Obama Stands By Villafuerte

One of the Denver Post’s Karen “The Shiv” Crummy’s greatest hits, there’s no question about it. Three years after the October spectacle of “BeauprezGate” put an end to any hope that Bob Beauprez had of becoming Governor–which, to be fair, was already long gone–Crummy’s full frontal assault on Stephanie Villafuerte after her nomination for U.S. Attorney rings of gleeful payback from those last desperate days of the 2006 Beauprez for Governor campaign. And like we said yesterday, after the federal agent alleged to have illegally leaked the criminal database information to the Beauprez campaign was acquitted, every attempt to turn this right back on Bill Ritter and friends should have been fully expected.

But the fact remains, the FBI investigated Villafuerte and didn’t find a problem with her involvement–Crummy is essentially reopening their closed case to wonder aloud why the FBI “didn’t ask” about seeming inconsistencies. And one known hack reporter’s second-guessing the FBI does not appear to be enough, as she unhappily updates today:

President Barack Obama on Friday stood behind Stephanie Villafuerte, his nominee for Colorado U.S. attorney, while state Republicans called for her to either withdraw her nomination or answer questions about whether she may have acted inappropriately during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

Villafuerte, currently Gov. Bill Ritter’s deputy chief of staff, has refused to explain what types of conversations she had with representatives from the Denver district attorney’s office in the days before and after a restricted federal database was accessed, perhaps for political purposes…

The White House on Friday remained steadfast in backing Villafuerte.

“The president strongly supports Stephanie Villafuerte and thinks she will make a great United States attorney for the people of Colorado,” said White House spokesman Adam Abrams.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who recommended Villafuerte for the position, and Sen. Michael Bennet, who approved of her nomination, also reiterated their support for her.

Bennet, through his spokesman Michael Amodeo, said he has “no plans” to ask Villafuerte any questions about the matter.

Udall had a “frank conversation” with Villafuerte about the issue before recommending her for the U.S. attorney position and “came away confident that Stephanie did not engage in any improper conduct,” said his spokeswoman, Tara Trujillo.

Now keep this in mind: if there’s one thing the Obama administration has shown so far, it’s that they’re not afraid to throw people under the wheels if their vetting-by-media goes badly. From Tom Daschle to Van Jones, the bodies of the scandal-prone have piled up in a way that certainly never happened in the Bush administration. If Villafuerte’s involvement with this three year old story was considered a problem, we’d know it from the Obama administration going tepid in response: that’s not what we just read.

The fact is, Crummy’s hit piece is perilous for both sides, and that’s why we tend to think this morning it may go away without too much ado. It’s well-established that more than one person had accessed the federal criminal database in question, and that information made its way back to Ritter’s campaign as Beauprez’s Hail Mary “agricultural trespass” ads hit the air. It’s the only way Ritter could have known that Beauprez’s campaign had done it first.

But this story descends into the mud pretty quickly, as we’ve seen with the allegations of coordination between Beauprez’s campaign and the 527 Trailhead Group for which the statute of limitations had long expired, the acquittal of the federal agent who assisted them, and Ritter’s campaign, yeah sure, maybe calling in their own favors too as an attempt to extract themselves from the last desperate round of mudslinging before basically certain victory. The substance of the charge against Ritter was always weak–are you going to seriously do away with plea bargains? So we’re back to this database brouhaha, and there’s enough he-said to parry the she-said that a few Dick Wadhams press blusterings aside it just may not matter much.

Of course, given the glacial pace at which U.S. Attorneys get confirmed for Colorado, we’ll have lots of time to gum this one–the best thing to do for Villafuerte, if the goal is to actually get her confirmed, would probably be to get moving on it.

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Murph says:

    “It’s well-established that more than one person had accessed the federal criminal database in question, and that information made its way back to Ritter’s campaign as Beauprez’s Hail Mary “agricultural trespass” ads hit the air. It’s the only way Ritter could have known that Beauprez’s campaign had done it first.”

    It is far from “well established” that information from the NCIC database made it back to Ritter’s campaign.  In fact, that has been disputed by the Ritter camp, which has actually said that it knew its complaint was correct (and filed it) when Beauprez manager Marshall said in a Ch. 7 report that the FBI or A-numbers for Ramos and Estrada-Median matched.  With that information it would not have been tough for Ritter or Villafuerte (both prosecutors with an understanding that FBI or A-numbers are not publicly available but are available on NCIC) to connect the dots.

    • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

      That at least two other people had accessed the NCIC database about Estrada-Medina besides the agent later charged.

      You’re right about the story from Ritter’s office, which we suppose could be true, our point is that none of that really matters. Any look at these files that fits Crummy’s narrative can be justified as part of the Denver DA’s office legitimately looking into the case, and either way the Ritter campaign wasn’t the one who disclosed the information for political purposes.

  2. Barron X says:


    take your pick: she’s toast.


    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      Dick Wadhams?

      Sour grapes from one bad reporter does not toast make. If there was a problem the FBI had ample opportunity to make an issue of it, and the Obama administration would know about it.  If all the GOP has got is Bob Beauprez’s three year old desperation, I’m getting hopeful for 2010.

      I personally think the only reason the GOP wants to pick a fight over this is because it contains “illegal immigrant” and somebody named Villafuerte. Tailor-made for Dave Schultheis, is Villafuerte even a citizen???!!!??? OMFG!

  3. dwyer says:

    talk show boyles is batting a thousand in Colorado. He championed Cory Vorheis successfully; he helped stop the “instate college tuition for illegal immigrants” and he has now started a telephone campaign to the Senate confirmation Committee against Villafuerte.  Vamos a ver.  

  4. Skip Tracey says:

    The Denver Post editorial page does a good job of summarizing the questions in this matter.

    Crummy is asking questions that others, too, have asked. But even if she were on her own little crusade, that’s still within the scope of her job.

    It took just two curious reporters asking questions about a nonstory break-in at the Watergate to bring down the president.. right, liberals?

    I can understand if Obama doesn’t want the Angry Latina contingent on his back. Same with Bennet. Ritter works intimately with Villafuerte, so of course he has her back, so to speak.

    • Well, Skip…you nailed it on the head.  Ritter and Villafuerte have “worked intimately” for many years and up to this point Ritter has gotten the West Wing to stand by Villafuerte.  How long that will last?  It’s not looking good.  

      At least the Denver Post didn’t use the front page to smack Ritter with their editorial this morning.  

      • sxp151 says:

        Ever since Barack Obama was elected, there’s no such thing as racism in America.

        Skip’s objections are based on the female content of her brown-skinned policies, not on any personal characteristics of her.

          • Skip Tracey says:

            It’s OK to angrily demand recognition for your nonwhite identity group, i.e. “Ritter should have appointed a latino to replace Salazar and a latina to replace Coffman.” But it’s bigotry to observe, “gee, those latinos and latinas are angry.”

            • sxp151 says:

              Did Villafuerte demand that a Latino replace Salazar?

              Or is she guilty of doing so because she’s got a Hispanic last name?

              Exactly what does her being a Latina have to do with this (complete non-)story? You brought it up. Why? Is it because you view people first in terms of their race and then later in terms of their positions or accomplishments?

              Think for a second before you post a reply.

            • ThillyWabbit says:

              Because scenario A is seeking equal representation, and scenario B is tarring an entire group based on nothing but prejudice.

              You’re learning, good!

            • Ralphie says:

              Exactly what does her being a Latina have to do with this

              Good question.  You’re the one who brought it up.

              • Skip Tracey says:

                Oh maybe you guys weren’t listening to the voices of the downtrodden and under-represented when they were blowing their collective stack about the lack of latino appointments to higher office in Colorado.

                This here diary is about Obama, Bennet et all standing by the appointment of Villafuerte. If they were to withdraw their support, I surmised they would hear a choice word or two from the Angry Latina contingent. Indeed they would get an earful.

                My deep cultural awareness and sensitivity allows me to anticipate this.

    • sxp151 says:

      “Ritter works intimately with Villafuerte, so of course he has her back, so to speak.”

      As for “legitimate questions,” anything that ends in a question mark is a legitimate question. The only people who seem to care about this are those with an axe to grind.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        Teacher talking to a student – “Johnny, there are no stupid questions. But if there were, that would be one.”

      • BlueCat says:

        focused on misconduct by an R for an R candidate and since this is so clearly  meant to fire up the good old bigot constituency, a constituency already safely in their pocket, I don’t see that the right has much to gain here no matter how it shakes out.  

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          They hope the more negative things they can say about Ritter the better their chances in 2010.  And Ms. Crummy is their perfect go to reporter to sling the dirt for them.  A totally classless twit who should be working for Faux News.

          • BlueCat says:

            It seems to target those who probably weren’t going to vote for him anyway.  As a part of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks it may have some small use but I think this particular would be tempest will be old news fairly quickly.  Non-news to most voters not already committed to voting R altogether.  

          • One Queer Dude says:

               This is their silver bullet in the ’10 gubernatorial race?  

              Had they been screaming about this angle in the Cory Voorhis story three years ago, it would at least have been timely.  Today, not so much.

              They’re lame.  It’s like when they dredged up the African widow, and threatened to bring her to Colorado to campaign for Both Ways.  Until they realized how lame that would look.

              As though there isn’t enough stuff Ritter has done during the past 3 years to use against him…..

  5. guesswho says:

    Why doesn’t the coward make a call on the war in Afganastan?  Troops are toast for no reason.  

    • MADCO says:

      Then demonstrate how a military strategy can be crafted to accomplish that goal.

      see esp #3 and #4.

      from Casper Weinberger-

      1) The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.

      2) U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.

      3) U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.

      4) The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.

      5) U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a “reasonable assurance” of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.

      6) The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

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