John Newkirk Takes Personal Role In Recall Shenanigans

Jeffco school board member John Newkirk.

Jeffco school board member John Newkirk.

One of the things that we frequently cover as the political water cooler blog for Colorado are the cutesey games that opposing political campaigns often play against one another online. Over the years and often the result of tips from readers, we’ve broken the stories of hilarious errors on candidate websites, candidate photo shoots gone horribly wrong, and the occasional outright spoofing of an opponent’s site.

The main “independent” group opposing the recall of conservative members of the Jefferson County school board is a group known as Jeffco Students First. Jeffco Students First recently pulled off a trick at the expense of the pro-recall group Support Jeffco Kids, who had registered their website’s domain name supportjeffcokids.org, but had neglected to also register supportjeffcokids.COM–the site people are most likely to type in from memory. Jeffco Students First snapped up the .com domain name and repointed it at their own website–which will both confuse voters looking for more information and hurt the real Support Jeffco Kids’ Google ranking.

But this apparently wasn’t the only example of Jeffco Students First playing domain name games. Several other seemingly pro-recall domain names were bought up, apparently some time ago: including recallwitt.org, recallnewkirk.org, and recallwilliams.org. These three domain names were all registered to the same domain registrar, Omnis Network. Recallwitt.org and recallwilliams.org were registered at 10:21PM on June 26 2014, recallnewkirk.org at 10:27PM on June 26 2014. As you can see, someone was thinking ahead.

But here’s the newsworthy part: the latter two are NOT registered in the name of Jeffco Students First. They are registered in the personal name of Jeffco board member John Newkirk. Here are the relevant portions of the identifying WHOIS records for these three domains:

wittwhois williamswhois newkirkwhois

It’s one thing for an “outside” activist group to pull a trick like this, but the evidence here points to one of the board members targeted by this recall having an active role in the “independent” group leading the opposition to said recall. Under normal circumstances, this would be a major violation of election law, since candidates are prohibited from coordinating with independent groups. But under Colorado law, recalls are technically “issue elections,” not candidate elections, so such longstanding election law principles may not apply in this case.

With that said, the questions this raises about Newkirk and Jeffco Students First are still pretty nasty politically. For one thing, a general claim of ignorance about how the internet works is key to the board majority’s defense of their bullying of a minor student by displaying her name on the boardroom’s overhead projector, while falsely accusing her of spreading “racist” material. Clearly, Newkirk knows his way around a keyboard, and knew the student in question had done nothing of the kind.

More importantly–why is a board member personally engaging in online dirty tricks? It seems to us that John Newkirk’s name may have been entered inadvertently, and Jeffco Students First should have been used to register all three. But the fact that his personal name was used to register two of these domains, with Jeffco Students First identified as the registrant of the third domain all within a few minutes of each other and with the same domain registrar, amounts to a smoking gun–clear evidence of a degree of coordination between Newkirk and this group that has never been reported by anyone.

Bottom line: it doesn’t have to be illegal to stink to high heaven, folks. Add this to the growing mountain of grievances Jefferson County voters will have freshly in mind when they mark their recall ballots.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Newkirk is the one who fancies himself as the brains of this outfit. This doesn't surprise me in the least, nor the fact that he was not smart enough to cover his tracks.

    WNW are evil, but fortunately they are also stupid.

  2. ConservativeVoter16 says:

    And from the looks of it "Guarded Services" is used when you are trying to hide your identity.  Looks like John Newkirk/Jeffco Students First Action were caught in the act.

    The Omnis Network whois privacy protection service replaces your contact information with that of a generic agent:

    Administrative Contact:
    Guarded Services
    3655 Torrance Blvd Suite 230
    Torrance, CA 90503, US
    Phone: 1-310-316-1688
    Email: example.com@guardedwhois.com

    http://www.omnis.com/blog/2010/05

  3. JeffcoDad says:

    Yes!!!!!  Finally we have real dirt on those nasty conservatives!!!!!

  4. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    All you are doing is reminding everyone, again, of how stupid the Support Jeffco Kids group is/was in NOT registering the .com

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      OK, dave, they should have registered the .com. It will confuse the low info voters. Live and learn.

      However, I suspect that Jeffco United for Action will have plenty of volunteers on the phones and walking door-to-door explaining that the pro-recall group  is dot ORG.

      One of the good things about the all-mail-ballot election, whether that's this November on the general ballot (best scenario), or an expensive off-year special election, is that the ballots are printed by the Jeffco Board of Elections. The opposition can't really screw around with misinforming people as to dates and places to vote when they have their official ballot in front of them.

      Another is that people will have plenty of leisure time to go online and get informed about the candidates and issues, if they aren't already.

       

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      If that is the only mistake they make Dave, it will be a minor snafu.

  5. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Julie Williams has an anti-recall issue committee, which was started on 7/26/15. The Registered Agent is her sister in law, Barb Neville. Don't suppose she coordinates with her sister in law, right?

    • Chickenheed says:

      I've known the connection Williams has to the Nevilles, but seeing it out there so blatantly still sucks. I can't wait until the day comes when Williams, the Nevilles and RMGO have no influence.

    • MADCO says:

      What? Those supporting the recall are like…

      … the Nazis?!

       

      Wwell I hate nazis, so I guess I don't like those like them.  Wait.. I seem to recall from AP World History that The Nazis were not like JeffCo parents who wanted school board members more representative of their desires. So, that comparison is just dumb.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      What a load of crap. What we perceive as good came long before people started dreaming up religions to explain it.

  6. Craig says:

    Yawn.  Please don't do this crap.  This is what Udall did when he kept "pounding" Gardner over his change of position and the fact that he supported and didn't support personhood and was supporting it at a national lever while claiming in Colorado that he didn't support it.  Remember how well that worked for Udall – "an obnoxious insulting single-issue campaign."

     

    There are lots of good reasons to support recall.  Concentrate on those and the recall will be successful.  Concentrate on this type of crap and we'll end up with a 5 member all right-wing Board.  Imagine what they'll do then????

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Of course you're right. This is way too inside baseball for a population that pays no attention whatsoever to this kind of thing. Heck, most know nothing or next to it about the candidates in school board elections in the first place. Of those who bother to vote a good chunk just check out yard signs and vote for the ones their neighbors are displaying. This kind of stuff should be viewed as for our own entertainment but not of any consequence to the recall.

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