Jeffco Liberty Party Coalition Gives Gardner “Enema of the State” Award

(That sounds painful – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has been taking it pretty hard from all Coloradans, judging from his low approval ratings, and his conservative base isn’t giving him a pass when it comes to criticism either.

In one recent Facebook post, for example, the North Jeffco Tea Party shared an image of an “Enema of the State” award that was apparently bestowed on Gardner by a vote at the Christmas Party of the Jeffco Liberty Party Coalition.

The award, also given to Sen. John McCain of Arizona, was for Gardner’s “Conduct Unbecoming of a Conservative.”

Gardner has also been under serious attack most of the year by some conservative talk radio hosts here in Colorado, most recently because of his abandonment (and then partial embrace) of failed Alabama Republican Roy Moore, but generally because of his close ties to U.S. Senate President Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who’s seen as a tool for moneyed GOP interests–as opposed to a champion of Tea Party principles.

This month on KNUS 710-AM, host Julie Hayden called Gardner a “swamp creature,” saying Gardner won’t support “populist” candidates who will “not be bought and paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the big-money boys.”

Gardner won’t support Republicans who “are voting based on what the voters want” because “that threatens [his] entire existence,” said Hayden, who’s a former Fox 31 Denver reporter.

Gardner did not immediately return a call for comment, but defended his opposition to Moore by saying he was “unfit” to serve in the senate.  Gardner holds a leadership role in the U.S. Senate, working closely with McConnell, and Gardner has been a reliable backer Senate leader all year. Gardner has also voted with Trump 94 percent of the time.

Hayden’s co-host, Chuck Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of a newspaper in Glendale and Cherry Creek, explained on air that Gardner “has been promised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that if  [Gardner] is defeated, they will give him millions in lobbying contracts. I mean, millions of dollars in lobbying contracts.”

“He’ll get to spend the rest of his life in luxury and ease,” said Bonniwell, adding that Gardner “doesn’t care” if he’s re-elected. “He ain’t coming back to Colorado. He’s staying in Washington DC for the rest of his life and he will live the life of a multi-millionaire.”

“If anybody is a weasel, Cory Gardner is a weasel,” said Bonniwell.

Yesterday on Hayden and Bonniwell’s KNUS show, Anil Mathai, GOP chair in Adams Cty, asks Sen. Gardner, “Are you on crack cocaine?” for suggesting that Alabama Democrat Doug Jones vote with Republicans. Listen to Mathai here:

Not all on talk radio are critical of Gardner. Conservative KNUS host Dan Caplis is unwavering in his defense of Gardner, asking his Tea Party critics to name a single vote that Gardner has gone the wrong way on.

There’s Tone Deaf, And Then There’s Cory Gardner

UPDATE: Watch a CNN panel laugh raucously at Sen. Cory Gardner:

—–

Roy Moore, Cory Gardner.

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports on the response by National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, to last night’s come-from-behind victory by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones of Alabama–a Democratic victory that puts Gardner in a difficult position as one of the Republicans who abandoned Roy Moore as allegations of child molestation beset Moore’s campaign:

Sen. Cory Gardner, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Tuesday that Alabama voters deemed Roy Moore unfit for election, but also that he hopes Democratic victor Doug Jones will vote with Republicans once in the U.S. Senate.

“Tonight’s results are clear – the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Gardner said in a statement. “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”

Gardner’s statement whistles right past the enormous divisions Roy Moore’s Senate run opened within the Republican Party, with President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee having fully committed the party’s brand in support of Moore. Gardner himself went back and forth on Moore through the course of the Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions, supporting appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in the primary, then enthusiastically backing Moore as the primary winner before souring on Moore again with Mitch McConnell’s apparent consent after decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct against girls as young as 14 resurfaced. After Trump endorsed Moore, McConnell’s rhetoric suddenly went soft leaving Gardner out on a limb. Gardner stopped calling for Moore to be expelled at that point, but still voiced his personal opposition.

As for Gardner’s thoroughly lampoonable call for Jones to essentially caucus with Republicans, yes–we get why he said this. You could even argue that Gardner’s opposition to Moore was meant to set up the circumstances by which he could call for something like this with a straight face. But in the end, the ability of a Democrat to prevail in deeply red Alabama as happened yesterday is more than the admittedly shocking allegations against one Republican candidate. Elections across the country in 2017 have clearly indicated a huge shift of support away from Republicans since Trump’s election. In some cases, the 20-point or larger swings still weren’t enough to flip safely Republican seats, but if you apply those equivalent swings across the nation the 2018 elections begin to look very, very good for Democrats–a landslide, in fact, that could reach historic proportions.

So no, sorry Sen. Gardner, we don’t see Doug Jones caucusing with Republicans! If anything, after next November that might be a whole new punchline. In the meantime, the deep divisions created by Moore’s campaign within the Republican Party, in which Gardner is now fully entangled, are going to be fascinating to watch play out.

Colorado Democrats Push Gardner to Act on CHIP Funding

Make the right call, Sen. Gardner

It’s easy for big issues to get lost in the hubbub surrounding the Congressional Republican tax plan and the ongoing investigations into the Trump administration. Today Colorado Democrats called on Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) to take action on one of those issues: Renewing federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

From a press release:

Today, 53 Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly sent a letter to Senator Cory Gardner urging him and his colleagues to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Republican controlled Congress failed to reauthorize the vital CHIP program before funding expired this past September, putting nearly 9 million children across the country at risk of losing health care.

“75,761 Colorado children and expectant mothers depend on the program for health insurance. It is unacceptable that despite broad bipartisan support for reauthorizing this critical program, it has languished for months in the Senate,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Senator Gardner, you have said that you support reauthorization of the program, and co-sponsored bipartisan legislation with Senator Bennet to reauthorize CHIP,” the letter continued. “That support is hollow if you and your Republican colleagues do nothing to advance the legislation. As an influential member of Senate leadership, our expectation is that you would zealously advocate for Colorado’s priorities to become the US Senate’s priorities.”

Unless the Senate re-authorizes funding for CHIP, Colorado will run out of money for the program at the end of January.

Classic “Con Man Cory” Two-Step On Net Neutrality

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

CBS4 Denver reported on a rally this weekend urging the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission to reject a proposal to weaken FCC rules mandating “net neutrality”–in general, the requirement that all internet traffic be routed equally with no preferential treatment of origin:

A rally downtown on Saturday was the latest attempt to raise awareness for “Net Neutrality” days before a vote by the Federal Communications Commission expected to reverse the policy, supporters say the move will affect how consumers see online content…

The rally at Skyline Park featured multiple speakers in the afternoon arguing the internet is a utility that should available to all. Companies could charge content providers to get their material available at a faster rate, supporters say. Smaller businesses or independent sites may be at a disadvantage against larger corporations or major media outlets.

“What Net Neutrality protections, if they are overturned, would do is essentially make it so the internet is no longer a free and open place,” said Caroline Fry, another rally organizer.

But if Colorado internet users were hoping U.S. Senator Cory Gardner will intercede on their behalf, guess again:

“The FCC’s rule not only circumvents the lawmaking process, but also the very people who are responsible for the Internet’s evolution and success,” said Sen. Cory Gardner in a statement back in 2016.

Gardner has also said in past statements that the internet should not be regulated by a government agency using old rules but instead new legislation should be passed to address concerns of slowing speeds or blocking content to consumers.

With only a few days now until the FCC votes on net neutrality, if Sen. Gardner wants to provide an updated statement now is the time. The most recent response on the issue we could find is from a few months ago, in a response to a constituent as posted to reddit:

While I support consumers’ ability to access the Internet, [Pols emphasis] I had serious concerns that the FCC’s 2015 attempt to prevent Internet companies from blocking or slowing consumers relied on a 1930s portion of law, which was never intended to regulate the Internet. Using outdated regulation to police Internet companies threatens innovation and investment in the Internet. The FCC’s latest decision provides a new opportunity to find a way forward on bipartisan legislation that permanently prevents companies from blocking or slowing consumers…

Sen. Michael Bennet’s straightforward response in the same post, “I believe we should work together to protect net neutrality” and praising the 2015 FCC rules now under threat, is much more reassuring for activists working to protect net neutrality than Gardner’s view–shared by basically no one–that this proposal is a “new opportunity” for the most dysfunctional Congress in modern American history to pass legislation to protect net neutrality after it’s rolled back.

If you understand that Cory Gardner is making promises nobody has any expectation of keeping, this is fine.

But especially after the year we’ve had, let’s please not be under any delusions.

Cory Gardner: Let The Moore Backpedal Begin

Back that a** up, Cory.

Republican leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are softening their tone on accused pedophile and former judge Roy Moore as Tuesday’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama approaches. And now so is Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Gardner maintains that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which he helms for the 2018 cycle, will absolutely not support Moore’s candidacy. Of that, Gardner has been fairly consistent…but now he’s starting to backpedal on what happens if Moore wins on Tuesday.

Here’s the exact exchange between Gardner and Fox 31 reporter Joe St. George, as reported today:

JSG: “If Roy Moore wins, should he be seated?”

GARDNER: “Again, that’s a question…that’s a Constitutional question to the Supreme Court.”

 

This is a considerably different answer than the one Gardner gave on November 13. As the Denver Post reported at the time:

“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner said in a statement. “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”

President Trump, the latter of whom is doubling-down on his support of Moore. Trump is in Pensacola, Florida today for a rally that is totally not at all about Roy Moore and the fact that Pensacola is in the same television market as Mobile, Alabama.

Gardner Gets Mercilessly Mocked on “Tonight Show”

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was introduced to a national late-night audience when he was lampooned in a caricature on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” on Monday.

An actor portraying Gardner appeared during host Jimmy Fallon’s monologue to “answer” a few questions about the Republican tax plan approved by the Senate in the early hours on Saturday. Fallon asks the mock Gardner several questions about who benefits from the GOP tax plan; in response, Gardner’s character mutters a bunch of nonsensical phrases, such as “tax breaks” for “dolphinfluffin” and “gastrointestinal strudel noodle.” The joke is that Gardner cannot actually articulate concrete reasons for supporting the Senate tax plan — which, of course, is not that far removed from reality.

Jump ahead to about the 2:00 mark below for the Gardner bit:

Gardner Cancels CPR Interview, Still Makes Right-Wing Radio Show

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I was really looking forward to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) appearance yesterday on Colorado Public Radio, especially after reading the outpouring of questions submitted in response to CPR journalist Ryan Warner’s request for queries for Gardner on the tax bill.

Here are the 100-plus questions, from Warner’s Twitter feed. They give you hope for representative government in these dark times.

But alas, Gardner cancelled, leading Warner to Tweet:

I’m grateful for all the questions you’ve shared for @SenCoryGardner. His office says they must reschedule. Stay tuned.

You have to take Gardner at his word that he had a real conflict, but it’s worth noting that our senator did not cancel his radio interview with arch conservative Jimmy Sengenberger, over at KDMT, this morning at around 7 a.m.

Sengenberger started off by confirming Gardner’s previously announced position against backing Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who faces accusations of child molestation. Sengenberger told Gardner he “appreciates” Gardner’s stance.

“Thank you. Thank you,” said Gardner.

Then the tax bill.

“Where do we go from here?” asked Sengenberger, pulling out his big guns.

“I was very excited about the passage of the tax relief bill. Every income bracket, every income level in America will see tax relief as a result of this bill legislation. It’s going to grow the economy, create a million jobs, and most importantly for the people of Colorado, this will lead to higher wage growth. We’ve seen for far too long, over the past decade, stagnant wages, people working harder than ever, and they are not bringing home more money. As a result of this legislation, businesses bringing investments back into the United States, more competitive around the globe, we’re going to see those dollars come back into the United States and it’s going to result in competition for workers. And as a result we’ll see wage growth. That’s a very powerful tool of economic growth and economic activity, and that’s what we’re going to see…This makes us competitive again.”

Help! Journalistic intervention needed. But alas, no Warner-type person exists  in the KDMT studio.

Instead, we have Sengenberger. All he could come up with was a trickle of a question about whether the individual tax cuts would be made permanent.

No doubt they would at some point, said Gardner, and the interview continued with this:

Sengenberger: “How much of an impact do you think this could really have on wages and other forms of investments that businesses might want to make, Sen. Gardner, in their businesses?”

Gardner: “Well, I think significant. If you look at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, their estimates in Colorado for net increase in income for the average family is over $3,000…”

Sengenberger’s response: None. (Complete acceptance of trickle-down economics and of the Tax Foundation as nonpartisan, when it’s in fact right-leaning)

He moved on to praising Gardner for the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate.

“That one could affect a large swath of people, myself included,” Sengenberger told Gardner.

“This simply says to people, ‘You have a choice,” responded Gardner. “You can either buy insurance or not. It’s about freedom. It’s about opportunity….

“[This bill] doesn’t take anybody’s health care away. That’s simply a hysteria out there that is just not founded in reality.” [emphasis added]

Nothing from Sengenberger about the truly nonpartisan Congressional estimates that 13 million people will lose health insurance as a result of the repeal, and premiums will rise by 10 percent more than anticipated.

Instead, Sengenberger’s follow up question puts an exclamation point on why we can’t afford for journalism to die in America.

“How optimistic are you at being able to get this bill through Congress by the end of the year, if not by Christmas?” asked Sengenberger.

“You know, I’m very optimistic….” said Gardner.

Listen to Gardner’s interview on KDMT 1690-AM Dec. 6.

Rushed Republican Tax Plan is Full of Holes

What? No good?

Congressional Republicans are rushing to complete a tax plan that is leakier than a Michael Flynn testimony.

Early Saturday morning, Senate Republicans rammed through a tax bill that was full of nearly-incomprehensible text scribbled in the margins. The rhetoric might have sounded good to GOP interest groups, but the result was legislation that, as written, is a veritable nightmare for Americans and their accountants. As Politico explains:

Republicans’ tax-rewrite plans are riddled with bugs, loopholes and other potential problems that could plague lawmakers long after their legislation is signed into law…

Some provisions are so vaguely written they leave experts scratching their heads, like a proposal to begin taxing the investment earnings of rich private universities’ endowments. The legislation doesn’t explain what’s considered an endowment, and some colleges have more than 1,000 accounts. [Pols emphasis]

In many cases, Republicans are giving taxpayers little time to adjust to sometimes major changes in policy. An entirely new international tax regime, one experts are still trying to parse, would go into effect Jan. 1, only days after lawmakers hope to push the plan through Congress.

“The more you read, the more you go, ‘Holy crap, what’s this?’” said Greg Jenner, a former top tax official in George W. Bush’s Treasury Department. “We will be dealing with unintended consequences for months to come because the bill is moving too fast.” [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Mike Coffman Tweeted this image in early November. Maybe he just skimmed it.

As NPR reports, the AMT problem alone is going to be hard to solve:

As with the individual AMT, the corporate AMT aims to keep large businesses from avoiding too much of their tax bills through deductions and credits.

Keeping the corporate AMT while also cutting the corporate tax rate, experts say, could create a situation in which the revised corporate tax code undermines some of the new benefits the bills create for businesses.

Both the House and Senate must now agree on one piece of legislation before they can send the bill to President Trump, and there are some significant differences of opinion that could yet derail the whole thing. The New York Times breaks down some of the major disagreements, which include the alternative minimum tax (the House says cut it, but the Senate says no); what to do with numerous itemized deductions; how to deal with pass-through businesses; and a potential repeal of the so-called “Johnson amendment” (the House wants it repealed, but the Senate does not).

Republican rhetoric about their tax plan’s benefit to the economy is not holding up with actual business interests. Small business owners and the coal industry are among those that are terrified of the Republican tax plan. As CNN explains:

Coal CEO Robert Murray warns that if the Senate version of tax reform is enacted by President Trump he’ll be destroying thousands of coal mining jobs in the process.

“We won’t have enough cash flow to exist. It wipes us out,” Murray told CNNMoney in an interview on Tuesday.

Murray, a fierce supporter of Trump’s efforts to revive coal, condemned the Senate bill as a “mockery” that would inflict a devastating tax hike on beleaguered coal mining firms as well as other capital-intensive companies.

Let’s hurry up and finish this tax plan, they said.

What could go wrong?

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.

—–

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.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (November 30)

Tomorrow is December. No, really. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is about to be put out of his misery. As the Washington Post explains:

The White House has readied a plan to oust embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has become one of the most personally loyal and politically savvy members of President Trump’s national security team, two administration officials confirmed Thursday.

The plan, hatched by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, is expected to be set in motion over the next few weeks, and has broad support within Trump’s inner circle, the officials said. But it was unclear whether Trump had signed off on the plan yet, and the president has been known to change his mind about personnel and other matters before finalizing decisions with public announcements.

Under the plan, Pompeo would likely be replaced at the CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of Trump’s most steadfast defenders and a confidant to some leading members of the foreign policy team, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House has not publicly announced the moves.

Tillerson likely has some pretty mixed feelings about this news. Nobody likes to get fired, but when working for President Trump is the alternative…

 

► Arizona Sen. John McCain today announced that he will support the Republican tax plan in the U.S. Senate as the legislation inches closer to a floor vote. So much is being written about the Tax Turducken that it is difficult to even summarize the information, so instead, here are some of the top stories we’re reading today about this debacle:

Mark Matthews of the Denver Post outlines “Six things Coloradans should watch in the Senate tax bill.”

– The Washington Post takes a look at the state of the GOP tax plan as of this morning.

– As the Atlantic reports, younger Americans will be stuck paying for tax cuts for the rich.

– Editorial boards across the country are condemning the Republican tax plan. Here’s the Philadelphia Enquirer; the Des Moines Register; and the Chicago Sun-Times, just to name a few.

 

► It may seem these days like there is nothing a politician can do to truly derail their career, but Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and his NRSC committed a cardinal sin in politics: Betraying major donors.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Cory Gardner’s NRSC Accused of Stealing Donor Info

Get used to seeing this Gardner face

As Politico reports, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is helmed for the 2018 cycle by Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, is being accused of stealing donor information…from House Republicans:

Staffers for Senate Republicans’ campaign arm seized information on more than 200,000 donors from the House GOP campaign committee over several months this year by breaking into its computer system, three sources with knowledge of the breach told POLITICO.

The unauthorized raid on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s data created a behind-the-scenes rift with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the sources, who described NRCC officials as furious. It comes at a time when House Republicans are focused on preparing to defend their 24-seat majority in the 2018 midterm elections. And it has spotlighted Senate Republicans’ deep fundraising struggles this year, with the NRSC spending more than it raised for four months in a row…

…The donor list that was breached is among the NRCC’s most valuable assets, containing not only basic contact information like email addresses and phone numbers but personal information that could be used to entice donors to fork over cash — information on top issues and key states of interest to different people, the names of family members, and summaries of past donation history. The list has helped the NRCC raise over $77 million this year to defend the House in 2018.

“The individuals on these lists are guaranteed money,” said a Republican fundraiser. “They will give. These are not your regular D.C. PAC list.”

We’ve talked before in this space about how bad things are looking for Gardner in 2018, but this is a whole new level of trouble. The Politico story quotes NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen — a longtime Gardner advisor — vehemently denying the charges, though you can read between the lines here:

The NRCC became aware of the hack in October, and it has been the subject of whispers throughout the Republican campaign world in recent days, with one source comparing it, jokingly, to Russian hacking during the 2016 election.

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.

Cop-Out Cory Won’t Condemn Trump (Again)

CNN’s Situation Room caught up with Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner today, asking him about the controversy over President Donald Trump’s promotion on Twitter of dubious anti-Muslim videos produced by a fringe British ultra-nationalist group.

Gardner’s response to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will not be remembered as a profile in courage.

GARDNER: …Relationships with NATO allies, our relationships around the globe are stronger than any Twitter feed. Uh, I’ve said before, I disagree with this, I will continue to express that disagreements, but ah I’ve also said that perhaps one of the best ways we can address, uh, the President’s Twitter feed is to develop some kind of software where you, uh hit send once it doesn’t send, and then you give it a little time and hit send again and then it sends. So perhaps we need to find new software, uh tool available to make sure we think about some of these things before we send them.

Of course we’re not just talking about “any Twitter feed,” we are talking about the Twitter feed of the President of the United States. Trump’s rantings via Twitter most certainly do affect our relationships around the globe, as evidenced by the swift condemnation of Trump today from British Prime Minister Theresa May. The failure by Republicans to stand up to Trump as he routinely embarrasses the entire nation in the eyes of the world has directly contributed to the present climate in which Trump feels totally unrestrained.

By cracking stupid jokes instead of calling for not having a President who spews infantile hatred and falsehoods on a daily basis, Gardner proved again that he is part of the problem that saddled the globe with Donald Trump to begin with.

And as long as there are any goodies left to be gotten from Trump’s presidency, Gardner will run cover.

Yes Virginia: Tax Bill Takes From Poor, Gives To Rich

UPDATE: 9NEWS took the unusual step of a second try at analyzing the GOP tax bills–and this time reporter Brandon Rittiman goes into commendably greater detail, and gets the bottom line much closer to right:

We explained that under the House bill, about seven percent of taxpayers in unusual situations would pay more taxes instead of getting a cut. That number jumps to 24 percent of taxpayers after a decade, according to the Tax Policy Center, which is often cited by members of both political parties.

That increase over time is largely due to the fact that the GOP plan does less to adjust deductions for inflation each year…this effect is much more severe in the early Senate version of the bill. [Pols emphasis]

In fact, the TPC analysis of the Senate version figures that slightly more than half of taxpayers would see a tax increase after a decade.

Like we said. Kudos to 9NEWS for taking another look at this, and giving their viewers a vastly more accurate snapshot of where the legislation is as of now.

Accurate, and troubling.

—–

A “Verify” segment from 9NEWS last night is provoking much discussion today, giving what appears to be a diametrically opposite answer to the big question about the Republican tax “reform” bill to most analysis–is the GOP really about to pass a bill that hikes taxes on the middle class in order to give tax cuts to the rich?

9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman says no–and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.

NO, IT DOESN’T RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS TO FUND TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY

Numerous Democrats both on and off Capitol hill have made the claim that the GOP bill will raise taxes on the middle class in order to give a tax break to the rich.

The Washington Post (which gave this claim four “Pinnochios”) traced this back to a Democratic talking point that seems to have gone through a tortured game of telephone.

In fact, the GOP tax bill gives almost everyone a tax cut, which is why it comes with a steep price tag…

9NEWS is putting a very large amount of stock for this claim on a fact-check performed by the Washington Post on November 2, which corrected a math error from a number of Democrats about a previous version of the bill. But since then, numerous other studies have come out showing that large portions of the middle class will indeed pay more in taxes while the rich pay less–CNBC reported last week:

…The Tax Policy Center said that while all income groups would see tax reductions, on average, under the Senate bill in 2019, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay higher taxes that year than under current law. By 2027, that proportion would grow to 50 percent, largely because the legislation’s personal tax cuts expire in 2026, which Republicans did to curb budget deficits the bill would create. [Pols emphasis]

Curiously, 9NEWS cites an older study from the same nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzing the House-passed bill instead of the newer study analyzing the Senate bill–which appears to be substantially worse in terms of hiking taxes on the middle class down the road. But the biggest problem is with the blanket claim that the bill “doesn’t raise taxes on the middle class to fund tax breaks for the wealthy” is that they are apparently only looking at the 2018 tax year. Obviously, the bill affects much more than next year’s taxes. And as these studies clearly indicate, millions of middle class families paying more not less is baked in the proverbial cake.

Given that the tax bill’s details are a moving target subject to change at any time, and indeed have changed even since 9NEWS put up this “Verify” segment last night, we feel some cause to give the benefit of the doubt. But we just can’t find any way to accurately claim this bill doesn’t take from the middle class to give to the rich. Especially considering the proposed undermining of the Affordable Care Act and the inevitable program cuts that will be forced in the future due to over a trillion dollars of new deficits, that is not a “verifiable” statement anybody can stand behind.

And it’s not likely to age well.

Sorry Beer Lovers, Tax Bill Won’t Make Your Suds Cheaper

Full price, so drink up.

As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports:

They aren’t toasting yet, but Colorado beer-makers are abuzz about one piece of a tax package in Congress that would benefit brewers — especially the microbreweries that have become intrinsic to the state’s identity.

Under the Senate tax proposal, domestic breweries that produce less than 2 million barrels a year would see their taxes reduced from $7 to $3.50 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels they produce per year.

If the measure passes — and that’s still a big if — it would be a boon for Colorado’s nearly 350 breweries, the overwhelming majority of which fall into that category.

Notwithstanding the fact that there is nothing in the legislation to replace the lost revenue from this tax cut, or for that matter any more than a token amount of the large revenue losses projected from the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”–the latest CBO estimate is a mere 12% of the bill is paid for–you might have the notion that halving the tax on the first 60,000 barrels from your favorite local brewer would at least lighten the load on a six-pack by a commensurate amount.

Except no, sorry:

“We have never positioned this bill as a bill that would give better prices to consumers,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Boulder-based Brewers Association. [Pols emphasis]

No discount for you, beer lovers: now brewer industry representatives cross-their-heart promise that they’re not going to pocket this extra money, but re-invest it–and the benefits will “trickle down” to beer consumers, much like a good craft brew itself within a couple hours of being drunk. Like so many of the tax breaks in this legislation, the losses in tax revenue are plain to see, while the benefits go to much smaller “targeted” groups of people opaque to everyone except the beneficiaries.

Who, unlike your average middle-class Joe Six Pack set to lose under this legislation, have really good lobbyists! So when you hear about the “beer tax break” at your local bar, and you probably will, let the boys know it’s not about the consumer side of the equation.