Ex-Colorado GOP Chair’s Vote Fraud Trial Underway

Former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis.

The latest episode of Colorado Republican True Crime Stories™ picks up from a courtroom in Weld County, as KDVR FOX 31’s Rob Low reports:

Just weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Steve Curtis told his radio listeners, “Virtually every case of voter fraud that I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats or do I not have the facts?”

Now Curtis, the chairman of Colorado’s Republican party in the late 1990s and a former talk show host for KLZ-560 AM, is on trial in a Weld County courtroom, charged with felony forgery [and] misdemeanor election fraud.

The 58-year-old is accused of forging his ex-wife’s signature on her 2016 mail-in ballot after the couple divorced and she moved to South Carolina.

The latest reports shed more light on the case against former Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve Curtis, who appears to have been turned in for election fraud by his ex-wife after she contacted Weld County to find out how to cast her ballot–only to be told she already had. This evidently didn’t sit well with the former Mrs. Curtis, who was given a chance to make her estranged husband’s life miserable she could not refuse.

For everybody else, it’s another chance to make the point that Colorado Republicans seem to be the only people who actually commit election fraud in Colorado–which makes their endless hand-wringing about supposed “Democrat election fraud” awfully curious.

Crime in general for that matter. It’s a bit unsettling.

BREAKING: John Conyers Out Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Rep. John Conyers (D).

A big development today in the ongoing cultural struggle over sexual harassment in the halls of celebrity and power–Democratic Rep. John Conyers, one of the nation’s longest-serving representatives and a civil-rights movement icon, will retire under a cloud as The Hill reports:

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who for weeks has been the target of sexual misconduct allegations, announced on Tuesday that he will retire from the House.

Conyers, the lower chamber’s current longest-serving member, told a Detroit-area radio station that he is endorsing his son, John Conyers III, for his seat.

He said he was “retiring today.”

“This too shall pass. And I want you to know that my legacy will continue through my children,” John Conyers told host Mildred Gaddis.

He has remained defiant in the face of the accusations and insisted during the radio appearance that his “legacy can’t be compromised or diminished” by the allegations.

It’s tough to summarize the contributions of Rep. Conyers over the course of decades in a single sentence, but we’re sorry to say that how a man treats women he deals with professionally must inevitably affect his legacy. In fact, the only way the lesson can be learned that no one is above accountability…is for no one to be above accountability.

And if there’s any justice, it’s not going to stop with John Conyers.

Tuesday Open Thread

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

–Soren Kierkegaard

At Least He’s Not Your County GOP Treasurer

UPDATE: The Chieftain notes in an updated version of the story that Fogg was arrested in El Salvador on November 17.

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Jeff “Boss” Fogg

One word of caution–if you live in Pueblo County, as the Chieftain reports, the above doesn’t apply to you. Because, unfortunately:

An arrest warrant has been issued for former Pueblo County Republican Treasurer Jeff Fogg after he didn’t appear in court Nov. 16 for a pre-trial hearing on felony charges that he allegedly stole more than $20,000 from the county party between April 2013 and July 2015…

Fogg, 50, was scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 11, but he is reportedly out of the country. He owns property in El Salvador.

Fogg was the target of complaints by local Republican officers in July 2015 after they pressed him for an accounting of the party bank account. They claimed there was evidence Fogg had emptied the account but replenished it the day of their examination.

Jeff Fogg might have dropped some money back into the Pueblo County Republican Party’s bank account on the sly, but the Chieftain reports further examination of the party’s books found evidence that Fogg pocketed between $20,000 and $100,000–which we expect is enough to buy a pretty nice hidey-hole in El Salvador! That nation technically has an extradition treaty with the United States, but apparently not a very good one.

It’s not the first time a Colorado county Republican Party has had a problem with party officers using the organization’s finances as a slush fund. Back in 2011, Larimer County GOP chairman Larry Carillo pleaded no contest to felony theft charges after relieving the party of between $17,000 and $35,000 to support his swinging gambler lifestyle. You might remember that fines related to Carillo’s case against the county party were partly offset by a fundraiser featuring then-Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who at one point had been set to appear in a dunk tank to raise money to cover the fines.

If it was our donations walking away like this, we wouldn’t find that very funny.

Daily D’oh: Is the President Allowed to Obstruct Justice?

There is so much breaking news lately on the ever-widening allegations about Russian ties to the Trump campaign that it can be difficult to keep track of everything. With that in mind, we’ve created what we’re calling “The Daily D’oh!” to help you stay up-to-date on President Trump and the rest of the White House staff as more news emerges about Russia, James ComeyRobert Mueller, special investigations and everything else related to this ongoing crisis…

 

♦ Trump Tweets Himself Into Trouble

President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to comment on the news that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had pled guilty to lying to the FBI as part of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. From the Washington Post:

On Saturday, Trump tweeted this about his former national security adviser: “I had to fire General (Michael) Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.

Legal experts said this could be used as evidence that the president was trying to obstruct justice when he allegedly asked James Comey to take it easy on Flynn and then, when he didn’t, fired him as FBI director.

On Sunday, Trump’s personal lawyer claimed responsibility for writing the tweet — which he called sloppy. John Dowd clarified that the president knew in late January that Flynn had probably given FBI agents the same inaccurate account he provided to Vice President Pence about a call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“Dowd said the information was passed to Trump by White House counsel Donald McGahn, who had been warned about Flynn’s statement to the vice president by a senior Justice Department official,” Carol D. Leonnig, John Wagner and Ellen Nakashima reported last night. “A person close to the White House involved in the case termed the Saturday tweet ‘a screw-up of historic proportions’ that has ‘caused enormous consternation in the White House.’

♦ It’s Cool, Because Trump is Totally Allowed to Obstruct Justice

Team Trump floated an interesting legal theory in an interview with Axios.com on Monday:

John Dowd, President Trump’s outside lawyer, outlined to me a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice.

The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Dowd claims.

♦ Wait, Really?

There may not be a completely clear answer on whether the President of the United States is actually allowed to obstruct justice, but legal experts doubt that idea:

From CNN:

Whether a president can be criminally charged — for any offense — has never been tested in the courts. But presidents have been subject to obstruction-of-justice charges in impeachment proceedings. And there is no question that a president can be removed for, as the US Constitution dictates, any “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Unlike a criminal case heard by a judge or jury, impeachment is a political process that comes down to votes: a majority in the US House of Representatives to impeach and a two-thirds vote of the US Senate to convict. Yet both sets of proceedings can follow the kind of special counsel investigation now underway. Comparisons to the Nixon scandal have been rife recent months. In Watergate, Nixon was not criminally charged but was named as an unindicted co-conspirator and pressured to resign with impeachment charges looming.

Which leads us back to that Axios.com story:

Remember: The Articles of Impeachment against Nixon began by saying he “obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice.”

And per a different story from the Washington Post, we may be close to answering this thorny question one way or the other:

Of course, no president has actually been removed from office via impeachment, so this is still a legal question that is unresolved. That means whatever the answer, Trump could be the one to answer it thanks to his own missteps.

“For years, professors have engaged in a type of professorial parlor game of unanswered questions ranging from the definition of ’emoluments’ to prosecuting a president in office to charging a president with obstruction,” Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley said.

He added: “To its great peril, the Trump administration seems intent on answering each of these questions.”

Alrighty, then.

Judy Reyher’s Collateral Damage Piles Up

Judy Reyher.

Michael Harriot of nationally prominent African-American publication The Root introduced his substantial audience to the newest member of the Colorado General Assembly, Judy Reyher, on Friday–and from what you already know about Rep.-designate Reyher, you can imagine that it went really well!

A Colorado woman whose Facebook page insinuated that former President Barack Obama faked his birth certificate, said that author Toni Morrison hated white people, wondered why Muslims come to “our country,” and called Michelle Obama “evil personified” and “one of the biggest racist ever to live” was recently punished for her views by … wait for it … receiving an appointment to represent the citizens of her state in the Colorado Legislature…

Despite dubious evidence like an actual birth certificate and newspaper archives, Becky with the crows’ feet was one of the many people who believed that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States: “It’s never been proven that he was born in the United States,” Reyher said. “Six months later, they conjure up a birth certificate, and we’re all supposed to fall for it. It would take me five minutes to come up with mine.”

I agree with Reyher’s stance because, until I see her birth certificate, I am inclined to believe that she was spawned from the particularly wrinkled left side of Satan’s scrotum. I am, however, disinclined to trust her opinion of black people in general. [Pols emphasis]

Ouch. Meanwhile, the Pueblo Chieftain’s managing editor Steve Henson has apparently realized that Reyher is bad for the Arkansas Valley’s reputation, hitting Reyher hard in a column this weekend unusually strong for a Republican-leaning paper:

Sorry, but this isn’t about left and right, Democrat or Republican, and it isn’t some “Saul Alinsky playbook” conspiracy. This is about human decency and respect for all people. Racism is racism and has nothing to do with political leanings or party affiliation…

It obviously was naive to think such a thing, but it’s clear we were wrong to think, to hope, that racism had gone away in the 50-some years since the Civil Rights Movement.

No, in 2017, racism is very much alive. And it’s alive in our backyard. [Pols emphasis]

As word of the controversy over Reyher’s appointment to the Colorado legislature spreads, the so-far refusal of Colorado Republican leadership–either legislative leaders like Minority Leader Patrick Neville or state party chairman Jeff Hays–to intervene on behalf of the Republican brand going into an election year risks doing electoral damage well beyond the confines of House District 47. Hays’ toothless expression of “disagreement and displeasure” through a party spokesperson is nowhere near adequate, and Reyher’s unrepentant presence in the headlines is helping saddle the local Republican Party with the national party’s distasteful post-Trump reputation with each passing day.

At some point, we may just have to conclude they deserve it.

Two NRSC Staffers Resign Over Donor List Theft Allegations

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and longtime advisor Chris Hansen.

A little more than a week ago, we drew your attention to this brewing scandal facing Sen. Cory Gardner and his leadership of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). As we said at the time, accusations that NRSC staffers stole fundraising lists from their counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) put Gardner in a very awkward position:

Whether or not Gardner is publicly blamed for this colossal mistake is not entirely relevant at this point — the whispers among Republican donors will be devastating. Gardner is about to find himself leaving a lot of voicemail messages that will never be returned.

Betraying major donors is a cardinal sin in politics. It’s not hyperbole to say that this could ultimately end Gardner’s career.

When Politico first reported on this, the story included a quote from Chris Hansen, the NRSC’S Executive Director and former Chief of Staff to Sen. Gardner, who rejected the claim in no uncertain terms:

“This is utter nonsense. The NRSC and the NRCC have a close working relationship and at the end of the day, our shared goal is growing our majorities for years to come.”

If you believe Hansen’s claim that this story is “utter nonsense,” then you’re going to be a bit confused by today’s update from Politico:

Two fundraising staffers for the National Republican Senatorial Committee who broke into the computer servers of the House GOP campaign arm resigned late last week, Republican sources told POLITICO. [Pols emphasis]

The staffers, Laura Kleffner and Krista Madaio, had previously worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Three Republican sources said last week that the NRSC aides used their old NRCC passwords to collect information on more than 200,000 donors. The digital break-in infuriated NRCC officials when they became aware of it in October.

The NRSC and NRCC both declined to comment.

If this story is indeed much ado about nothing, then apparently two NRSC fundraising staffers resigned last week for no reason whatsoever. That seems like an improbable coincidence.

According to Politico, the NRSC’s list theft “has been the talk of GOP donor circles in recent weeks,” so we’d expect that there is plenty more to come here.

 

It’s Official, Cory Gardner: Roy Moore Won’t Be Expelled

UPDATE: President Trump is now “all in” on supporting Moore, as CNN reports:

President Donald Trump fully endorsed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore on Twitter Monday morning.

Trump had hesitated to throw his full support behind the embattled Republican candidate in the wake of explosive accusations against him. His tweet Monday comes as recent polls show a close race…

…Moore expressed gratitude for Trump’s public support, which comes eight days before the special election.

“Thankful for President Trump’s support. The America First agenda will #MAGA. Can’t wait to help him #DrainTheSwamp. #ALSEN” he tweeted.

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Roy Moore, Cory Gardner.

Politico reporting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sounding the retreat from previous statements that accused child molester Roy Moore should be expelled from the U.S. Senate in the event he wins the December 12th special election in Alabama–leaving Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, whose National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) pulled support from Moore and who also called for Moore to be expelled if he wins…

We believe the correct description is “with his ass hanging in the breeze.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday shifted his tone on allowing Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore to serve in the Senate if elected.

Multiple women have accused Moore, who is facing Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of making sexual advances on them when they were teenagers. When the allegations first appeared, McConnell said he believed the women and said Moore should drop out of the contest.

“I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” McConnell said on ABC’s “This Week.” He said he thought the Senate Ethics Committee would handle the allegations against Moore if he is elected: “The ethics committee will have to consider the matters that have been litigated in the campaign should that particular candidate win.”

That’s well short of a vote to expel, of course–and just like Cory Gardner quietly ate his words after calling for now-President Donald Trump to pull out of the presidential race last October, you can now officially start the vigil for Gardner to commence backpedaling on Roy Moore as well. It would be preferable to see reporters track that change as it occurs, rather than allowing him to “go dark” for the next week and issue the inevitable “everybody should have the opportunity to live down pedophilia” statement once Moore’s accession to the U.S. Senate is a fait accompli.

These signals coming from the highest Republicans in the land that they are ready to capitulate to Moore are the best tacit support they can possibly give Moore and his embittered hard-right base. With over a week left before the election for this reality to be absorbed by Alabama voters, Moore’s election–and the greatest moral moment of truth for Republicans since Trump himself–is once again the most likely scenario.

There is of course the possibility that Gardner could surprise us, but we have no reason to expect it.

At this point, absolutely none.

Weekend Open Thread

“Magic trick: to make people disappear, ask them to fulfill their promises.”

–Mason Cooley

Sorry Republicans, Judy Reyher Is Your New JoAnn Windholz

UPDATE: Rep.-designate (we think that’s the right term because she hasn’t been ‘elected’ despite what she says below) Judy Reyher fires off a fresh statement signaling clearly that she’s not going anywhere:

The people elected a fighter, and I am proud to say I am that fighter. I will fight back against the smears, I will fight back against the lies, and moving forward, I will be fighting in Colorado’s capitol as an advocate for more liberty and freedom in our great state.

When I decided to run for the vacant seat in House District 47, I fully expected a fight from the very moment I announced my candidacy. Sadly, everything I anticipated has come true. I am here today to inform all the hate-filled left-wingers that I am not backing down and will serve the great people of my district with both distinction and fervor.

In less than a week, Democrats across the entire country have left me dozens of vile and disgusting messages of hate. I would share these, but they are so distasteful they are barely worth dignifying with a response. The far left is so desperate to win my seat that they have concocted a ridiculous narrative of racism and hate. This is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook and shows the far left’s true colors of divisiveness and hate.

Those who have read the comments can plainly see that my responses were always thorough disgust of the left’s modus operandi in creating a vicious political atmosphere filled with division and strife. With nothing else in my experience to be grasped by them and with emotional immaturity, good Americans long ago came to expect this behavior from a morally bankrupt movement. Out-of-state groups are now using their own hate and vile manners in a blatant attempt to discredit anyone seen in opposition to their liberal position. These attacks are ridiculous, desperate, and I know voters will see through it as more garbage and divisiveness.

I am a proud 5th generation Coloradoan and an American who will dutifully serve all of my fellow Coloradoans with class and distinction. My record will reflect those values that we all hold dear. I make this commitment to all of you. I will also be working for all who live in my district. Anything less is a capitulation to the latest ridiculous ploy by the left.

Judy Reyher
Colorado State Representative-elect

Again she has not been ‘elected’ in the according-to-Hoyle sense of the word, but as you can see soon-to-be Rep. Reyher doesn’t have have time for your little technicalities. She’s headed to the Capitol, and there’s not a thing GOP leadership or either half of former President Obama can do about it.

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Judy Reyher.

As Ernest Luning of the former Colorado Statesman reports–the possibility that straight-up racist highly controversial Rep.-designate Judy Reyher of the Arkansas River valley agricultural town of Swink, appointed this week to replace outgoing Rep. Clarice Navarro in House District 47, might be quickly swept under the rug via a challenge to the vacancy committee vote to appoint her appears to be dwindling:

Reyher was having none of it.

“The secretary and the teller committee certified the vote,” she told Colorado Politics after learning about the challenge from a reporter. “It was a secret ballot. End of story. She’s mad that she lost, so she’s going to cause a ruckus for no reason — she doesn’t understand what the words ‘secret ballot’ mean. It’s just sour grapes.”

Jace Ratzlaff, Navarro’s husband and one of the vacancy committee members, was furious when he learned Axworthy had shared with GOP officials and the media what he considered a private text message assuring her he’d voted for her. While he declined to reveal how he’d cast his secret ballot — “it would diminish the process,” Ratzloff said Tuesday night — he called it “unfortunate” that Axworthy was challenging the result.

“Judy won. Tamra did not win. They are both fine ladies, but in every election there is a winner and there is a loser. And I take offense to the fact that someone is contesting a vacancy committee that was held where all the I’s were dotted and all the T’s were crossed. This is a case of sour grapes,” Ratzlaff told Colorado Politics. “Now that I know that Tamra shared a personal text message, I would absolutely have reconsidered my allegiance.”

The story of Judy Reyher’s disastrous interview with the Denver Post, in which she happily restated many of the looniest items she had ever posted to her Facebook page (and as our friend Jason Salzman reported over a year ago, they were pretty damn looney)–and flat-out told the reporter on the record that black people “hate white people with a passion”–is quickly going national. Despite this, Colorado Republican leadership including the minority leadership in the Colorado House have failed to offer anything other than token condemnation in response–certainly no public indication of pressure for Reyher to withdraw before she is sworn in shortly as a GOP state representative.

This has of course happened before–and recently. In the immediate aftermath of the domestic terror attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in November of 2015, then-Rep. JoAnn Windholz blamed Planned Parenthood for the violence in unambiguous terms on social media. Windholz later deleted the post from Facebook but never apologized; and her defeat in the following election, as well as brand damage that helped Colorado Democrats grow their House majority in 2016 against the tide of a “GOP wave,” can be attributed to the failure by House GOP leadership to take swift action against Windholz.

Well, folks, here we go again! How many seats will Rep. Reyher be worth to Democrats in 2018?

BREAKING: Flynn Will Testify Trump Ordered Russian Contact

UPDATE #4: This is going to be an uncomfortable Holiday season for the Trump family. From CNN:

Jared Kushner is the “very senior member” of President Donald Trump’s transition team who directed incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador to the United States and other countries about a UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The court filings from Flynn’s plea hearing Friday say a “very senior member” of Trump’s transition team asked Flynn to contact officials from UN Security Council countries, including Russia, to learn where each country stood on the vote on a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity.

An attorney for Kushner did not respond to a request for comment.

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UPDATE #3: Former FBI Director James Comey goes Biblical, literally, on social media today:

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UPDATE #2: Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) reacts to the news:

We’re not sure what “as a retired military officer” has to do with anything, but Coffman never misses an opportunity to talk about his service. Not mentioned in this statement, or course, is the fact that Coffman called for an investigation into the FBI back in February:

You know, I think it should be looked into. And here’s one thing. Did the FBI go through the procedures in place in current law to be able to be able to tap into that phone conversation. Are there other violations of law.

We’re guessing that Coffman no longer wants to talk about investigating the FBI over how it learned of Flynn’s deception in the first place.

—–

UPDATE: As this earlier story from the New York Times would indicate, the Trump Presidency is crumbling:

President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half dozen lawmakers and aides. Mr. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.

Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, the intelligence committee chairman, said in an interview this week that Mr. Trump told him that he was eager to see an investigation that has overshadowed much of the first year of his presidency come to an end…

…In addition, according to lawmakers and aides, Mr. Trump told Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri and a member of the intelligence committee, to end the investigation swiftly.

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Absolutely YUGE news this morning.

Here’s more from the ABC News story:

The general told confidants about his decision to plead guilty in the last 24 hours, according to people close to Flynn, who say the former adviser feels President Trump has abandoned him and has agreed to answer questions about the president or anyone else…

…Flynn had initially resisted cooperating with the investigation, according to people close to the retired general, but he has been facing mounting legal debts and plans to sell his house to help defray costs.

He only recently learned the full scope of the charges he could potentially face. Last week, Trump lawyers received calls from Flynn’s lawyer Robert Kelner, alerting them that he could no longer participate in information exchanges with other possible Mueller targets, the first public indication that a plea deal was in the works.

We’ll certainly have more on this story as it develops.

Friday Open Thread

"But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils."

–Edmund Burke

Report: The Republican Tax Plan Does NOT Pay for Itself

UPDATE: The reality that the huge losses in revenue from cutting taxes by $1.5 trillion will not be made up automagically by increased revenues resulting from the economic growth spurred by the tax cuts undercuts literally decades of insistence by Republicans that this is a workable policy. And it also throws Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s own contention about the House’s version of the legislation into disarray. Coffman’s words here are quite simply wrong:

The Tax Foundation (TF), a respected nonpartisan think tank, expects the bill to lead to 3.5% higher GDP over the long run, generating economic growth that will increase federal tax revenue by nearly a trillion dollars over a decade, adding, “depending on the baseline used to score the plan, current policy or current law, the new revenues could bring the plan close to revenue neutral.”

Aside from the dubious claim that the bill would, in the worst case, increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion…

Sorry, Rep. Coffman, but as it turns out that idea isn’t so dubious. The right-leaning Tax Foundation’s analysis of the House bill was not corroborated by other research–and the only people who ever seriously believed this tax cut plan would ever be “revenue neutral” either didn’t look at the bill or didn’t care to look honestly at it.

Case in point.

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One of the most oft-repeated talking points for Republicans about their tax plan is that it would create so much growth in the economy that it would pay for itself over time. This is a favorite soundbyte designed to make Republicans feel better about the fact that they are promoting legislation that would increase the national debt by more than a trillion dollars.

The big news out of Washington D.C. this afternoon comes from a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis that in no uncertain terms blows the “pays for itself” idea out of the water. As CNN explains:

Republicans have made a very big deal pitching their tax reform plan as an elixir for economic growth.

But a new nonpartisan analysis of the Senate tax bill suggests that while it will spur some additional economic growth, it won’t be nearly enough to compensate for the full cost of the bill’s provisions, which include tax cuts for businesses and individuals.

Here’s why this is such a problem for Republicans, as Steve Benen writes for MSNBC:

Senate Republicans intend to cut taxes by about $1.4 trillion, and once their plan is fully implemented, they’ll leave a $1 trillion hole in the federal budget.

Ordinarily, GOP officials respond to reports such as these by insisting that the numbers are misleading because they failed to take “dynamic scoring” into account. In other words, Republicans believe that to get an accurate assessment of tax plans, one must account for the fact that tax cuts super-charge the economy, which means more growth, which means more revenue, which means a lower overall price tag.

But that argument doesn’t work today: the Joint Committee on Taxation, which is the official congressional scorekeeper on tax bills, relied on dynamic scoring in its analysis.

The JCT played the game by Republican rules, and the regressive tax plan is still $1 trillion short. The claims Republicans are making to justify their tax breaks are, according to Congress’ official accounting, wrong. [Pols emphasis]

It’s not yet clear whether this new report from JCT will impact the decision of Congressional Republicans to move forward on their tax plan, but this just got a lot more complicated for diehard conservatives who insist that cutting the federal budget is a fundamental imperative. No Republican can vote for this plan and simultaneously claim that they are still “fiscal conservatives” concerned about adding to the national debt.

As it turns out, 2+2 does not equal 5.