Archive for the 'Colorado Governor' Category

Rolly Fischer, whose honesty and integrity helped sink a Republican gubernatorial candidate, dies

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Rolly Fischer, who bravely fought off 2o1o GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis’ attempts to blame him for McInnis’ plagiarized water articles, died last week in Glenwood Springs.

Fischer went from “irascible” water nerd to cult hero in Colorado political circles after some of McInnis’ articles, commissioned by the Hasan Family Foundation, on Colorado water issues turned out to be substantially lifted from the writings of then Colorado Supreme Court Judge Gregory Hobbs.

After the plagiarism came to light, McInnis blamed Fischer, who was 82 years old at the time.

“I had staff assistance, I had research, and as you know, the research – that’s where the problem is here,” McInnis told Denver 7 at the time. McInnis added on the radio that his assistant felt “very remorseful” and “sick about it.”

But, oops, Fischer soon told the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, “Scott’s responsible for it.”

The piano fell through the floor when Fischer spoke with then Denver 7 reporter John Ferrugia in one of Colorado’s greatest political TV-news moments.

Ferrugia asked, “Rolly, is Scott McInnis lying to us?”

After some thought Fischer said, “Yes.”

The 82-year-old said, “I never knew about the foundation or any foundation Scott was associated with.”

“Did you know how he was using these?” Ferrugia asked, referring to the articles.

“No. I had this sophomoric assumption that he wanted them for his own inventory,” said Fischer.

Turned out, McInnis even tried to get Fischer to sign a letter saying the plagiarism was Fischer’s fault.

After the Ferrugia interview, McInnis sort of took responsibility for the plagiarism, telling The Denver Post, “I made a mistake. . . . I immediately owned up to it. It’s my responsibility. I’ve got to fix it. I’ve told my side of the story. So that’s where we are on that. I’d love to talk to you on jobs and some of these other things.”

He gave his two-year stipend of $300,000 back to the foundation. (He’d paid Fischer a few hundred dollars per water article.)

But in 2014, McInnis appeared to throw Fischer under the bus again, telling the Grand Junction Sentinel that he “didn’t plagiarize, period” and that he’d “used ghost writers my whole career” and “didn’t make the mistake.”

Still, in a Nov. 7 obituary in the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, McInnis had kind things to say about Fischer.

Scott McInnis, a former U.S. representative and current Mesa County commissioner, called Fischer “a water giant in his time,” who prepared the district for the issues it faces today…

Fischer figured in the collapse of McInnis’ campaign for governor in 2010, but McInnis said he never held the incident against Fischer.

“That’s water under the bridge now. I always thought Rollie was one of the brightest water people on the Western Slope,” McInnis said.

Did McInnis really say water under the bridge? A new water musing?

In any case, Fischer’s uninvited but starring role in the story of the downfall of McInnis deserves more than an asterisk in Colorado history. It was game changing.

If you were around at the time, you know that McInnis’ treatment of Fischer was far more damaging politically to McInnis than the plagiarism itself. It lead directly to McInnis’ loss in the GOP gubernatorial primary to Dan Maes, whose many flaws (and despite the best efforts of Tom Tancredo) paved the way for Hickenlooper to be governor.

Unlike now, Hickenlooper, you may recall, was weak and flailing during the 2010 election, and Hick would might have lost to McInnis in a general election. And McInnis might have won the GOP primary had Fischer lied and taken fake responsibility for the plagiarism, as McInnis asked him to do. I mean, Tancredo and Maes, who both ran for governor in 2010, together had nearly as many votes as Hick.

It clearly wasn’t easy for Fischer, who served as a Colorado Water District Chief, to stand up to his long-time friend McInnis, but apparently in keeping with his personality, he did, and it brightened the spotlight not only on the plagiarism but on a nasty side of McInnis that GOP voters didn’t like. Can you blame them?

We owe Fischer our collective gratitude for his honesty and integrity.

Fischer’s memorial service will take place tomorrow, Saturday, November 12, at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs. Contributions should be sent to the National MS Society, in care of S. Reel, 521 Rood Avenue, Suite B, Grand Junction, CO, 81504.

Brauchler announces possible gubernatorial run in 2018

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

In an interview on KNUS 710-AM Saturday Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler announced he’s considering a run for governor in 2018.

Asked by host Craig Silverman what he thought about going for the governor’s job in 2018, Brauchler said:

Brauchler: “I am going to consider it, Craig, of course. I am going to look hard at it. And I have been really encouraged by a bunch of different people across the spectrum… It’s surreal for people to be saying, ‘Hey, you should consider taking a stab at the biggest statewide office in Colorado.’ That’s kind of bizarre.”

When Brauchler announced his decision in September, 2015, not to run for U.S. Senate, he told The Denver Post he “”had gone pretty far down the road” toward running but had decided against it for family reasons.

But now, looking ahead to 2018, he said:

Brauchler: “It’s something I would definitely consider. I wouldn’t say no. I love this state. I’ve been here almost every minute of my life. And I want my kids to want to be here. I want other kids from across country to move to Colorado and have the same opportunities I had. And I’m concerned that that may not be the case. So for those reasons, yeah, I will definitely consider it.”

Brauchler is the first candidate, Democrat or Republican, to announce a possible gubernatorial run.

Listen to Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM here:

Predatory-lending bill shouldn’t fly under journalists’ late-session radar

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Sometimes reporters ignore bills in the state legislature that look like they would surely die quickly in the hands of divided government. But here’s a piece of right-wing legislation that surprisingly cleared Colorado’s divided legislature last year, before a being vetoed by Gov. John Hickenlooper: a “predatory-lending” bill.

Similar legislation, introduced just last week, should be scrutinized by journalists, despite the end-of-session onslaught on top of the usual onslaught.

This year’s predatory-lending bill (SB16-185), which could be heard this week, would allow for an increase in interest rates on subprime “personal loans,” which are sold to people whose credit problems preclude them from obtaining loans with more favorable interest rates.

Such loans are convenient–and can actually help struggling families improve their credit ratings. But they’re costly, with the potential to be devastating economically for low-income people.

Lenders are getting 36 percent on the first $1,000 in a personal loan, and 21 percent on such loans from $1,000 to $3,000. Yet the senate bill would set up a mechanism to jack up the rates even more. Last year’s failed bill aimed to set the interest rate at 36 percent for all personal loans up to $3,000.

Personal loans average $6,000 in Colorado. They shouldn’t be confused with pay-day loans, which typically carry an even higher interest rate and can be no more than $500, under state law. So these are completely different types of loans.

In vetoing the measure last year, Hickenlooper was “particularly struck” by the Colorado Attorney General’s assessment that higher interest rates on personal loans would not make them more readily available to consumers.

This validates statements by the bill’s opponents that lenders of personal loans are profitable and thriving–despite allegations by the bill’s opponents last year that higher interest rates are needed to keep lenders from abandoning the business. And the number of personal loans sold last year is the highest since 2009, so the market is actually growing under the current regulatory structure, opponents say.

A number of groups have lined up against the predatory lending bill, including AARP Colorado, Bell Policy Center, Center for Responsible Lending, CLLARO, Colorado Catholic Conference, Colorado Center for Law and Policy, Colorado Council of Churches, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Gary Community Investments, Company, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, One Colorado ProgressNow Colorado Small Business Majority.

Given what happened last year, and the public’s well-known demand to know what lawmakers are doing to help (or in this case hurt) working families, journalists should keep a close eye on this year’s predatory-lending legislation.

Talk-radio host falsely claims Hickenlooper wants to shut him up

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking heat on talk radio for suggesting that America “tone back the inflammatory rhetoric” that may drive “emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced” people to “commit these acts of unthinkable violence.”

Hickenlooper made the comments during a CNN interview Sunday about Friday’s murders at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs.

This morning, KNUS host Dan Caplis said Hickenlooper “just doesn’t want us speaking the truth” about Planned Parenthood.

But Hickenlooper repeatedly said he doesn’t want to limit free speech. Read Hick’s comments for yourself.

Hickenlooper (at 5 minutes here and below): Certainly, it is a form of terrorism. Maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric that we see on so many issues now. There are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to the point of boiling over to intense anger. And I think, maybe it’s time to also look at, how do we tone down some of that rhetoric. Honestly, no one is going to try to reduce free speech in this country. But if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced, that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.

Host: …Are you calling for changes in blogging or video games.

Hickenlooper: No. I am in no way trying to limit free speech. I think our community, the United States of America, ought to begin a discussion looking at, how do you begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric that in some ways might be good for, I don’t know, selling products in advertisements or whatever, but in some way it is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it. And they go out and they lose connection to reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence. I’m not saying we should restrict people’s free speech, nowhere near that. But I think we should have a discussion of at least urging caution when we discuss some of these issues so that we don’t get people to a point of committing senseless violence.

State Sen. Crowder sides with Hickenlooper on Syrian refugee policy

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

State Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) has sided with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in arguing that Colorado should still welcome Syrian refugees to the state, despite calls by some state lawmakers to ban them from coming here.

Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports:

Republican State Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa says Colorado and the country should not change the refugee resettlement program in the wake of the Paris attacks.

He was one of 10 Republicans not to sign the letter [asking Gov. John Hickenlooper to block Syrian refugees from coming to the state]. He says politicians are reacting with fear.

“When you talk about people who drop everything that they had and run for their lives, what we need to do is start realizing what our responsibility as a world citizen is,” [said Crowder].

Listen here. 

Birkeland mentioned that Hickenlooper supports the existing two-year vetting process for Syrian refugees.

Tipton promoting apparent misinformation that Paris attacker had “Syrian refugee passport”

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

On Facebook Monday, Rep. Scott Tipton posted the apparent misinformation that “one of the bombers involved in the Paris attacks had a Syrian refugee passport.”

This is almost certainly wrong, apparently a so-called false flag, yet the statement remains on Tipton’s official Facebook page.

Newsweek reported: “Serbian officials told The Guardian that they think both the passport found in Paris and on the man they arrested are fake. A source investigating the case told the AFP that the passport belongs to a Syrian soldier who was killed earlier this year. Officials have not made any public statements on the passport confirming or denying its authenticity.”

Tipton: The risks posed to our national security by admitting tens of thousands of refugees from a war-torn region that is currently the global hotbed for terrorist activity are very real. The U.S. should immediately stop accepting Syrian refugees…

While most of these people are innocent and victims themselves, all it takes is one ISIS terrorist posing as an asylum seeker to come to the United States and inflict harm…

Given that at least one of the bombers involved in the Paris attacks had a Syrian refugee passport, the threat is very real and the risk is high. [BigMedia emphasis]

Tipton’s post incited these ugly comments, which is another reason he should remove it ASAP.

Esther Scaman: Keep up the good work Scott! Keep all those bastards out of our country! I say pack n carry at all times! And for those opposing you I’ll thank you for them since they are like their president putting America in harms way and won’t accept the truth if it slapped them in the face!!!

Patricia R. Lang: Much like it was in Viet Nam, one can not tell the refugee from the terrorist bent on destroying our country and our way of life. It is sad but all Syrian refugees much be stopped from entering the United States of America

Tipton was on KVOR’s Richard Randall show Tuesday, talking about this topic, but he did not refer to the Syrian passport. Another guest on the show, Andy Pico, a GOP Colorado Springs City Councilman, spread the same apparent falsehood that the Paris attacker was a Syrian refugee. (Listen here.)

Pico, along with Tipton, should walk this comment back in some public venue–because it poisons reasonable debate about the refugees. And reasonableness regarding poor Syrian refugees is under severe attack.

McInnis, who’s open to another statewide run, isn’t thrilled with any of the current GOP senate candidates

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Former Congressman Scott McInnis told KNUS radio host Craig Silverman Saturday that he’s taking Spanish lessons and hasn’t ruled out a run for statewide office, despite the spectacular crash of his 2010 gubernatorial campaign after his “musings on water” articles proved to be plagiarized.

But he doesn’t see an opening for himself in the current Republican primary race to take on Democrat Michael Bennet, as he said the “alignment” isn’t right today.

But McInnis, who’s now a Mesa County Commissioner, isn’t excited about any of the current GOP Senate candidates, saying he’dlike to see Rep. Scott Tipton run. And he said failed 2008 Senate candidate Bob Schaffer would “win that race.”

McInnis gave no indication that his plagiarism scandal, which torpedoed his 2010 campaign, would hurt him in future statewide campaigns.

McInnis: As you know, following that BS, and that’s exactly what it was, I was caught totally off guard by those allegations. And to be  straight with you, before I ran for governor, we spent about $50,000 doing opposition research, and the opposition research was on me. And I wanted to know every hiccup somebody would bring up. Every vote we looked at. We looked at every possible thing. This never came up, because we never know about this. Well, after this broke, we didn’t have time to get ahead of it, Craig. ..those allegations that there was, not perjury, but–

Silverman: Plagiarism.

McInnis: Plagiarism. That shows you how much I was involved. But it worked. It was very effective. It destroyed our opportunity. …We suspected Hickenlooper would be their candidate and we ran consistently 12 points ahead of him.

He said the plagiarism accusation was based “false information,” pointing to his “complete exoneration” by the state’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. He was cleared of dishonest lawyer behavior but not slimy political behavior, including throwing his elderly research assistant under the bus. That’s what cost him.

Media omission: Beauprez blames Republican Governors Association for election loss

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez appeared on KNUS’ Craig Silverman Show Saturday and blamed, among other things, the Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) for his November loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper.

“We would have liked to have had a little more backing from some of our friends,” Beauprez told Silverman. “Notably the Republican Governors Association went dark for three weeks right during the middle of the campaign. That one hurt quite a little bit.”

Beauprez’s opponents would wail at the irony of it, of course, because it was an RGA-funded campaign that arguably allowed Beauprez to prevail against his opponent Tom Tancredo during the Republican gubernatorial primary last year.

Beauprez has rejected accusations, from former Rep. Tom Tancredo and others, that he had any knowledge of the RGA’s surreptitious campaign against Tancredo. But Tanc is so mad about it, he’s started a Stop Chris Christie PAC to fight Christie.

“But didn’t you get in bed with Chris Christie, and then he ultimately rolled over and squished ya,” asked Silverman, in a flashback to the kind of edgy questioning he used to deploy on some Republicans during KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman Show. “I hate to use that kind of imagery. But Chris Christie is a bed you got in, and he ended up betraying you.”

“Getting in bed with Chris Christie, I do reject that metaphor, that analogy, the use of that kind of phrase” responded Beauprez on air. “I’m not a Chris Christie supporter in this election right now. And I had some issues with Chris Christie, but the reality was, he was the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. So was I going to accept the help of the Republican Governors Association, just as John Hickenlooper accepted massive amounts, massive amounts, of money from the Democratic Governors Association? Of course I’m going to do that. So the presumption that I was in lockstep with Chris Christie on everything he ever said or would do or say in the future, that’s simply not fair.”

Beauprez rejected Silverman’s assertion that Beauprez’s opposition to marijuana legalization hurt him in the election.

Beauprez said he didn’t take a position against pot, per se, but instead simply said the future governor would have to deal with the law as passed.

Beauprez also rejected KNUS talk-show host Peter Boyles’ accusation, repeated to Beauprez by Silverman, that Beauprez backed off his suggestion that Colorado should send troops to the Mexican border to help stop illegal immigration.

Media omission: McInnis resurrects political career with election as country commissioner

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

It appears that the entire front-range media missed one of the most exciting election stories of 2014: the resurrection of failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis!

McInnis, who was taken down by wizard Dan Maes in the 2010 Republican primary, won a seat in November on the Mesa Country Board of Commissioners.

If you call his office, you get a message saying:

“Thank you for contacting commissioner Scott McInnis. Although he is unavailable to take your call, your call is important. Please leave your name, phone number, and a brief message. Thank you.”

A quick check revealed that this exact phone message (except the name “Scott McInnis”) was plagiarized, but McInnis probably had nothing do do with it, as the message was delivered in a woman’s voice.

Back in 2010, McInnis was caught by The Denver Post for plagiarizing portions of short articles he wrote on Colorado water issues, commissioned for $350,000 from the Hasan Foundation.

The price tag prompted Post columnist Ed Quillen to write that he wanted to engage McInnis as “my literary agent, since he knows how to cut some sweet deals.”

He blamed his water-article plagiarism on his ghost writer, Rolly Fisher, but McInnis eventually took some measure of responsibility for it.

Last year, during his county-commissioner race, McInnis washed his hands of any wrong-doing for the plagiarism, telling the Grand Junction Sentinel he regretted admitting to any mistakes about the plagiarism.

“I’ve used ghost writers my whole career. I would have said I didn’t make the mistake. I wasn’t dishonest then and I’m not dishonest now.”

Barring any recalls for un-commissioner-like behavior, which may or may not include plagiarism, he’ll serve until 2019.

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.”