Yes Folks, Darryl Glenn Is a Whackadoo

CBS4’s Stan Bush reports on a budding scandal involving Colorado GOP U.S. Senate nominee Darryl Glenn, caught on tape in June speculating about the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier that month:

At a candidate forum June 22 the El Paso County commissioner made unsubstantiated claims that President Obama directed the FBI to not investigate the Orlando night club shooter, Omar Mateen, before the massacre.

“But it sounds like there might be some political things happening where they’re given direction to look a different way. Why don’t we start there?” said Glenn…

Glenn said the FBI takes “direction from the top” in his answer, and repeats his claim two more times before completing his response.

“I think we need to have hearings on this. I think people need to be held accountable. I want to know whether or not our FBI personnel were personally directed to look the other way. [Pols emphasis]

“The president should be held to account for that if he gave direction that limited the FBI.”

The allegation that President Barack Obama might have “directed” the FBI to end their investigation of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen was just one of many ways that right-wing armchair prognosticators tried to rationalize the politically inconvenient aspects of that shooting in its immediate aftermath–much the way the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter was widely speculated to be a “transgender leftist” on the flimsiest of evidence in that shooting’s aftermath. In this case, the usual right-wing presumptions that Obama is some kind of Al Qaeda “Manchurian Candidate” President who wants to make us all pray to Mecca underly the whole discussion.

But as FactCheck.org had already reported before Darryl Glenn made these ill-advised remarks, there’s not a shred of truth to any of this foolishness:

FBI Director James Comey has said that the FBI over the course of two preliminary investigations in 2013 and 2014 recorded Mateen’s conversations, followed him, introduced him to confidential sources, interviewed him, “review[ed] transactional records from his communications, and search[ed] all government holdings for any possible connections.” Both investigations closed without the FBI taking any action against Mateen, because, Comey said, there was no reason at that time to suspect Mateen had terrorist ties or intentions…

The fact that the preliminary investigation closed after 10 months indicates that the agency felt its investigation was completed. FBI rules discourage conducting preliminary investigations beyond a year, but a longer extension can be approved “by the appropriate FBIHQ operational section for ‘good cause.’”

Don Borelli, a retired FBI counterterrorism supervisor in New York, told the New York Times that the danger in keeping an investigation open without good cause is the impact that it can have on innocent people. “Imagine if you can’t get a job because you’re on some watchlist and there’s no basis for it,” Borelli told the Times.

When you get past one or two logical points about the FBI’s investigation of Mateen, it becomes clear that any attempt to personally blame President Obama for the attack is just mindless whisper-campaign prattle–the kind of thing that prior to the advent of Donald Trump had much less credibility. Rep. Mike Coffman came somewhat close to embracing this conspiracist narrative when has said that Obama is a “recruiting tool” for terrorism, but obviously Glenn suggesting that Obama helped Mateen escape scrutiny before the Orlando shooting is a big step further.

Into the Twilight Zone, folks. This might play will with the hardcore talk-radio right, but it’s the kind of talk that turns off undecided middle-road voters and donors — and, really, anyone who has ever employed the use of logic. In a race already rapidly dwindling in national importance due to the growing consensus that Glenn is out of his league, his propensity for nutty rhetoric is enough to put the question to rest.

Darryl Glenn is just not a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Laura Woods Blames “The Left” For Yard Sign Vandalism

woodsvandalized1

Let’s start by saying unequivocally that we don’t condone vandalism, against politicians or anybody else. As you can see in the photo above being circulated by Republican Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign, somebody vandalized one of her yard signs being displayed on the fence of an Arvada constituent earlier this month.

And if you’re to the left of Woods on the political spectrum, she blames you.

Within 5 days Team Woods has had two banners vandalized. One at 92nd and Ingalls was stolen within 20 hours of being hung, and one on Pierce was spray painted! All of this brought to you by the “tolerant left”!! [Pols emphasis]

In a comment on Facebook to the photo posted above, Woods explains her blame further:

In two election cycles, I’ve had banners painted, vandalized, knocked down and stolen and my opponent’s signs are untouched. THAT’S why I blame the left…

Now, we of course don’t know who decided to tag Woods’ yard sign, but from experience we can tell you in these situations it is almost never one’s political opponents who commit crimes like petty vandalism of yard signs. It’s true that Woods has big vinyl signs all over Senate District 19–and their ubiquitous presence might all by itself be a motivator for some juvenile delinquent with a can of spray paint to deface one.

Either way, it’s silly and irresponsible to blame one’s opponent for this kind of thing with no proof. Woods claims she has installed motion-sensing “game cameras” near some of her banners in an attempt to record future acts of vandalism. If Woods actually catches an adult with any bonafide connection to her opponent vandalizing her signs, or has her allegations against “the left” confirmed in any way by competent investigators, we’ll be the first to apologize and correct the record.

Otherwise, it’s another exercise in paranoia–from a lawmaker so paranoid she was afraid to use her real name on the radio.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Read this, then go outside and get some fresh air. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others injured by a sniper targeting police during a protest against police violence. From CNN:

The ambush began with gunshots that killed five officers and sent screaming crowds scrambling for cover. It ended when a Dallas police bomb squad robot killed a gunman after negotiations failed.

Now investigators are trying to piece together answers to key questions: Who was responsible for the shootings, which began Thursday night during a protest against police violence and left parts of downtown Dallas under siege for hours? And are any other suspects on the loose?

The deadly gunfire erupted in Dallas as videos showing two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota spurred protests and debate over police use of force across the country.

The Dallas sniper attacks are yet another horrific example of violent gun crime in America, and the deadliest single day for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. In the wake of the shootings, the spokesperson for the Colorado Senate Republicans inexplicably and disgustingly took to social media to blame President Obama for the attacks. As we wrote earlier today:

In short, to call this response to the Dallas shootings from the Colorado Senate Republicans outrageous is a considerable understatement. It may not quite rate as badly as former Rep. Joe Walsh’s declaration of war, but it’s so far from appropriate the morning after this tragedy that it shocks the conscience in nonpartisan terms.

Sean Paige, the mouthpiece for the Senate Republicans, is a former editor at the Colorado Springs Gazette and staffer at the Koch brothers-funded “Americans for Prosperity.”

 

► Jason Salzman catches a curious edit to an archived story in the Denver Post, in which a quote from Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) about his marriage to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has been mysteriously removed. The former Post reporter who wrote the original story, Lynn Bartels, confirms the missing quote’s existence.

 

► If you thought that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was above the kind of silly political bickering that has gridlocked Congress, then you haven’t been paying attention. As the Denver Post reports:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has joined in efforts to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearances, part of a coordinated GOP effort to continue to take advantage of her e-mail scandal.

On Thursday, Gardner and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, both Republicans, announced they had introduced a bill to revoke security clearances from Clinton and her key aides when she was secretary of state. Several of those aides are in her campaign’s inner circle. The bill they introduced, the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies (TRUST) Act of 2016, would put Congress on record saying that Clinton should have no access to classified information “until she earns the legal right to such access.”

“If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will,” Gardner said in a prepared statement. “At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information, and our bill makes sure of it.”

In other words, if law enforcement officials can’t make a case against Clinton, Republican Senators will dress one up instead! As Politico notes, this bit of political theater is unlikely to go anywhere…but it beats actually working on policy issues.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Colorado Senate GOP Blames Obama For Dallas Police Killings

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Last night’s horrific shooting of multiple police officers assigned to a protest against police brutality in Dallas is a central point of discussion today across America. It’s a time to mourn not just the killings, but the setback such violence against police represents for an honest solution to the related issues of use of force against civilians and easy access to weapons in the United States.

Unless you’re the official mouthpiece of the Colorado Senate Republicans.

We pray today not just for the victims of these murders, and for all the loved ones and colleagues of the dead or injured in Dallas, but for this great but troubled country, which hasn’t seen domestic upheavel [sic-Pols] like this since the 1960s.

Barack Obama came into office hailed as a great “uniter,” who would heal old wounds and bring Americans together. On that count, too, he must be judged a failure, as evidenced by the division, fear, lawlessness and almost total lack of “domestic tranquility” he leaves in his wake. [Pols emphasis]

If you’re thinking Senate President Bill Cadman’s press office should have stopped at (and spell-checked) the first paragraph, well, suffice to say that we agree. We most certainly cannot see any rational path to blaming the nation’s first African-American President for the larger problem of police brutality in America, which is committed disproportionately against African-Americans. To suggest that President Barack Obama is even peripherally responsible for last night’s attack on police officers in Dallas relies on fundamentally racist presumptions.

In short, to call this response to the Dallas shootings from the Colorado Senate Republicans outrageous is a considerable understatement. It may not quite rate as badly as former Rep. Joe Walsh’s declaration of war, but it’s so far from appropriate the morning after this tragedy that it shocks the conscience in nonpartisan terms.

At the very least, please don’t accuse the gun control folks of “politicizing a shooting” ever again.

Colorado Crime Report Shows Guns are Still Killing People

Outside of the United States, you are more likely to be killed by a falling object than by gun violence.

Outside of the United States, you are more likely to be killed by a falling object than by gun violence.

Do guns kill people? Or do people (with guns) kill people?

The answer is: Yes.

As the Denver Post reports on the release Tuesday of the annual “Crime in Colorado” report:

Colorado residents were most likely to be killed in their homes by someone they knew who had a gun. [Pols emphasis] Of the 172 homicides last year, 70 percent of the people who died knew their killers whether they were acquaintances, spouses  or parents; 55 percent happened inside a residence; and 66 percent were shot to death.

Opponents of any sort of gun safety measures like to use the talking point, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” as though there is some sort of meaningful difference in the two statements. In the United States, you are as likely to be killed by a gun as you are to die in a car accident. These are statistical facts. Period.

Of course, guns are not the only way to kill people, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated as a significant health and safety risk. In Colorado, you are more likely to be murdered by a gun than by any other instrument of harm — including anvils. We understand the Second Amendment arguments surrounding firearms and the delicate political nature of these discussions. But as the latest crime report in Colorado demonstrates once again, suggesting that “guns” are not a very real and documented problem is just plain silly.

BREAKING: Shooting At Colorado Liberal Political Office Building

The Alliance Center, Denver CO.

The Alliance Center, Denver CO.

A terrible story taking over local headlines right now, though there’s not much to say just yet. Denver Post:

Denver Police and emergency crews swarmed into lower downtown Tuesday afternoon after a gunman opened fire inside a crowded office building. Police said the gunman is dead.

One woman was taken to Denver Health in critical condition with multiple gunshots, said Dr. Eric Lavonas.

Police closed streets near 15th and Wynkoop and urged merchants and residents in the area to shelter in place. Police said officers have cleared the shooting scene at the Alliance Center in the 1500 block of Wynkoop in what remains an active investigation. The building houses a number of left-leaning political and environmental groups.

We’ve heard early reports suggesting that the employees of a number of liberal and environmental groups who have offices at the Alliance Center, including Conservation Colorado and Common Cause, were not injured. We’ll update once we learn more about the victim(s) and the shooter.

Scary stuff, folks–but as always, let’s be careful about speculating until we know more.

Democrats Flummox GOP with House Sit-In on Gun Violence

Democrats in the House during their "sit-in" demanding votes on gun violence legislation.

Democrats in the House during their “sit-in” demanding votes on gun violence legislation.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives — including Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter — ended their “sit-in” effort to force Congress to vote on new gun violence legislation, but not without succeeding in raising the level of political importance for the issue. As the New York Times reports:

The Democrats ended their sit-in about 1 p.m. on Thursday, about 25 hours after it began. Mr. Ryan interrupted them on Wednesday by personally reclaimed control of the House, pounding his gavel and muscling through a major appropriations bill without debate. He and the Republicans, who hold the majority, then declared the House adjourned with no votes until after the Fourth of July holiday — leaving Democrats to continue their protest effort in a dormant chamber.

Still, Democrats finally relented several hours later. They gave speeches all through the night, which they broadcast using Periscope, the live streaming feature of Twitter. And they said they would continue to press their case throughout the recess for votes to tighten the nation’s gun control laws…

…By pushing through the appropriations bill — it included $1.1 billion in emergency financing to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus — on a largely party line vote without any debate, Mr. Ryan had to abandon his commitment to regular order in the House. That was a step that he said he had taken with absolutely no remorse, given the Democrats’ efforts at obstruction.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been trying hard to spin the Democrats’ move as a “publicity stunt,” conveniently ignoring the obvious point that the reason this move earned so much media coverage is precisely because of the Republican response. As the Washington Post reports:

Republicans, unsure about how to deal with a sit-in that started on the House floor yesterday at 11:30 a.m., tried to talk over Democrats and hold routine votes. Then, around 3:30 a.m., they adjourned the chamber until after July Fourth – two days earlier than planned. In so doing, they’ve guaranteed that the debate about gun control will roil the congressional recess and remain a dominant storyline for the next two weeks.

“This isn’t trying to come up with a solution to a problem; this is trying to get attention,” the Speaker complained on TV late last night. That is neither true nor fair. In fact, nearly two weeks after the mass murder of 49 in Orlando, Democrats are merely trying to secure up-or-down votes on a variety of very specific gun control proposals – including a measure that would prevent suspected terrorists from being able to buy firearms and another that would expand background checks. [Pols emphasis]

Speaker Ryan can bellyache about this maneuver as much as he wants, but any claims that Democrats are interfering with the daily matters of the House are falling on deaf ears thanks to his Senate colleagues. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared earlier this year that the Senate would refuse to even hold a hearing on selecting a new Supreme Court judge — blatantly ignoring the Constitution — he ensured that Republicans alone would own the title of obstructionists.

Republicans will likely continue to dig-in on the issue and refuse to do anything related to guns, but the massive amount of media coverage generated by House Democrats ensures that such a move is more than just a political gamble in 2016 — for a number of Republican candidates and incumbents, their future in elected office is now tied directly to Congressional inaction on gun violence.

 

State Senate GOP: Colorado Pols Has “No Credibility”

We posted a few examples yesterday of social media responses from Colorado Republican state senators, as well as the official account of the Colorado Senate Republican press office, both blaming President Barack Obama for last weekend’s terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as well as at least one post disparaging LGBT Americans themselves in the hours after the attack. The latter was posted by Sen. Randy Baumgardner:

Baumgardner facebook

Baumgardner’s Democratic opponent in Senate District 8 this year, Emily Tracy, reacted angrily to our blog about Baumgardner’s anti-gay post-Orlando Facebooking:

To which the Senate GOP responded with an attack…on us?

So folks, we can take the heat. But can we ask in all seriousness how our writing about Baumgardner’s social media content “distorts, deceives, or demeans” anyone? If anything, we would say those terms all apply to…well, to Baumgardner’s Facebook post, wouldn’t they? Not to our calling attention to it. Right?

We get that this response from the official Colorado Senate GOP mouthpiece is more of a knee-jerk insult than a thoughtful comeback. But given the very clearly “demeaning” material we called out in our post yesterday, to which we have yet to see any substantive response, this all seems like especially nonsensical bile.

And it surer than hell doesn’t make the one-seat Senate GOP majority look good.

Bennet Joins Post-Orlando Gun Safety Filibuster


As the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins reports, Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined with fellow Democrats this week in a day-long filibuster to call attention to the need for enhanced gun safety legislation following last weekend’s terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida:

Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, up for re-election in Colorado this fall, joined 30 of his Democratic colleagues in D.C. for a filibuster about gun laws [Wednesday] following the latest massacre, this time in Orlando, which left a bloody mark as the worst single-gunman mass shooting in U.S. history…

When Bennet took the floor, he talked about the difference between the ways Colorado lawmakers and Congress have reacted to gun violence. Colorado has passed new laws; Congress has not.

“Unlike Washington, in Colorado our legislators actually rose to the occasion to take some tough decisions … they got together and they actually strengthened our background check system. Colorado’s legislature closed the gun show loophole and the internet loophole and required a background check for every gun sale,” Bennet said.

The Senator then ran down the list of what that has meant for Colorado in practice within the past year.

“I want to be precise about this,” he said, noting that in 2015 background checks had blocked 7,714 people from buying guns, a figure that made up about 2 percent of the applications for firearms purchases.

Those within that 2 percent included murderers, rapists, domestic abusers and kidnappers who were denied guns because of the new rules, Bennet said.

“Is there anyone who is going to come to the floor of the United States Senate and say that Colorado is worse off because we’ve kept guns out of the hands of murderers or kidnappers or rapists?” he asked. “This isn’t mythical. This is the actual fact of what’s going on in a Western state that has background checks.” [Pols emphasis]

Bennet’s defense of Colorado’s landmark gun laws is in fact very important to the national debate now taking place over strengthening federal gun safety laws. One of the most critical reforms sought nationally has been standard practice in Colorado in part since 2000 and fully since 2013: universal background checks, both on gun purchases made at gun shows (2000’s post-Columbine Amendment 22) and on most private transfers of guns outside immediate family members (2013’s House Bill 1229).

Colorado’s experience with closing loopholes that allowed weapons to be purchased without a background check has shown that these are workable policies that do result in thousands of gun sales to criminals being stopped–both outright denied purchases, as well as the deterrent effect of having the policy in place. That a Western state like Colorado with its long tradition of gun ownership can successfully implement strict background checks on gun sales shows it can be done nationally–neutralizing a key argument of the gun lobby against them. Politically, Colorado is increasingly a model for passing gun safety legislation and then successfully weathering fierce political reprisals from gun rights zealots. After the high water mark of the 2013 recall elections, the new laws have notably failed to become the cautionary tale the gun lobby wanted them to be.

As desperate as the gun lobby was to stop Colorado’s push to tighten gun laws after the Aurora theater massacre, or failing that to at least contain their spread by exacting a heavy and lasting political toll, their failure is evident with each horrific killing spree. At least for a little while, the conversation inevitably comes back to the easy availability of military weapons that can cut down dozens of people effortlessly. Colorado didn’t want to take the lead on gun safety, it was a responsibility placed on our state by events no one would ever wish for.

When the rest of America is ready, Colorado will still be the model.

Terror, hate, and guns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The shocking violence committed against LGBT Americans in Orlando this weekend has horrified us all. This weekend’s attack on the Pulse nightclub brought together the combined threats of terrorism, gun violence, and bigotry our nation faces today.

Is it time for the nation to follow Colorado’s model on gun safety? Click here to say yes.

Here in Colorado, we took action after the Aurora theater shootings to reduce the threat of gun violence. In 2013 we tightened background checks, limited gun magazine capacity, and made it harder for dangerous domestic violence offenders to have guns. Our state’s painful history of mass murder has forced us to take the lead in finding solutions to gun violence.

No law has perfect compliance. Criminals by definition are lawbreakers. But in Colorado, we know that our gun laws have saved lives. In 2015 alone, over 7,700 criminals attempting to buy guns in Colorado were stopped by universal background checks–including 22 arrested or convicted of homicide, 17 for kidnapping, and 130 for sexual assault. In addition, 251 fugitives attempting to buy a gun were arrested on site. [1] We know that a pause to reload a semiautomatic weapon saves lives in mass shootings. And we know that protecting victims of violence from more violence is the right thing to do.

Sign our petition now: it’s time for the nation to follow Colorado’s lead. It’s time for America to get serious about stopping gun violence. And hatred of LGBT Americans. And terrorism that threatens us all.

Orlando LGBT Terror Attack Stuns Nation

UPDATE #3: From One Colorado, the state’s biggest LGBT advocacy group:

Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families, issued the following statement in response to the shooting last night at an Orlando gay nightclub that killed 50 and injured more than 50 others.

“We are shocked and devastated by the horrible shooting that occurred in Orlando last night and our hearts are with the victims and families who have been impacted by this horrific act of violence targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in Orlando.”

“June commemorates Pride month and gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place for LGBTQ people and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. We will all continue to work to address the hatred that causes these senseless acts of violence in hopes that something like this never happens again.”

And from Colorado Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst:

“My heart goes out to the victims of this attack, to their families, and to the greater LGBT community. This morning’s attack is a reminder to us all that gun violence in America is a plague that afflicts every state, every city and every community. That this was a targeted and hateful terror attack against the LGBT community only compounds our hurt today. We must all come together, as a nation, to do more to stop the mass gun violence that plagues this country, and stand together against hate and extremism however it manifests itself.”

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UPDATE #2: Statement from Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman:

guzmanstatement

—–

UPDATE: The father of the alleged shooter in Orlando says that he believes the attack was motivated by his son’s anger at recently witnessing open affection from two gay men. According to NBC News, “This had nothing to do with religion,” said Mir Seddique.

—–

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What a horrible thing to wake up to. CNN:

Fifty people were killed inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, Orlando Police Chief John Mina and other officials said Sunday morning, just hours after a shooter opened fire in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

At least 53 more people were injured, Mina said. Police have shot and killed the gunman, he told reporters…

Orlando authorities said they consider the violence an act of domestic terror. The FBI is involved. While investigators are exploring all angles, they “have suggestions the individual has leanings towards (Islamic terrorism), but right now we can’t say definitely,” said Ron Hopper, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Orlando bureau.

Authorities are also looking into the possibility the attack was a hate crime, a law enforcement source told CNN.

We’re not yet in a position to evaluate the full implications of this terrible news. But we’ll update as we learn more about what happened last night, and our thoughts are with these victims–and all victims of both terrorism and hatred across the world.

Latest Maketa Indictments Highlight Problem of Police Domestic Violence

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Terry Maketa, former El Paso County Sheriff, was indicted Wednesday, May 25, 2016, by a Grand Jury on six felony counts, including extortion, tampering with a witness, and second-degree kidnapping.  The latter two charges stem from Maketa and codefendants Paula Presley and Juan San Agustin intimidating a witness to keep her from testifying against her abuser, a deputy under Maketa’s supervision.

From Benzel and Sun’s Gazette reporting:

After a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in August 2013 for assaulting his girlfriend, Maketa directed the woman to recant her story and tell investigators she “instigated the incident in order to allow (the deputy) to get his job back,” the indictment alleges. When the woman, a civilian jail employee, followed his instructions and provided a false confession about being “the aggressor,” she was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, assault and driving under the influence.

“Detective Lisa Kaiser, the interviewing and arresting officer, did not believe she had probable cause to arrest (the woman) for either crime, but arrested (her) because the order came from her superiors,” the indictment says.

Maketa was booked and bonded out of jail on Thursday, May 26 .  Maketa had resigned in disgrace in 2014, ahead of a recall effort, amidst charges of sexual misconduct, corruption, and incompetence in his office.

Terry Maketa's mugshot

Maketa’s 5/25/16 mugshot  Credit : Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office

Maketa was one of the so-called “Constitutional Sheriffs” involved in a lawsuit against Colorado’s stricter gun laws, including magazine size limits and background check requirements.

Colorado media outlets have capitalized on the lurid sexual content of the Maketa case – Westword,   the Denver Post, and the Colorado Springs Gazette have all run stories emphasizing the conduct of the “Shirtless Sheriff”. We’re all sick of that steamy shower selfie, so, please, Pols, don’t post it in this diary.

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SD-27 Democrat Tom Sullivan Nets Huge Kickoff Haul

SD-27 candidate Tom Sullivan (D).

SD-27 candidate Tom Sullivan (D).

A press release from Democratic Colorado Senate candidate Tom Sullivan, running in a “reach goal” race in Senate District 27 against appointed Republican Sen. Jack Tate, shows “Sully” off to a smashing start:

Newly released campaign finance numbers tell a compelling story about an unlikely candidate: not only is Tom Sullivan, the Democratic candidate in the State Senate race for District 27 getting an effective populist message out but that a significant number of voters are literally buying into his fight for the middle class.

For the first quarter of 2016, Sullivan has raised $30,876, toppling Republican opponent Jack Tate’s first quarter contributions eight times over. Sullivan’s opponent is also under a campaign finance complaint investigation for rolling over too much money from his State House to State Senate committee. Notwithstanding, they are now nearly neck-and-neck in total funds raised.

Sullivan is known in the community as the father of Alex Sullivan, one of twelve murdered in the 2012 Aurora theatre shooting. He’s also an Air Force veteran and retired postal worker; none of these experiences reveal any sort of political acumen, and when filing to run on February 23, few could have seen the powerhouse he would soon become…

That’s a head-turning quarterly take for a state legislative race without a doubt, and as the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund reports in a separate release, Jack Tate has his own problems:

tatexfer

According to state statute, campaign committees have a limit to the amount of money they can roll over from one race to another, intended to prevent campaigns from dodging contribution limits when pursuing higher office.* It’s a significant violation, both financially and ethically, and one that people familiar with campaigns or business should know about. That’s why Tate’s alleged violation is surprising: he’s the self-proclaimed pro-business candidate in Senate District 27.

“He runs on the idea that since he knows how to run a business, he can run a Senate seat. But with such an obvious violation of Colorado law, it’s evident his campaign has a troublesome problem with adhering very clear finance guidelines,” says Ali Vail, the claimant who filed the violation. “It’s bad business, pure and simple.”

*Colorado Constitution, rule 2.2.4(b)(3). The amount limit is $22,125. Tate’s campaign rolled over $27,736.67 — $5,611.67 more than the legal limit.

A sloppy error for Tate if the complaint bears out–and combined with Sullivan’s powerful show of support since launching his campaign in late February, it’s more evidence that this race will be competitive in ways that the voter registration breakdown in the district can’t account for. Tate is an undistinguished junior legislator who was just appointed to his Senate seat. He has no real advantage in this race whatsoever, only a slightly more favorable ratio of registered Republicans to Democrats in an overall competitive district.

No folks, it’s Sullivan–his story, and now the strength he is showing as a candidate–that makes this race special.

Caption This Photo: “Dirty Douggie” Lamborn!

Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, not generally known as a rugged manly-man politician, nonetheless got his “man card” renewed with a visit to the Magnum Shooting Center–perhaps a very good idea in advance of his unexpectedly stiff primary challenge from a charismatic young female opponent. Lamborn asks, do you feel lucky?

Well do you, punk?

unnamed (1)

Are we the only ones who find that look on his face a little…disconcerting? A few more photos of the all-new Badass Doug Lamborn® after the jump.

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Tom Sullivan’s War: Casus Belli

We’ve had a few occasions to mention the name Tom Sullivan in recent years, long before he announced his candidacy for the Colorado Senate a few weeks ago. Sullivan is the father of a victim of the 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting that left 12 people dead and many dozens more wounded. Photos of an anguished Tom Sullivan desperately seeking information about his son in the hours after the shooting are seared into the memory of everyone who was following the news that day, whether he knew his name or (more likely) not.

In 2013, Sullivan joined with survivors and family from the Aurora shooting, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting that occurred just months after Aurora, and other incidents of gun violence to testify in support of the gun safety bills passed that year: requiring background checks for most transfers of firearms, limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds, and strengthening protections for domestic violence victims. Sullivan earned a reputation as one of the most dedicated witnesses on either side of these debates, with his clear ringing voice and harrowing story forcing even the most jaded pro-gun Republican to at least acknowledge his loss.

For awhile, anyway.

Unfortunately, Sullivan has increasingly endured what we can only describe as totally inappropriate disrespect from a variety Republican lawmakers. We took note of a incident in May of 2013 in which Sen. Bill Cadman flew into an insolent rage at Sullivan during a Denver Post panel on the legislative session. And during this week’s hearing in the Colorado State Affairs Committee, Sullivan was dissed again:

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This photo was taken at the exact moment Sullivan was testifying late Monday night about the death of his son in the Aurora theater shooting during testimony against Senate Bill 16-113, the bill to repeal the 15-round magazine limit. These two Republican lawmakers, Reps. Justin “Sleepy Dwarf” Everett and Patrick Neville, are co-sponsors of the bill. Sources tell us that Rep. Everett never looked up even once during Sullivan’s entire testimony, apparently engaged in an intense…well, something or other on his smartphone. Facebook? Angry Birds? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that this is unacceptable behavior for a lawmaker listening to witness testimony on their bill. And before you shoot back with a photo of a Democrat looking downward in a hearing, you’ll want to explain to us in detail the moment in time the photo originated.

For example, the moment a witness is testifying about the murder of his son.

As the debate over the 2013 gun laws has dragged on in the Colorado legislature, we don’t doubt that the failure of pro-gun Republicans to repeal them has provoked great frustration. The recalls didn’t scare Democrats into abandoning their principles, and the 2014 “GOP wave” election’s failure to unseat Gov. John Hickenlooper or the Democratic House proved only that the 2013 gun laws were not going anywhere.

But folks, this infantile disrespect for Tom Sullivan is not the way to express their frustration. We don’t care how many times they’ve seen him testify. Especially as sponsors of the bill to repeal what he fought for, they owe Sullivan their attention every time.

If they won’t give it to him as a citizen, we’ll see what they do when he’s a senator.