Mike Coffman’s Quarterly Fundraising is Lowest Since 2011

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and Democrat Jason Crow

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) will report his weakest fundraising quarter in six years when federal campaign finance numbers for Q4 (2017) become public next week. As Ernest Luning writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Democrat Jason Crow outraised Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the most recent fundraising quarter, but the five-term incumbent outspent his challenger in Colorado’s battleground 6th Congressional District and had more cash on hand at the end of the year, according to reports the campaigns plan to file with the Federal Election Commission.

In the quarter ending Dec. 31, Crow raised $276,712 to Coffman’s roughly $241,000, their campaigns told Colorado Politics.

Crow, one of four Democrats running to unseat Coffman, will report spending approximately $80,000 during the three-month period, while Coffman will report spending just under $125,000 — leaving $590,346 in Crow’s campaign account and about $840,000 in Coffman’s.

For the year, Coffman has raised $1.22 million, compared with just under $800,000 pulled in by Crow, who declared his candidacy in April

Coffman’s $241,000 in Q4 (2017) represents — by far — his worst quarterly fundraising number since 2011, and the incumbent Republican is on a slower fundraising pace at this point in the campaign than he was at a similar stage in 2016. Both Coffman and his top Democratic challenger, Jason Crow, are in the same financial ballpark thus far, though Coffman has considerably less cash-on-hand compared to the same point two years ago:

So, what does this all mean for 2018? Quite frankly, we’re not sure what to make of these particular tea leaves. This isn’t the first time that Coffman has been outraised by a Democratic opponent, and the Aurora Republican has never had much trouble turning on the cash spigot when he needs it most. Coffman’s fairly easy re-election victories in both 2014 and 2016 — and his 30 years as an elected official in Colorado — have shown that you can never truly count him out, no matter what the political climate looks like.

On the other hand…even Mike Coffman can’t beat the odds forever. Perhaps the most interesting lesson in these Q4 fundraising numbers is that Democratic donors are not losing their enthusiasm for winning in CD-6 after disappointing finishes in each of the last two cycles.

As the 2018 election kicks into high gear, Crow is right where he needs to be — and that’s about all Democratic supporters could hope to see.

Coffman on Campaigning With Trump: Maybe In Six Months!

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

A story from Buzzfeed News late yesterday is raising eyebrows in Colorado after some fascinating quotes from Rep. Mike Coffman on the matter of campaigning with President Donald Trump this year–would it help Coffman? Would it hurt him?

“Each district is different, and probably in mine it probably wouldn’t be helpful,” Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents a swing district that is a perennial Democratic target, told BuzzFeed News.

That position, though, is rarely said openly, with some Republicans careful to avoid publicly belittling a president who closely tracks slights. Coffman, just moments after making those comments, flagged BuzzFeed News down again to clarify. “Right now I don’t think it would be helpful. I don’t know what the future’s gonna be, I mean, who knows what it’s gonna be, six months from now whether it would be helpful or not,” [Pols emphasis] he said. “Certainly today it would not be. I mean, right now it would not be helpful.”

Given that Mike Coffman ran in 2016 arguably the most anti-Trump Republican campaign of anyone who wasn’t running against Trump, it’s quite a shock to see him equivocate about whether Trump would be a help on the campaign trail–enough that he left the door open to doing so if Trump’s political fortunes were to improve. In a district that Hillary Clinton carried by nine points in 2016, Coffman’s waffling on this essential question doesn’t help him politically at all.

In fact, Coffman’s need to “flag down” this reporter to clarify that he might be okay with campaigning with Trump “six months from now” invites the charge that his values shift with the prevailing winds.

Which, our readers know, his critics on both sides have said since 2011.

Slamming the media, Coffman says stock market would have crashed if not for GOP tax cuts

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

In an appearance on KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger Show Saturday, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman said recent U.S. economic growth came “in anticipation of tax cuts,” and without passage of the Republican tax bill, “the market would have tanked” and the U.S economy “wouldn’t be at 3.2 percent growth.”

Coffman delivered these comments as he slammed portrayals of the tax bill in the “mainstream media,” including in a Denver Post editorial and apparently in the Aurora Sentinel.

Coffman at 11 min 30 sec here: “I think the Denver Post did an editorial where they said, ‘Why do corporations need this tax cut because we are at 3.2 percent growth?’ Well, we wouldn’t be at 3.2 percent growth. Again, the market would have tanked. The growth has been in anticipation of tax cuts. I am looking forward to wage growth. I am looking forward to job growth.”

U.S. economic growth and stock market increases started prior to Trump’s election victory, with a stock market bump last year. The most common explanation isn’t the tax cut but that the U. S. economy is growing along with the global economy

In mentioning The Post, Coffman, who did not return an email for comment, appears to be referencing a Dec. 18 editorial, headlined, “Colorado lawmakers should oppose the dismal Trump tax plan,” which argued, in part, that “if corporations wished to invest in employee wages and job creation, they would be doing so now.”

Denver Post: Unable even to stay within the generous and arbitrary cap of adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, Republicans turned to accounting lies to pay for an overly aggressive 21 percent corporate tax rate. To save money on paper, the bill would sunset key tax credits for the middle class and lower-income Americans, meaning that those income categories would be hit hard with tax increases in coming years, or, should their cuts be extended down the road, that the bill spends far more than it purports to.

The American economy would be better served with tax cuts focused on the middle class. Corporate America sits flush on record amounts of cash. If corporations wished to invest in employee wages and job creation, they would be doing so now. Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.3 percent in the third quarter, unemployment rests at its lowest point in a decade and earnings reports continue to fuel a bull market.

The last-minute decision to reduce the tax rate for the highest earners gives the impression that the plan is mostly a sham meant to give a Christmas gift to GOP donors.

Coffman isn’t just upset with The Denver Post editorial board’s view on the tax bill but with the entire “mainstream media’s depiction of it,” including his “local newspaper,” which is presumably the Aurora Sentinel.

Coffman at 3 min 30 sec: “I’m very disappointed with the mainstream media’s depiction of it. I’m just kind of surprised at that. I think it was absolutely essential that it passed. We can quibble with some of the details, but all in all it’s going to be good for the economy, good for the country.”

When my local newspaper said we were cutting taxes on the wealthy to increase taxes on the middle class. You know, I’m going to meet with that particular writer and say, ‘Show me a middle class family in this in this congressional district that is going to have their taxes increase…This is great.”

Most independent analyses have concluded that the tax bill will add over a trillion dollars to the U.S. deficit over the next decade.

Asked about this on air by Sengenberger, Coffman said that estimates by the Congressional Budget Office and others are based on recent years of sluggish growth. An economy stimulated by the tax cuts will produce “great growth” and revenue that will fend off deficits, Coffman said.

Top Ten Stories of 2017 #4: Can Mike Coffman Survive Trump?

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Having climbed the ladder of elected office from the state legislature in the early 1990s, through two constitutional state offices as Treasurer and Secretary of State, and finally as a representative in Congress for going on ten years, Rep. Mike Coffman’s story is one of political survival that few others in politics anywhere in America can match. And it’s not just longevity in elected office: in 2011, the decennial process of redistricting redrew Coffman’s district, transforming Coffman’s constituency from the overwhelmingly Republican south Denver suburbs and exurbs to an economically and racially diverse battleground district centered on the city of Aurora.

Mike Coffman nearly lost his seat in 2012 to an unknown and underfunded Democratic opponent, but recovered in 2014 and 2016 with surprisingly easy victories over much better opponents. In 2016, Coffman won overwhelmingly in a district that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton carried by an equally strong margin. Coffman did this largely by about-facing on numerous critical issues, at least in terms of his rhetoric–dramatically softening his former Tom Tancredo-style tone on immigration, and audaciously using Planned Parenthood’s logo in campaign ads despite his longstanding opposition to legal abortion.

Donald Trump’s campaign represented a new opportunity for Coffman to triangulate off an unpopular nationwide Republican brand, and Coffman dived into the role with gusto becoming one of the first Republican 2016 candidates to dis Trump in a campaign ad. The margin by which both Clinton and Coffman carried CD-6 is testament to the effectiveness of Coffman’s triangulation off Trump. By a decisive margin, ticket-splitting voters in CD-6 elected Hillary Clinton President and Mike Coffman “to keep an eye on her.”

But as we all know, that’s not what happened.

(more…)

Mike Coffman May Very Well Be Hosed in 2018

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora)

We know what you’re going to say: You’ve heard it all before.

Politicos from both sides of the aisle have been predicting doom for incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman since re-districting changed the makeup of CD-6 after the 2010 Census, yet Coffman has endured. Here at Colorado Pols, we’ve certainly been guilty of erroneously anticipating Coffman’s demise on more than one occasion. Indeed, we’ve been pessimistic about the odds of Democrat Jason Crow defeating Coffman in 2018 because we’ve learned that Coffman has an inexplicable way of maintaining support among Aurora-area voters.

But as much as recent history tells us to pump our brakes on Democratic hopes in CD-6, the numbers emerging from a national climate hostile to Republicans are becoming too striking to ignore. It doesn’t just look increasingly likely that Coffman might lose in 2018…it’s beginning to look as though it might be virtually impossible for Coffman to win re-election this time around.

According to Harry Enten of 538.com, Democrats should now be considered the favorites to win control of the House of Representatives in 2018 in a rising wave that even Coffman may not be able to overcome:

…the Democratic advantage in the FiveThirtyEight generic ballot aggregate is up to about 12 points, 49.6 percent to 37.4 percent. That average, like the CNN poll, also shows Republicans in worse shape right now than any other majority party at this point in the midterm cycle1 since at least the 1938 election…

…Their current advantage is larger than the lead Republicans had at this point in the 1994 cycle, the lead Democrats held at this point in the 2006 cycle or the lead Republicans had at this point in the 2010 cycle. Those were all years when the minority party won control of the House. And a 12 percentage point Democratic advantage in the national House vote come next November would likely be more than enough for the House to flip again. I’ve previously calculated that the Democrats need to win the national House vote by 5.5 to 8 points to win the House.

As Enten explains, 2018 looks to be a rough year for the 58 incumbents who aren’t sitting in seats with “a partisan lean of more than 12 points in favor of Republicans.” In 2012, Coffman narrowly avoided an upset loss to Democrat Joe Miklosi, winning re-election by a slim two-point margin (47.8% to 45.8%). Democrats thought they had the better candidate in 2014 with former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, but Coffman upped his margin of victory to nearly 9 points (51.9% to 43%). Democrat Morgan Carroll performed slightly better than Romanoff two years later, but Coffman still breezed to victory by more than 8 points (50.9% to 42.6%) — despite the fact that Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outperformed Republican Donald Trump by 9 points in CD-6.

“Among GOP leaders, however, there is widespread concern heading into 2018. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said privately that both chambers could be lost in November.”
     – Politico (12/21/17) 

Congressional Republicans were already historically unpopular even before they unified in support of a tax plan that was the most overwhelmingly-despised piece of legislation in decades. Coffman has never faced a political climate like the one that is brewing in 2018; instead of adjusting his course, Coffman is leaning directly into the headwind.

When Coffman voted YES on the tax bill, he handed Democrats perhaps the most cogent opposition message the party has ever had in CD-6. In one vote, Coffman flushed away the pretend-moderate image he had so carefully crafted for years so that he could lash himself firmly to a sinking Republican ship. Coffman used to say that he didn’t support a partial repeal of Obamacare in any tax reform plan, but then he went and voted for the GOP tax debacle anyway. Now Coffman is even talking openly about backing significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

The ridiculous GOP tax plan is an unmistakable albatross around Republicans’ necks. Take a look at what former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote about the political ramifications in a column for The Atlantic:

The Republican tax bill lands like a hammer on upper-income professionals in blue states. Highly compensated attorneys, doctors, accountants, and financial-service professionals will lose tens of thousands of dollars in deductions for their heavy state and local taxes and costly coastal mortgages, without getting much in return…

…States like California and New York desperately need a competitive Republican Party—especially at the state level—to challenge the lazy and often corrupt practices of local Democratic machines. This new tax law will have the opposite effect, wrecking whatever little remains of GOP strength in the states that motor American innovation and growth. It threatens to push New Jersey, Colorado, and Virginia into single-party blue rule as well, by painfully demonstrating that the party of Trump is not only obnoxious to their values but implacably hostile to their welfare. [Pols emphasis]

While Republicans slap each other on the back over the tax bill, new political warnings are brewing. Both Politico and the Washington Post reported on Thursday that numerous Republican strategists are warning President Trump that a mid-term bloodbath is coming. As Jonathan Martin writes for the New York Times:

Officials in both parties believe Democratic gains in the House, where Republicans enjoy a 24-seat majority, could reach as high as 40 seats if the political environment does not improve for the Republicans.

And, as of now, it only appears to be worsening.

So, yes, you’ve heard the stories about Coffman’s vulnerabilities before, but never quite like this.

A lot can change before the 2018 election, but if this current trajectory continues, it may not even be possible for Coffman to win re-election next November.

Cory Gardner Doesn’t Want to Talk About Tax Bill

I’m doing good, right?

Earlier this week Congressional Republicans rammed through a tax plan that ranks as the most unpopular piece of legislation to pass through Capitol Hill in literally decades. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) opposed the measure — as did all Senate Democrats — and has not been shy about voicing his concerns. Colorado’s other Senator, Republican Cory Gardner, voted YES on the tax plan but isn’t really all that interested in talking about it.

Senator Bennet spoke with Colorado Public Radio (CPR) on Thursday and did not mince words about his disgust with the legislation:

“…the way I look at this is that they’ve been kind enough to spread some crumbs around for middle America to make it appear like there’s a middle-class tax cut, when the reality is they’re borrowing money from the middle class to finance these massive tax cuts for the wealthiest people the country. I don’t think that’s satisfactory. In fact I would say this is the worst piece of legislation that I’ve seen in the nine years that I’ve been in this job.” [Pols emphasis]

There’s certainly no mistaking Bennet’s position here, but why is Sen. Gardner supporting a tax plan that offers little help to middle-class Colorado families? That’s a good question…without much of an answer. As radio host Jo Ann Allen explained after Bennet’s interview on CPR:

“We’ve asked Republican Senator Cory Gardner numerous times for an interview on the tax bill and other topics. So far, he has not set aside the time.” [Pols emphasis]

Gardner isn’t just ducking Colorado Public Radio — he’s been noticeably silent on the tax plan since it really started picking up steam in November. Gardner issued a generic statement of support after the vote this week, but otherwise he hasn’t been very eager to talk about his enthusiasm for legislation that the entire country dislikes.

It’s not a huge political mystery as to why Gardner supported the GOP tax plan. Gardner is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and his anemic fundraising is setting off alarm bells all over Washington D.C.; he is absolutely desperate to win back the support of major Republican donors before his entire political career goes up in flames, and if that means supporting legislation that his constituents don’t like…well, whatever, right?

Still, is it really too much to ask for Gardner to actually defend his position on the only significant legislative accomplishment for Congressional Republicans in 12 months?

Don’t answer that.

Coffman Still Playing “Undecided” Game That Nobody’s Buying

A carefully-staged photo from Rep. Mike Coffman yesterday could have you believing he might possibly be something other than a “hard yes” on the final version of GOP tax cut legislation released by the conference committee between the U.S. House and Senate late last week:

Coffman is a big fan of these staged photos of himself reading at his desk–here’s one of him reading the failed Affordable Care Act repeal bill, which he ultimately opposed, and an earlier version of the tax cut bill he supported. Here’s Rep. Coffman signing form letter responses to “over 109,000 pieces of correspondence.” If you look closely at this latest photo, you can see Spanish vocabulary flash cards and what looks like an Ethiopian motif scarf just “casually” lying in place–both token nods to communities in Coffman’s district. It may make Democrats’ blood boil, but Coffman or a thoughtful staffer has got a real streak of showmanship that shouldn’t be underestimated.

The only problem with this carefully concocted scene is, Coffman sent this Tweet the day before:

Followed by this Tweet earlier in the day yesterday:

Both of which could reasonably be considered cheerleading, not “reviewing.” Coffman, like Sen. Cory Gardner and other swing-state Republicans in Congress who welcomed the GOP’s complete takeover in the 2016 elections but are now quite nervous about whether the party will survive the Trump era, has played very close to the vest on the major pieces of legislation debated in 2017. But this time, despite the fact that the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is historically unpopular in public opinion polls, Coffman and Gardner have been much more openly supportive–to the point of making their usual “undecided” posture look silly (see above).

It’s also worth noting that Coffman will be abandoning one of the key defenses he offered for his vote for the House version of the tax bill if he votes in favor the conference committee report–from Coffman’s November 20th op-ed in the Aurora Sentinel:

This tax plan maintains the top income tax rate as it currently stands – 39.6% – for individuals making over $500,000 or couples making over $1,000,000.

We can only hope he notices while reading the final version that it does indeed cut the top income tax rate. Interestingly it does not cut the next-to-top 35% tax bracket, which if we’re not mistaken covers many more “job creators” in Coffman’s district than the very tippy-top. Apparently the mere bourgeois didn’t have enough juice.

As the Denver Post correctly states, the margin of error in the House for this final vote is quite low, and just a few GOP representatives breaking with leadership could be enough to scuttle the whole thing–indeed the last such opportunity to prevent this unpopular legislation from becoming law. We can’t rule that possibility out, but Coffman has given us little to suggest he’s going to change course.

That being the case, this charade is getting awfully tired.

“Last-Minute Mike” Checks Box on Net Neutrality

Rep. Mike Coffman (R) cares a lot.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t give some mention to Rep. Mike Coffman’s letter the day before yesterday to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, requesting a delay in the commission’s vote on new rules that could lead to the end of “net neutrality”–the principle of internet communications that all traffic should be routed equally across the network:

After a chorus of Democratic and Independent lawmakers called for the FCC to delay its planned vote on a rollback of net neutrality protections, at least one Republican is now asking the agency to hit pause, as a few others express tempered skepticism of the proposal.

This week, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) sent a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai calling for a delay to let Congress pass legislation on the issue. “The Internet has been and remains a transformative tool, and I am concerned that any action you may take to alter the rules under which it functions may well have significant unanticipated negative consequences,” Coffman writes. “Therefore, I urge you to delay your upcoming vote and provide and provide Congress with the opportunity to hold hearings on the net neutrality issue and to pass permanent open Internet legislation.”

In response Rep. Coffman is getting praise from activists on the issue as one of the only Republicans calling for a delay in the vote, which set for today. Sen. Cory Gardner has already put his weasel-worded stamp of approval on the proposal, and there is very little to suggest that Coffman’s belated call for a pause in the FCC’s long-anticipated rulemaking will have any impact.

It’s just the latest instance of Rep. Coffman, perennially considered one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the entire nation, moving to inoculate himself personally against a bad story for Republicans nationally that he has no real power to affect the course of–especially not when he weighs in at the last possible moment as with his December 12 letter to the FCC. Much like Coffman’s high-publicity call for a discharge petition to force a vote on legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who came here as children, which he quietly abandoned a few days later, this is a great political opportunity to look good to left-leaning swing voters in his district.

As a practical matter, it’s meaningless. Coffman can’t stop or even slow down the destruction of net neutrality, and he remains a member of the party in power that is actually doing all these things he supposedly objects to.

At the end of the day, nothing else matters.

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?

Coffman, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn Give Wind Power The Shaft

From top left: Rep. Ken Buck, Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Scott Tipton.

A press release before the holiday break from American Wind Energy Association condemns passage of the GOP-controlled House version of the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”–which contains a provision that won’t be good for jobs in one important industry to Colorado:

The U.S. House of Representatives missed an opportunity to stand up for 60,000 American workers and preserve $50 billion in private infrastructure investment. The tax reform bill passed by the House retroactively changes how businesses can qualify for wind energy’s primary investment tools, the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which are already on a path to phase out by 2019.

“The House tax bill, far from being pro-business, would kill over half of new wind farms planned in the U.S. and undermine one of the country’s fastest growing jobs,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “The wind industry tax reformed ourselves with bipartisan agreement in 2015. The Senate tax proposal gets it right by respecting those terms. Congress must act immediately in conference to drop the House provisions on the PTC and ITC, to restore the confidence of businesses ready to pour billions of dollars into job-creating American infrastructure.”

The House bill undermines wind development by implementing a retroactive change to qualification rules for wind energy tax credits. Because businesses can’t go back in time to requalify for the credits after ordering wind turbines and inking construction contracts, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment could be lost, and new business has stalled. The House bill would also terminate an inflation adjustment, significantly cutting the value of the PTC.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R), with wind power turbines in a 2014 campaign ad.

In an op-ed in the Pueblo ChieftainJohn Purcell of Houston-based Leeco Steel calls out Republicans who voted to kill the wind energy production tax credit:

By breaking its promise to the wind industry, Congress wouldn’t just hurt the investors, manufacturers and developers whose deals are undermined. The harmful effects of the House bill would have a ripple effect across the wind energy supply chain, ultimately harming thousands of American workers and families.

No American job is safe if Congress can change the terms of business contracts years after agreements are signed and billions of dollars are spent. That’s not pro-growth tax reform, that’s bad business.

The people who benefit from wind energy in this country are not strangers. They are the backbone of our communities, our returning veterans, our teachers, nurses, neighbors and family members.

Voting to hurt the wind power industry is a particularly toxic vote for Colorado Republicans. Rep. Scott Tipton’s district includes the Vestas wind tower manufacturing plant, and Rep. Ken Buck’s hometown of Windsor is home to a Vestas blade factory. Numerous smaller companies in Colorado support the wind power industry, from manufacturing to installation to operations.

And yet all four Colorado Republicans in the House voted to kill the wind power production tax credit. Don’t you think somebody should ask them why they voted directly, transactionally to kill Colorado jobs for the sake of tax cuts for the richest Americans?

In the Senate, the current tax “reform” legislation under debate does not include cuts to the wind power production tax credit. Although there are Republicans in that chamber who have paid lip service to supporting wind power including Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, it’s anybody’s guess whether Senators beholden to the fossil fuel industry will try to reinsert this provision–or if it does get out of the Senate with the wind power production credit intact, when the next attempt to slow down renewable energy will be made.

But we do know four Colorado Republicans who voted against this industry with a crucial role in Colorado’s economy one week ago. And they can’t take it back.

Pressure Stays on Coffman as House GOP Unveils Tax Giveaway

UPDATE #2: Don’t hold your breath:

——

UPDATE: The National Association of Home Builders joins the chorus against the House GOP’s tax bill in a strongly-worded statement today:

“The House Republican tax reform plan abandons middle-class taxpayers in favor of high-income Americans and wealthy corporations. The bill eviscerates existing housing tax benefits by drastically reducing the number of home owners who can take advantage of mortgage interest and property tax incentives.

“And capping mortgage interest at $500,000 for new home purchases means that home buyers in expensive markets will effectively lose this housing tax benefit moving forward.

“The House leadership killed a cost-effective plan proposed by NAHB that Ways and Means Committee leaders agreed to include in the legislation. It would provide a robust homeownership tax credit that would have helped up to 37 million additional home owners who do not currently itemize. Most of them are low- and moderate-income home owners.

“Meanwhile, as corporations receive a major tax cut, small businesses, which generate the lion’s share of job growth, get limited relief.

“The bottom line: Congress is ignoring the needs of America’s working-class families and small businesses.

“And by undermining the nation’s longstanding support for homeownership and threatening to lower the value of the largest asset held by most American families, this tax reform plan will put millions of home owners at risk.”

We’ll be very curious to see how Colorado’s most politically-connected homebuilder, Republican Larry Mizel, responds. What appears to be a solid wall of resistance to this bill from the homebuilding and real estate industries could put Colorado Republicans in an interesting predicament.

—–

Damn the torpedoes.

Politico reporting on the release today of details from the House’s tax reform legislation, which would make sweeping changes to the tax code while blowing an estimated $1.5 trillion-with-a-t hole in the budget for future Congresses to reckon with:

House Republican leaders unveiled a tax plan Thursday that would make sweeping changes in corporate and individual taxes, including deep tax cuts, limits to the mortgage interest deduction and bigger family tax credits.

It also includes provisions that are likely to stoke controversy and fierce lobbying, including limiting the deduction of mortgage interest for newly purchased homes up to $500,000, according to a summary…

The unveiling of the legislation kicks off what is likely to be a grueling slog to get legislation to Trump by the end of the year.

The proposal calls for the biggest rewrite of the code in a generation. Its cuts in tax rates on businesses and most individuals will come in exchange for killing scores of narrowly drawn tax breaks.

Exactly who would lose in the proposal, and possibly have to pay higher taxes, has been a closely held secret, and many lawmakers will surely be surprised at the scope of changes required to make the numbers behind the plan work.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

The decision to limit mortgage interest deductions on new home purchases to $500,000 isn’t a problem in states where property values have not risen that far for most homeowners. Unfortunately that does not include the state of Colorado, the location of one of the nation’s hottest housing markets in the Denver area–where the median home sale price almost hit $500,000 back in May. That’s why the National Association of Realtors is sounding the alarm over this provision of the bill:

Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home values and middle class homeowners at risk, and from a cursory examination this legislation appears to do just that.

There’s a telling correlation between lower property values and politically red states that bears further discussion in any debate over limiting the mortgage interest deduction–especially for Republicans in prosperous swing states like Colorado. It makes the question of supporting this tax reform bill much dicier for Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents rapidly-developing areas of the east Denver metro area that could be profoundly impacted by throttling back the mortgage interest deduction.

In Colorado, watch for Coffman to be the focus of intense lobbying from both sides. Coffman’s vote in favor of the budget proposal that set up passage of the tax reform bill doesn’t bode well, but as the debate on the tax bill proceeds and unpleasant details are publicized Coffman could certainly be peeled off if the potential damage to his re-election prospects becomes great enough. In fact, we’d consider Coffman a bellwether for success or failure of the entire effort, since it’s unlikely his vote can be spared. Coffman’s “defection” would likely only come in the event that GOP leadership accepts failure and allows him a face-saving out.

By all accounts passage of this bill is not assured, with objectionable details for left and right alike that have yet to be overcome to the satisfaction of a majority. For swing-state Republicans like Coffman, the question is whether the Republican Party’s failure to pass this tax reform bill would be a failure for their own political careers–or whether passing it would hurt them more in the long run.

It’s a question Mike Coffman had better answer correctly.

Mike Coffman’s Manafort Make-Believe

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

A statement from Rep. Mike Coffman a short while ago on the indictment of former Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort along with two other Trump campaign figures in the ongoing investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 elections is…well, it’s so silly that it deserves its own mention:

The American people are tired of corruption in Washington, which is why I’ve supported an independent counsel from the beginning. Whether it is millions in foreign dollars going to Paul Manafort or the Clintons, the American people are just sick of it. [Pols emphasis]

The obvious problem being here that the Clintons have not been charged with any crime and Manafort has–a fact no matter how hard the FOX News Channel tries to wish otherwise. Coffman’s barefaced pivot to the deflections that have kept conservative media functional in the last few days show clearly where he’s getting his talking points.

Today’s indictment further reinforces my view that the use of an independent counsel is the most appropriate forum for this ongoing investigation. My focus and that of Congress should be on the American’s people’s priorities–not partisan posturing.

To recap, Mike Coffman’s whole statement on the indictment of Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman consists of four sentences–two of which restate that Coffman supports an independent counsel without explaining how that’s relevant. We assume that means Coffman would object to Trump firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who unlike an independent counsel could more easily be fired, but it’s still an oddly minor point to devote half the statement to. The other two sentences consist of, respectively, rank partisan posturing…and then a call to reject “partisan posturing.”

And of course, Coffman doesn’t mention Trump even once.

It’s possible a more worthless contribution to the news cycle could be made, but he’d really have to work at it.

We assume that’s the point.

“Handmaids” Upstage Pence, But Mike Coffman Doesn’t Care

SATURDAY UPDATE: After Rep. Mike Coffman waved off a Telemundo reporter outside the security line at Vice President Mike Pence’s fundraiser (below), they spoke briefly inside the wire–but still in earshot of the protests, which Coffman gamely acknowledged:

COFFMAN (In Spanish): The protestors have the right to demonstrate and I do understand that.

Coffman reportedly gave a longer in-studio Spanish language interview to Telemundo yesterday, and we’ll update when we see it–particularly if were any more substantive answers to questions about his presence at the fundraiser or the underlying issues that made a subject of protest. After all:

He’s got to have some mixed feelings, right?

—–

CBS4 reports on yesterday’s main political event in the Denver Tech Center–a fundraiser for the Colorado Republican Party featuring Vice President Mike Pence that may have had more protesters outside the venue than attendees inside, even after the ticket price was cut almost in half:

Vice President Mike Pence visited Colorado on Thursday where he talked about tax reform. But it was his position on reproductive rights that spurred protests…

Protesters dressed as handmaids lined the streets on the way to the Denver Marriott Tech Center. The costume is in reference to the novel, movie and television show about a dystopian future society in which women are treated as property.

They condemn Pence’s anti-abortion stance and attempts to defund Planned Parenthood in his repeal and replace Obamacare actions.

The Denver Post’s Brian Eason:

Outside, where snow was lightly falling by late afternoon, more than 100 demonstrators lined South Syracuse Street to protest Pence and the president. Dozens were dressed as characters from the “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the dystopian novel and popular TV series in which women are treated as property.

Chants of “Shame! Shame!” broke out as Republicans began arriving for Pence’s speech.

Reporting from inside, FOX31’s Joe St. George says there were plenty of available seats:

Republican Party officials shut down any criticism over enthusiasm for the event. Previously, the party slashed prices to $150 to encourage more people to attend.

While some seats in the ballroom were empty, GOP officials declared the event a success because of Pence’s presence… [Pols emphasis]

“I think it’s a little funny this is their marquee event and they can’t even sell tickets, which is why they had to drop the ticket price,” said Eric Walker, with the Colorado Democratic Party.

Rep. Mike Coffman arrived at yesterday’s fundraiser to jeers and a brief-but-telling interaction with a Telemundo reporter–waving off an attempt to ask a question.

(more…)

Coffman Helps Pass GOP’s Fateful Budget Bill

From top left: Rep. Ken Buck, Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Scott Tipton.

AP reporting via the Denver Post on this morning’s passage in the House by a razor-thin margin of the GOP’s latest budget plan, setting up a vote on a massive tax cut package that will either goose the economy to new heights or plunge the nation into a Kansas-style fiscal crisis wholly of the party in power’s own making:

The House on Thursday gave a significant boost to President Donald Trump’s promise to cut taxes, narrowly passing a GOP budget that shelves longstanding concerns over federal deficits in favor of a rewrite of the tax code that Republicans promise will jump-start the economy.

The 216-212 vote permits Republicans to begin work on a follow-up $1.5 trillion tax cut and move it through Congress without fear of blocking tactics by Democrats. The tax bill is the top item on the GOP agenda, would be Trump’s first major win in Congress — and, Republicans hope, a much-needed boost for the party’s political fortunes on the eve of next year’s midterm elections…

The underlying budget measure abandons the Republican Party’s longstanding promise to rein in deficits in favor of Trump’s boast of “massive tax cuts.” The measure drops proposed cuts to mandatory programs such as food stamps, though conservatives promise to take on spending cuts later.

Fiscal conservatives are of course eager to proceed to the cutting part, but politically that’s not considered a viable option right now–not after the pain that was to be inflicted on Americans from repeal of the Affordable Care Act sent Republicans into a political tailspin and ultimately forced them to abandon the effort under intense protests. For now, and presumably through the 2018 elections, the focus is on “painless” tax cuts, or at least relatively so, by allowing the deficit to balloon by up to $1.5 trillion.

Some less realistic cheerleaders of this effort, including the White House, would honestly have you believe that the economic growth produced by these tax cuts will result in a net increase in revenues, making those politically unpalatable cuts unnecessary at all! But again, that’s the same thing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback promised when his state slashed taxes–and when it didn’t work, the legislature was forced to override Brownback’s veto of their budget raising taxes. The situation remains unresolved, with the state’s tax policy still out of whack and conservatives desperately trying to find a way to rationalize their tax cuts into not being the reason for the crisis.

Among Colorado’s congressional delegation, the only “surprise” in today’s party-line vote was Rep. Mike Coffman voting yes with Republican leadership instead of joining with the substantial number of dissenting Republicans (including Colorado’s own Rep. Ken Buck). In contrast to Coffman’s relatively deft handling of the health care repeal fiasco, this action puts him indelibly on record on a bill that could emerge as a major political liability in the next election.

Because make no mistake, folks. The bill is going to come due. In different political circumstances, it would be Mike Coffman saying so. The fact that he is not saying so, and in fact helped pass this supremely fiscally irresponsible legislation, is something the voters in his district will need to sort out for themselves.

What you can do to fight back this week (October 23)

So much for the “party of fiscal responsibility.”

Last week, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate began the process of jamming through a massive tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the richest people in this country at the expense of middle-class families. After spending months unsuccessfully trying to rob millions of Americans of health care, the GOP has moved on to this next item in their dangerous, elitist agenda.

Rep. Mike Coffman can stop this, the question is whether he will. Just a few Republicans standing up to leadership could stop this irresponsible tax break in its tracks. Coffman voted against the terrible health repeal bill because he knew it was political poison and bad policy. Will Coffman have the guts to stand up to GOP leadership and prevent adding $1.5 trillion to the national deficit?

The first thing to do this week is call Rep. Coffman’s office at 202-225-7882 and tell him to oppose Trump’s tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. If you live in Coffman’s district, click here to register for Coffman’s telephone town hall this coming Wednesday at 6:30 PM. Rep. Coffman must understand that the voters are watching—and this decision could make or break his career. Can we count on you to demand that Coffman vote “NO” on this ridiculous handout to the wealthiest Americans that will dig our country even deeper into debt?

Republicans don’t want you to realize how bad this will be. What they really want to do is cut critically needed programs Americans rely on to pay for this massive tax cut for the wealthy. But they’re not making those cuts just yet and are instead proposing driving us further into debt to pay for this tax cut. Why? Because they’re afraid of the political ramifications before the election. Don’t let them get away with it.

Thanks for your help holding Trump, Mike Coffman and the far-right in Congress accountable. Here are more ways to take action for the week of October 23rd:


Pollution, Public Transit, Traffic: Aurora City Council Forum

A coalition of 501c4 organizations invite Aurora residents to an environmental issue based candidate forum for all Aurora City Council Candidates. The focus of the forum will be centered around the environment. This forum is formatted as an even combination of questions collected from the public and questions posed by each participating organization.

Where: Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora
When: Monday, October 23 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado WaterWise 9th Annual Symposium

Join us for the 9th Annual Colorado WaterWise Water Conservation Symposium in Denver, Colorado! We have a great program that will appeal to many audiences. This year’s theme is conservation in outdoor water use. Register now as space is limited.

Where: Lowry Conference Center, 1061 Akron Way, Building 697, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 24 at 8:15am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Get Out the Vote Call Night!

Join us at the One Colorado office to remind our supporters to get out and vote in 2017!

Where: 1490 Lafayette St Ste 304, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 24 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Sierra Club Wild Happy Hour – Halloween Edition

Get creative and come for an unforgettable evening inspired by nature for food, drinks, and some wild costumes. This month’s Wild Happy Hour will be one we won’t forget. In honor of Halloween we welcome everyone to come dressed as something inspired by nature. Whether it is a wolf, a tree, a waterfall, or something out of the box we welcome all the creativity in the world. Don’t worry though, you will be rewarded with a $50 gift card to Patagonia if you are voted the winner of the costume contest.

Where: Forest Room 5, 2532 15th St, Denver
When: Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Denver Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships-HRCP Diversity & Inclusion Symposium

Learn how hiring individuals with disabilities benefits you! Get the tools to recruit talent from one of the most dynamically qualified labor pools! Free event.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, October 25 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado Safe Schools Webinar

One Colorado’s GSA Network will be hosting a statewide webinar on October 25th, 2017 based on our highly requested Safe Schools Training.

Where: Online
When: Wednesday, October 25 at 3:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado: Annual Freedom Fund Dorotha Howe Celebration

The annual Dorotha Howe Celebration is to honor Dorotha Randall Howe,who in partnership with Rev. Stephan Papa founded The Freedom Fund in 1984. The goal of this year’s event is a ‘farewell’ and celebration of the Freedom Fund in its original form, and a send-off to its new role, the Women’s Freedom Fund. We will be honoring Rev. Stephan Papa for his work.

Where: First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 S Colorado Blvd, Englewood
When: Wednesday, October 25 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Boulder CAN: Sec of State and AG Info Session

Have a chance to hear about the important issues that will face the Secretary of State and Attorney General after the 2018 elections. These offices are Colorados first line of defense against voter suppression efforts, attacks on our individual freedoms, and our environmment. Understand how electing the right people will help protect Coloradans and the Colorado way of life.

Where: 5735 Arapahoe Ave, Suite A1, Boulder
When: Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado to Pence: Reproductive Rights and Justice for All

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Denver for a fundraiser this month. Below are a mere handful of the reasons why we must come out and peacefully protest his appearance in our state. Thursday’s event will involve handmaids in full dress (as well as supporters holding signs) peacefully standing in silence as attendees arrive for the fundraiser. We will post details in the coming week for where to meet. Partners in this protest include: OneColorado, NARAL Colorado, The Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Indivisible Front Range Resistance, Indivisible Denver, Indivisible Colorado District 6, EDF Action, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, and others.

Where: Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S Syracuse St, Denver
When: Thursday, October 26 at 3:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Queer Invasion: October

Last month’s Queer Invasion was a wild success! Please continue to invite your friends to this group to get the word out! Meanwhile, we have plans for October’s Queer Invasion in Cap Hill. Stay tuned for the invasion location! Queer Invasion is a queer pop-up party in a non-queer space. It’s not a protest, just a fun queer takeover in a novel location. This tradition has been successful all over the country, and we have brought it to Denver. Join the community and make some new friends while surprising some regulars!

Where: Capitol Hill, Denver
When: Friday, October 27 at 8:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


March on Colorado Women’s Summit

The National Women’s march will be bringing thousands of women, femmes and our allies of all backgrounds to Detroit from October 27-29th, 2017, for a weekend of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building to continue the preparation going into the 2018 midterm elections! Here in Denver we decided to join in on this fantastic idea! March on Colorado will be offering an incredible one day Summit of speakers from and for our local community.

Where: Mile Hi Church, 9077 W. Alameda Avenue, Lakewood
When: Saturday, October 28 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.


People to People Training-Hosted by Indivisible SW Metro Denver

Knocking on doors is the BEST way to get out the message for the issues or candidates YOU support. Yet for first timers it can be intimidating. Don’t worry! Training is available to make this process a breeze!

Where: Spirit of Hope Methodist Church, 3885 S. Broadway, Englewood
When: Sunday, October 29 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Thanks again for all you do to fight for the values we share as Americans and progressives! Make sure to watch your inbox this week for late-breaking action alerts. Some weeks in the resistance feel like a sprint, others more like a marathon. Slowly but surely, we are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. We can do better than Trump and the conservative fringe.