Coffman and Shinseki: Once Again, Physician, Heal Thyself

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

An ongoing story in Washington, D.C. comes to a head today, as Eli Stokols of FOX 31 reported earlier this month:

Congressman Mike Coffman called Monday for Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign his position over recent allegations that veterans died waiting for care in Phoenix and other cost overruns plaguing VA Hospital projects, including one in Aurora.

“Secretary Shinseki has failed to provide any leadership for this organization and instead he has allowed himself to be led by a circle of incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats who have long forgotten that they are there for the sole purpose of serving those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of this nation,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran.

Today, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to answer for recent allegations of mistreatment of veterans at VA medical facilities, as well as the substantial cost overruns for the new VA medical center under construction in Aurora. The Fort Collins Coloradoan documented cases where veterans were left on waiting lists for treatment in that city's VA clinic for longer than allowed, and record were allegedly changed to cover this up. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, whose district includes the VA clinic in question, has called for an investigation into the incident in Fort Collins–and today, retired general and Democratic CD-5 candidate Irv Halter has also reportedly called for Shinseki to resign.

Without a doubt, there's no excuse for veterans not receiving timely and adequate medical care. We have no interest in defending Shinseki or his department's conduct, and agree with Rep. Polis that the situation must be investigated. But just like we said when embattled Rep. Mike Coffman called for the resignation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Coffman has no business calling for anyone's resignation after his own problems with employees in the Secretary of State's office before his election to Congress.

If we sound like a broken record on this point, it's because people need to understand the full scope of the Dan Kopelman voter data moonlighting scandal. This was a longtime political crony, a former assistant on the campaign trail, who was caught in a conflict of interest of the most obvious kind–and kept his job in Coffman's office. Coffman personally knew and hired Kopelman, but we haven't read that Eric Shinseki was personally associated with the low-level staffers accused in the VA's current scandal over waiting lists for treatment. After all, the VA has around 280,000 employees.

Bottom line: Shinseki has questions to answer, but Coffman lacks credibility to ask them.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ModeratusModeratus says:

    How many elections has Coffman won since the Kopelman nonscandal? Keep grasping at straws, Colorado Pols. Has Romanoff come out with an immigration plan yet, or is he still running from the issue?

    For that matter, why doesn't Romanoff have ANY issues on his website? Let's talk about things that matter…

    • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

      out of one side of the mouth:

      " lets talk about things that matter…nonscandal…grasping at straws

      out of the other side:

      Benghazi !

      The only thing consistent is your inconsistency.

      • wade norris says:

        From 2008 – after the Kopelman ethics investigation and Coffman's attempt to disenfrancise newly registered voters…


        Coffman's ludicrous ruling to use a checkbox rule
        to disenfranchise voters who used a valid form of identification, i.e. their Social Security number, was overturned.

        Great news for us here in Colorado. But as for Mike Coffman, I am staying on the offensive. He has been an A-1 hypocrite in this process.
        How hypocritical? Read from the Rocky Mountain News' endorsement for Coffman for Secretary of State in 2006, which he later used for his campaign commercials:

        In many years, it might not matter much who is elected Colorado secretary of state. The position typically calls for an administrator who can effectively handle the processing of government documents and the like. "Vision" doesn't seem to be a requirement for the job.

        But 2006 is different, as anyone who's paid attention to the controversy surrounding the certification of voting machines can attest. The next secretary of state needs to regain the public's trust in the reliability of the technologies used to tabulate ballots.
        A major in the U.S. Marines, Coffman took a leave of absence as treasurer to help organize and oversee elections in Iraq.

        Anyone who can pull off an election while literally under fire deserves a serious look at running elections here. We hope voters agree, and elect Coffman secretary of state.

        Yes, he actually ran on being a person who was experienced at administering elections and ensuring votes. Instead, he has operated as a partisan and disenfranchising voters.


    • Republican 36 says:

      Of course, the question isn't how many elections Rep. Coffman has won since the Kopelman affair or whether or not Mr. Romanoff has taken a position on immigration. Its the fact Mr. Coffman says do as I say, not as I do. The issue is his hypocrisy.

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        +100. Don't let the troll misdirect. This is about Coffman's hypocrisy, period. I don't care how many elections Coffman can dodge the truth for, each election is a new chance for accountability.

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        Modster is right that this particular "affair" has and will have little effect. Let's remember that most voters aren't us and are blissfully unaware of this kind of stuff.  If they know who their Rep is and can name the opponent that's pretty good.

        Coffman will not be easy to beat no matter how much we all agree that he's a total dick. Trying to leverage inside baseball stuff into a victory isn't where we should be investing our energy. Getting out the kind of big negative messages that people will relate to about Coffman and big positive messages that people will relate to about Romanoff should be the game plan. More macro, less micro. That said,  we have enough easy to digest material to get it done without asking average low info voters to follow us through the weeds.

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          PS Did I just say Modster was right about something?

        • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

          The people paying attention right now are political reporters who will be shaping the narrative all year long. I'm glad Pols stays on this shit. Coffman should NEVER be able to be a hypocrite. He should always have his past put in his face where it is applicable.

          I'm a political junkie, and I do care. I hope everybody who writes about Coffman and the VA reads this blog!

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:

            Oh I am too. Just know from sad experience that if we're counting on stuff like this to be what defeats Coffman we'll be very disappointed. Most people don't read political reporting and our local TV news rarely touches it. Not that many people watch TV news anymore anyway.

            The truth is, these stories mainly fire up those already on our side. Certainly doesn't hurt to try to bring attention to this stuff. Every little bit helps. But it's not going to play a large role in determining who wins and who loses. 

            A major Romanoff charm offensive (he's got great charm potential where Coffman has none) coupled with a lot of Coffman bashing concerning stuff that people care about in ads run by supporting groups so you don't have a lot of nastiness followed by "and I approved this message" messing with the charm and then super strength boots on the ground GOTV will be what wins it for Romanoff if he wins. Don't see why we can't have all of that going.

            • bullshit!bullshit! says:

              This is a base turnout election. We need the people already on our side to vote.

              I agree that this is a small point, but as JB says, the chattering class is the target right now. So make every point we can.

              • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                Absolutely. This won't be easy to win so every point counts. The only thing I agree with Modster about really is that I wouldn't put too much confidence in this kind of thing making a big difference. On re-reading Modsters comments I shouldn't have gone so far as to say I agreed because it's not "grasping at straws". I was too amused by the opportunity to agree with him about anything. But I do believe that, to the broader voting public, this isn't going to amount to much so we'd better have lots more tools in the toolbox than this. 

                Over the years I've too often seen too many Dems mystified at losing elections when bad behavior on the part of adversaries either isn't as obvious to the general public as it is to us or is viewed by most as no big deal, just politics as usual. I simply caution against putting too many eggs in that particular basket. 

  2. SSG_Dan says:

    I'm BACK, Political Bitches! 

    The better question for the "most qualified candidate to talk about Veteran's issues" is this  – why did he fail to act a year ago when he was SPECIFICALLY warned about the issues the VHA had about scheduling Veterans?


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