UPDATE: David O. Williams updates his story with another document that directly contradicts Baumgardner’s own statement that “I don’t know anything about that.”
And documents obtained in the CORA request also show the senator does know about the incidents in question: baumgardner-sand-release-april-2015(pdf).
Freelance journalist David O. Williams has a new story out today that could spell trouble for Colorado’s “Capital Cowboy,” state Sen. Randy Baumgardner–who has allegedly been beating the high cost of living by misusing state property for his personal needs:
In a recent interview with the Rocky Mountain Post, [Democratic opponent Emily] Tracy accused Baumgardner of ignoring constituents, violating the public trust and playing politics over critical economic and safety issues such as highway funding. She was particularly pointed over revelations the senator may have use state property for personal gain while working for the highway department.
“It’s a violation of public trust,” Tracy said. “It’s public money. It’s taxpayer’s hard-earned money that goes to funding all of this. It just shouldn’t be misused.”
The Rocky Mountain Post obtained the results of a Colorado Open Records Act request filed with the Colorado Department of Transportation last spring revealing that Randy and Lori Baumgardner were involved in three different incidents of personal use of state property.
Randy Baumgardner worked for the state highway department for 11 years starting in 2000, and his wife Lori still works for CDOT. Lori Baumgardner received multiple Performance Documentation Forms for incidents that also involved her husband, including the improper use of a fuel card PIN number in 2009, using CDOT sand on their ranch in 2014, and earlier this year using CDOT office photocopy machines to duplicate their tax returns.
Baumgardner’s response to these questions…is not good:
“I don’t know anything about any of that,” Randy Baumgardner told the Rocky Mountain Post. “I’m not addressing any of that. Like I said, you can make out of that whatever you want to. I don’t know. I’ve not worked for them since 2011. [Lori] still works for them. I’m not going to get into the weeds on that.”
CDOT officials would not comment on the CORA findings, citing personnel reasons, but officials did verify the results of the records request, which included emails from supervisors who were very concerned about the misuse of state property by the Baumgardners. [Pols emphasis]
It’s of course extremely unlikely that Baumgardner doesn’t know about these incidents, which left a paper trail of emails that prove it was a known problem within the Colorado Department of Transportation. Any appropriation of government resources for personal use by a government employee is unacceptable, and it’s naturally worse when that government employee also happens to be a sitting state lawmaker.
We’ll have to see how this story develops–but if you’re looking for the type of scandal that might actually cost a quasi-safe legislator their seat with elections only a few weeks away, we’d say this could fit the bill.