter Boyles discuss the GOP coup attempt with Tom Tancredo and Kathryn Porter June 29, 2015

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.”

Reporters omit AG candidate’s position on the constitutionality of CO gay-marriage ban

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Reporters have covered GOP Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman’s attacks on Democratic AG candidate Don Quick for saying he wouldn’t defend Colorado’s gay-marriage ban, if Quick were elected state AG.

But strangely, they haven’t reported if Coffman thinks the ban, which is overwhelmingly opposed in Colorado, is constitutional.

So, to fill in the media gap, I asked Coffman and Rep. Mark Waller, who dropped out of the race yesterday, for their views on the marriage ban.

Jason Salzman @BigMediaBlog
Dear @Rep_Waller & @CynthiaHCoffman, i’m filling a media gap & asking you, do you believe CO gay marriage ban is constitutional? #copolitics

No response yet, but I’ll  update this post when I hear back.

On radio, with facts absent, Cynthia Coffman attacks Quick for saying he won’t defend CO gay-marriage ban

Friday, April 25th, 2014

KVOR guest host Jimmy Bensberg talked last weekwith Cynthia Coffman, who’s running for Colorado Attorney General.

CYNTHIA COFFMAN: Taking a page from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s playbook, [Democratic AG candidate Don] Quick held a press conference on the steps of state courts building and called on John Suthers to drop his defense of the definition of marriage – BENSBERG: Ugh! COFFMAN: –that’s in the Constitution of Colorado. You know the voters, a number of years back, amended the Constitution and said we want marriage to be the traditional definition of being between a man and a woman. That’s what the voters approved, and Don Quick says he doesn’t agree with that. He doesn’t believe that that is constitutional, even though the Supreme Court of the United States hasn’t said that. And so presumptively, he thinks that the Attorney General should not defend that provision of the Constitution. And you know, that kind of picking and choosing as an Attorney General, what parts of the Constitution you defend, I can’t imagine a better thing to criticize my opponent about, than starting there.

Left out of this loving, tolerant, and legally ignorant conversation is the fact that Suthers’ proactive defense of the federal “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),” which was filed in the name of protecting Colorado’s gay-marriage ban, was actually an attack on gay couples who wanted to be buried together in military cemeteries or to get spousal benefits under Medicaid, etc. Suthers’ DOMA action looked like a wrong legal tactic, from the perpective of protecting Colorado’s Constitutional amendment. But more broadly, and to the heart of the matter, you want an Attorney General who will make public-minded decisions about what makes constitutional sense, regardless of the politics involved. In the case of defending Colorado’s anti-gay-marriage amendment, Suthers could have decided, as six other state Attorneys General did, that it’s a wrong legal move. Despite what Cynthia Coffman says, nothing forces Suthers to take action. Here’s what the Attorney General Eric Holder told the New York Times:

But Mr. Holder said when laws touch on core constitutional issues like equal protection, an attorney general should apply the highest level of scrutiny before reaching a decision on whether to defend it. He said the decision should never be political or based on policy objections. “Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do,” Mr. Holder said. As an example, Mr. Holder cited the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, which forced public school integration in 1954.

Waller’s promise to be activist AG, in contrast to his opponent, raises questions about other candidates

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Love him or hate him, Scott Gessler has brought an activist’s style to his job as Secretary of State, while others in his position, including Republicans, have tried to stay out of the partisan fray. Ditto for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

So going into November, when we’ll be voting for a new AG and SOS, the question is, do we want to elect an AG and SOS in the Gessler/Suthers mold. Or do we want more passive, traditional office holders, regardless of their political party?

It’s an important question for media figures to tease out of the candidates, and reporters can take a cue from State Rep. Mark Waller who addressed the issue spontaneously when asked Sat. by KNUS’ Jimmy Sengenberger what sets him “apart” from his primary challenger, Cynthia Coffman.

WALLER: You know, I think there are a couple of things that set us apart. Number one, we view the role of Attorney General’s office a little differently. You know, [Cynthia Coffman] has said a couple of times that she feels that I’d be more of an ‘activist’ Attorney General, if I were to become the AG, meaning that I would engage more upfront on the development of legislation and fight against bad legislation that’s moving forward. And I would be more. You know, I would take the role as an elected official more seriously and place more focus that way, on the office. Whereas, you know, the way she sees the office, it’s more of a nonpartisan office, where it’s the role and responsibility of the Attorney General to be the the lawyer for the state. So, I think we see those roles a little bit differently…. See, I’m an old military guy, Jimmy. I deployed to Bagdad, Iraq in 2006 where I prosecuted insurgents. I led other lawyers and paralegals there. You know, if I can lead lawyers and paralegals during a war in Bagdad, Iraq, I’m very confident I can do it in the state of Colorado, as well.

Listen to Waller discuss his promise to be activist attorney general

What about Democratic AG candidate Don Quick and the SOS candidates, Dem Joe Neguse and Republican Wayne Williams?

Do they see themselves in the Gessler/partisan mold? Or would they take the more nonpartisan approach of former GOP SOS Natalie Meyer, as explained here?

Radio host should follow up with Waller

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Just a couple days before Cynthia Coffman officially launched her campaign for Colorado state attorney general, State Rep. Mark Waller sounded awfully serious when he told KNUS’ Jimmy Sengenberger that he was considering entering the race as well.

Here’s what Waller told Sengenberger June 10:

Sengenberger: Rumor has it, your name has been tossed about in consideration for Attorney General. Is that a thought process that you are going through, or what can you tell us?

Waller: You know, certainly several people have approached me on that issue. They have asked me to do that. They think given my law enforcement background, my background as an Iraqi war veteran, and my background in the legislature, that that might be a great opportunity for me to serve going forward. So, we are certainly considering that. We haven’t made any final decisions at this moment in time, but I’d be looking for something soon.

Sengenberger was subbing for Steve Kelley, who’s been out recovering from a car crash, and he should bring Waller back on the KNUS morning show to find out if Coffman’s official announcement affected Waller’s thinking on the AG race.

Nothing wrong with Post Publisher saying 1) GOP “dead in Colorado” 2) Udall a sure winner, 3) next CO Attorney General will be Democrat, and more

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

I can see the veins bulging out on the necks of conservatives across Colorado when they hear that Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton thinks the Republican Party is “dead in Colorado” and that he doesn’t expect to see another Republican president elected in the United States in his lifetime.

If that’s not vein-popping enough, Singleton went on to say that Udall will win big in 2014, Colorado’s next Attorney General will be a Democrat, and there’s no one in the United States of America who won’t take his phone call.

That’s what Singleton told KHOW’s Peter Boyles March 1 during the 6 a.m. hour:

Boyles: The Republican Party, for all intents and purposes, is dead.

Singleton: I think it’s in trouble nationally. It’s not in trouble locally. I mean, Republicans control 30 State Houses.

Boyles: But I’m talking about in Colorado.

Singleton: I think it’s dead in Colorado.

Boyles: I think it’s dead in the country.

Singleton: It’s not dead–

Boyles: You think we’ll ever have another Republican President in our lifetime?

Singleton: Ahh, no.

Boyles: I agree with you.

Singleton: And it really doesn’t matter whom the Republicans put up. Republicans, in my view, won’t win another presidency in our lifetime.

Listen to Dean Singleton tells Boyles GOP is dead in CO 3-1-2013

Singleton amplified on these thoughts during 7 a.m. hour March 1:

Singleton: The Republican Party is not dead. The Republican Party controls 30 State Houses. Because of redistricting and gerrymandering, Republicans have the chance to hold the House from now on, because most their congressional members come from safe seats. But if you look where their electoral seats are, the Republicans just can’t play at a presidential level. They can’t win in enough states to have enough of the Electoral votes. So I don’t think we will see another Republican President in our lifetime.

Boyles: I don’t either….

Singleton: Republicans have two elected state-wide office holders, the Treasurer and the Attorney General. The Attorney General is not running for re-election, so that will go Democratic. .. [BigMedia comment: Colorado’s Secretary of State is also a Republican.]

Boyles: Is it because of the party or is it the candidates they choose?

Singleton: Well, it’s both. The party has shifted so far right that that’s the kind candidates they pick. And they pick candidates that aren’t in the mainstream. And you see the growth of Colordo, and where the growth has come from demographically. I think Colorado is probably a Democratic state from now on.

It is a Democratic state today, and I don’t think it’s going back. I’m an independent. I’ve never registered for either party, and, in fact, the first Democrat I ever I voted for for President was Barack Obama. So I’m not a Democrat, but when you go to vote you, you have the choice of two candidates. And you pick the best candidate if you’re thinking straight…

You’ll see a lot of Republicans trying to get back in the game statewide, but I don’t see it happening. I don’t think it’s necessarily good. I just think it’s what it is… The Republicans don’t have a candidate to run against Udall in 2014. They have nobody to run.

Boyles: It’s a year away.

Singleton: And they don’t have anybody to run against him. Part of it is, nobody wants to run against him, because he’s going to win big. So, why do it?.. I find it sad that in 2014 we won’t have a spirited Senate race. There just won’t be. That’s not the way democracy was supposed to be….

Boyles: Is there anyone who won’t take your phone call?

Singleton: Not that I know of.

Listen: Singleton on Boyles, says Udall will win, discusses prostitution-scandal reporting, explains why CO GOP dead, and more 3-1-13

As Publisher of the Post, and founder of MediaNews, Singleton can air his opinions, and he has strong ones, even tantrum-like explosions, one of which manifested itself in a front-page editorial screed against Bill Ritter and unions.

Still, no one who actually reads The Post would expect Singleton’s pessimism about the Colorado GOP to leak into the news reporting, in the form of reporting that would hurt Republicans.

So please, let’s not hear fresh cries of unsubstantiated media bias.

If I’m a conservative, and I read what Singleton has to say, I wouldn’t get mad. I’d take it seriously, thank him for the honesty, and re-subscribe.

Media Omission: Suthers has his own idea for feds to “constitutionally mandate health insurance”

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers was all over the media last week, talking about what a terrible thing it would be if the federal government forced Americans to buy health insurance.

But in an email back in 2010, Suthers told The Denver Post’s Vincent Carroll that it wasn’t the federal health insurance mandate itself that bothered him, from a legal perspective, but how the mandate was instituted.

In the email, obtained via that Colorado Opens Record Act by Colorado Ethics Watch, Suthers wrote to Carroll:

“The way to constitutionally mandate health insurance would be to incentivize the states to do it,” Suthers wrote.

There’s nothing wrong with a lawyer wanting things done in accordance with how he sees the law, but let’s be clear that Suthers’ federal incentives, if they’re devised to “mandate health insurance,” as Suthers suggests, are simply a more polite form of Obama’s Commerce-Clause mandate.

Conservative objections about alleged federal intrusion or alleged lost individual freedom would,  as a practical matter, be nearly identical if the health-insurance mandate were the result of federal incentives or federal powers under the Commerce Clause.

Either way, its federal action, which makes you wonder why Suthers gleefully told KNUS’ Steve Kelley in November:

“Federalism has been on life support for 30 years. We are going to decide if the Court is going to pull the plug or resuscitate it. That is what this case is all about.”

Really? How does that square with Suthers’ view that the feds could accomplish the health-care mandate with incentives?

Anyway, in his media tour last week, Suthers told KHOW’s Craig Silverman that “it shouldn’t be the federal government pushing this down our throats.” But again, this sounds hollow when you know that Suthers simply wants federal throat-pushing of a different manner.

Suthers also told Silverman that the expansion of Medicaid under Obmamcare, as a vehicle to cover uninsured people, is a state burden that’s “so coercive as to violate federalism.” Yet, he told Carroll that a health-care mandate could be achieved with state incentives. If he believes the incentives are constitutional, then you’d think he’d have to believe the Medicaid expansion would be constitutional as well.

In the broader picture, and this is the take-away from Suthers’ behind-the-scenes correspondence with Carroll, conservatives should not be fooled into thinking that Suthers, by joining the lawsuit to stop Obamacare, is taking a principled stand against an alleged loss of individual freedom. He’s clearly not. It’s just this legal pathway he dislikes.

For Suthers, it’s the form, not the substance.

Email exchange between Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, March 23, 2010

Suthers: Vince, I’m curious. I understood from my conversation with Alicia Caldwell that the editorial board doesn’t think there is anything unprecedented about Congress using the Commerce Clause to sanction economic activity and force you to buy a product or service it deems beneficial. Even the Congressional Budget Office told Congress that was unprecedented. If Congress can sanction your commercial activity and force you to buy a product, where does it end? Can you enlighten me a bit?

Carroll: I am not sure what our official position will be regarding whether forcing Americans to buy health care insurance is an unprecedented action by the federal government. As you know, though, the Post’s editorials have repeatedly backed a universal mandate, so it is extremely unlikely that the page would now argue that what it has been advocating is unconstitutional. Like many people, I too worry about what a court decision upholding the legislation would say about the reach of the commerce clause. But given recent legal precedents, I suspect the court would uphold the law.

Suthers: One last point. The way to constitutionally mandate health insurance would be to incentivize the states to do it.