Why Isn’t Sen. Steve King a Poster Child?

Sen. Steve King (R).

Sen. Steve King (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports today on the latest developments in the Sen. Steve King embezzlement scandal. For those not following this story, GOP Sen. King is facing several felony and misdemeanor charges, stemming from allegedly falsified timesheets filed with different public agencies he was employed by–overlapping to a degree that the pay he received cannot be justified.

The fact is, it’s been several weeks since we last wrote about Sen. King’s troubles. With a major election just weeks away now, it occurred to us as we read Ashby’s story this morning that felony charges against a sitting Republican state senator ought to be a bigger election season story than the press coverage we’ve seen up to now would indicate.

Colorado GOP Senate leaders appear to agree:

Embattled state Sen. Steve King was replaced as a member and chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee nearly a month ago, but Senate Republicans didn’t tell anyone about the change despite felony charges facing the Grand Junction Republican. [Pols emphasis]

Jesse Mallory, chief of staff for the Senate Republicans, said King and Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, “mutually agreed” that King should be replaced on the eight-member panel that reviews audits of state programs.

Mallory said he didn’t know whether King asked Cadman to replace him on the committee, or if the minority leader contacted King about it…

King, who has served on the committee since January 2011, had been chairman of the bipartisan audit committee since January. He was replaced by Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City. The only public message about that appointment was by Grantham himself on his own Facebook page when the committee held its August meeting last week.

Because Sen. King has not chosen to resign from his lame-duck senate seat, obviously something had to be done here. Under different circumstances, the end of an indicted politician’s career is often a lurid death watch, with every procedural move on their way out the door a well-documented public spectacle. Remember Rep. Laura Bradford’s DUI/legislative immunity career-ender? Every step in the investigation was a story. When Bradford issued any kind of statement on the matter, there was a story. When she initially lost and then was reinstated to her committee chair, it was a story. When she decided not to run again–story.

So why is Sen. Steve King’s case flying largely under the radar? It looks to us like the Senate GOP believes they’ve learned a lesson from the Bradford saga, and did their best to keep their part of this story under wraps. Ashby has done a good job following developments, but Denver media has had curiously little to say about King’s indictment. There certainly remains the potential for King’s scandal to tarnish the Republican brand as a whole in the upcoming elections, perhaps more useful elsewhere than in the Senate District 7 race to succeed King itself (though Ray Scott can’t be enjoying this). If Democrats were to make an issue of GOP Senate leadership trying to keep King’s demotion under wraps…well, that would be a place to start, wouldn’t it?

Bottom line: it’s an election year, and we have this nagging thought that if Sen. Steve King had a (D) after his name instead of an (R), we’d be hearing a lot more about him right now. Maybe that’s just because Democrats are nicer about these things, or for whatever reason not as skilled at fanning the flames of scandal.

But on balance, it’s awfully tough to imagine better material to work with than a Republican state senator charged with a bunch of felonies.

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. hawkeye says:

    Sen Steve King seems to be a perfect candidate for sheriff … 

  2. ct says:

    Bigger oxen to gore here than Post-Peter-Principaled still Colorado Republican Senator Steve "Works Three Public Sector Jobs (simultaneously)–King.  Some connected in circles and cess-pools that current GOP leaders swim in… best t just move along.  Let's ask Chuck P what to do… SSSSSHHHH  

  3. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Ralphie, Pols reader, originally broke the story to the Sentinel.


    • gertie97 says:

      Yes, he did, mama. Ashby made one phone call and claimed credit, as usual giving none to where he'd discovered it. The real reporting on King has been done by the Sentinel's cops-and-courts reporter, Paul Shockley.

  4. ct says:

    Bets on if indicted Still Colorado Republican Senator Steve "Yes, I am clocked in to my tax-funded job(s)–all across the state!" King will be a no-show at the big Club 20 dinosaurs, candidates and drillers confab this weekend in Shale City? 

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    Simple explanation.  Chuck Plunkett deemed it un-newsworthy because he loves him them Tea Partiers.

  6. SocialisticatProgressicat says:

    Um, Bradford's DUI occurred just after the session started and she dropped out of contention in March/April.  King was indicted after everyone went home and stopped caring about the legislature for another year.  Not a big mystery.

  7. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Because guilt by association is bad journalism?

  8. Konola says:

    Mesa County elected a King. Shoulda had a Konola.

    Thanks to information uncovered by Ralph at the time and my analysis of his campaign finance reports, I asked about King's double dipping in the 2010 Club 20 debates. The "liberal" media ignored all of that and instead went with a "peacock" story.

    The Konola/Scott debate kicks off the Club 20 meeting on Saturday…

  9. AmericanPatriot68 says:

    The reason the King story isn't a story is because he was the “anointed one” of the Mesa County GOP inner circle. And they no doubt have plans to rehabilitate him for recycling in much the same way as they have Mesa County Commissioner elect Scott McInnis or Josh Penry. After all, Steve King didn't do anything that everybody else in the Mesa County GOP inner circle hasn't done. He was just unfortunate enough to get caught.

    And for those of you who are interested in just how that happened, here's a quote from an online Steve King statement that occurred just before he came under scrutiny; “I find that many of these groups (local Tea Party) lack a moral compass and are not above twisting the truth till it no longer fits with reality.”

    The irony in that quote is; if you want to know what Mesa County Republicans are up to, just listen to what they're accusing the Tea Party of.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      There's any difference between "Mesa County Republicans" and "the Tea Party" ???

      Now that would be news!

      • AmericanPatriot68 says:

        What you should be asking is; what's the difference between the Mesa County GOP and the Chamber of Commerce? Now, if I were to tell you that the MC GOP reserves language and deeds to be used against the local Tea Party that they wouldn't even think about using against Obama or the Democrats, you'd probably call me a liar because I'm a Tea Party member, so don't take my word for it. I see Konola (Democrat candidate for the CO Senate from Mesa County) has already commented here. Why not ask her? I am sure she's aware of what's going on in her own district, and besides, she's seen the police reports and knows who the players are. How about it, Ms Konola, are you up for speaking truth to power?

        • gertie97 says:

          Which police reports are those, AP68?

          • AmericanPatriot68 says:

            My favorite is the police report that was filed by Scott Tipton's former congressional aide Jennifer Bailey. That's the same police report that she lied in writing about making two days later. The one that reported a crime that was later exposed as never having happened. And oh yeah, there's a supplemental by then Palisade Police chief Quarrels that's very interesting as it places Mrs. Tipton as the proximate cause of the crime report.

            What I find so interesting in that case is that it demonstrates exactly what many people on this site refuse to believe. That the Democrats have been getting a free ride over the past five years because of a GOP obsessed with destroying the true Tea Parties by any means necessary. And the liberals for the most part; they've demonstrated that they're a real asset to the GOP by piling on, either in malice or in ignorance.

            Partisan politics does make for strange bedfellows. But of course you miss all of that once you find out it's not about politics at all; it's all about the money.


        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          AP68, you mean this post ?

          In my limited experience, when GOP party members start piling on Tea Party folks, progressives tend to go for the popcorn and shots. 

          • AmericanPatriot68 says:

            Wrong; the case you site was cannibalism, in that at the heart of that case was an old guard Republican trying to force the cartel that presently occupies the power seats in the Mesa County GOP to adhere to the bylaws. I believe that one just resulted in battery charges and a protective restraining order, which of course prevented the old guard Repub from attending the meetings. Bylaws problem solved. And just in case you missed it, the court hearing in that case was attended by just about everybody who's anybody in the Mesa County GOP. You see, over here on the far side of the mountain (which is very similar to the far side of the moon) there's very little room for dissent. Either you go along to get along or you get crushed, not just politically but also personally, probably as a result of our isolation and one party control of our government. There's not as much money to go around over here, and so people fight to death over the scraps. But all of that will change soon because energy development is once again about to become a priority either by a change in administration or chaos in the world oil market. I assume you've heard that Mesa County is about to hit the big time with our very own casino having been proposed, which is to be expected what with all of that unemployment money floating around over here in the happy valley.

            As to your second point, Edmund Burke had something to say about that. Suggested reading; George Washington's farewell speech to congress and just skip on down to the part about political parties.

          • AmericanPatriot68 says:


            On the western slope, pigs also get slaughtered, especially when they're endangering the goose that laid the golden egg. Wasn't it some Louisiana Gov who said; the appearance of law is important, especially when the law is being broken? I mean, it's not exactly like anyone east of the Rocky Mountains gives a good G damn about what happens over here. But maybe that too is about to change. Did I mention that Stan Hilkey (R ) (former MC Sheriff) is now the executive director of the Colorado Dept of Public Safety? Appointed by Hickenlooper. (D) And I'm sure I mentioned that Hilkey wholeheartedly endorsed his former deputy Steve King in the Mesa County Sheriff's race. On second thought, maybe some things never change. But the criminal charges against King, well, that's a new thing that marks a transition, an evolution here on the beautiful slopes of western Co from nope to hope.

            • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

              The people of Alaska have shown us the way AP.

              You and I go back all the way to the old Daily Sentinel Community blog, along with a couple of other old geezers here. During all these years, I have seldom agreed with you on policy but I have never doubted your sincerity.

              The only way to change the age-old power structure in this town (GJ) is to dismantle the Republican Party power base. We can do it together, but not until we agree to work together toward a common goal of re-elevating the rights and benefits of the average working stiff.

              The relationships necessary to facilitate this effort already exist…it is merely a realization away from happening.



              • AmericanPatriot68 says:


                The one thing that my experience has taught me is that it's very difficult to determine the good guys from the bad guys. Unlike so many liberals and so many Republicans, I do not assume that evil goes with the brand. I watch out for it, and I'm always aware of it, but there's a lot of good people out there who are just exactly like I was; totally naive and wearing wool blinders. I have a hard time relegating those people to the status of collateral damage, regardless of their politics.

                Steve King attacked the Tea Party for absolutely no other reason than he was putting in work for the ruling elite. He was in fact, part of that ruling elite. And even though I didn't go out and pick that fight, that's why I took him on and proved that he was a liar.

                You may recall that I sat for a period of time on the old Western Slope Conservative Alliance board as an adviser. I held that position because I would not accept a full seat or rather I would not accept a full seat without an election by rank and file members. And it took me some time to realize that there was never any intent by the leadership of that group to allow rank and file participation in the election of the board. Such participation was in fact prohibited by the bylaws that the self appointed leadership adopted and that's when I resigned my position as an adviser. Among others who sat on that board at the same time I was on it were Lois Dunn, Ruth Ehlers, Janet Rowland, Duncan McArthur, Kelly Sloan, Rose Pugliese and a few others. You know the names. And you also know their positions in the MC GOP. One thing that the WSCA was not about was conservatism. And ordinarily, there is no way that these people would have rubbed elbows with me. And the only thing unique about me at the time was that I was one of two GJResult.Tea Party founders.

                But why am I telling you this? Because by now, I pretty much know the good guys from the bad guys and they know that. And they know I've studied their play book. I know how they operate and I know who the players are behind the curtain. They can't buy me and I don't react to threats well, so what other option is left to them except exactly what they're doing. I knew that going in, and I know what it's like to be purely defensive. There are a hell of a lot of them and only a few of us. But we have a database and we tell the people the truth and one at a time, we're getting stronger. Someday, we may even be strong enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. And I see that as good and the right thing to do. But I will not, I cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just call it a character flaw that I'm extremely grateful for. Otherwise, no doubt, I could have been one of them.

                If I manage to stay out of jail, keep my wits about me and develop more patience than I'm actually capable of, perhaps we can have a more harmonious outcome. There's way too few good people left in this world to risk the destruction of any of them. Actually, I'm convinced that we're going to need them if we are to make it possible for our Grandchildren to argue over partisan politics. If you're up for that and the respect that's necessary to make it happen, then we've got a shot at building a better world. And the truth is; I'm just too damned old and stubborn to adopt any other goal. I just wouldn't know how to go about it.

                And thank you for your kind words. They're mutually held.


    • FrankUnderwood says:

      King was just unforutnate enough to get caught?  I'm reminded of that old saying.  Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

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