Lamborn Ethics Investigation Moves Forward(er)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) as a fictional character.

Things aren’t looking great for Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who is facing an ethics committee investigation and a separate lawsuit related to some pretty serious allegations of creating a toxic workplace environment.

That’s the word from Chris Marquette, Congressional ethics and accountability reporter for CQ Roll Call. We’re inclined to take Marquette’s word on this, since a press release issued by the committee today is fully ensconced inside a thick sheen of congressional-ese gibberish that is difficult for regular English-speaking people to understand.

In December 2021, the Ethics Committee announced that it was “moving forward” with an investigation into Lamborn’s office, so this latest move seems to indicate that the committee is moving…even forwarder? The bottom line seems to be that allegations against Lamborn are serious and credible enough that the case can’t be swept under the rug.

Lamborn faces multiple allegations of abusing staffers, including requiring Congressional staff to pick up his wife’s laundry and buy her Christmas presents, as well as refusing COVID-19 precautions and a claim that Lamborn allowed his grown son to live in a storage closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

Lamborn has been re-elected more times than should have been possible since winning a 6-way GOP Primary for an open seat in 2006. This year he faces a potentially-difficult Primary challenge from State Rep. Dave Williams.

Defending The Indefensible (Again) With Wayne Laugesen

Wayne Laugesen.

As longtime readers know, the editorial section of the arch-conservative Colorado Springs Gazette, which has extended its editorial footprint northward with the launch of the like-minded Denver Gazette, has a reputation for making laughably strained cases in defense of favored Republican politicians, ballot initiative campaigns, and luminaries near and far. During the 2018 governor’s race, the Gazette opined in defense of GOP nominee Walker Stapleton’s refusal to answer for his great-grandad’s KKK ties by suggesting that all Democrats starting with Jared Polis were tainted–even though condemning the KKK was not complicated for Polis since his great-grandad was not one.

In 2020, editorial board editor Wayne Laugesen penned what we can only describe as a thirstily impassioned endorsement for now-Rep. Lauren Boebert, doubly odd since the Gazette doesn’t serve anywhere in CD-3 that we’re aware of. Laugesen’s effusive praise for Boebert, waxing lyrical about her “movie star looks” and “passion for freedom,” read as much like a high school crush letter as a sober assessment of Boebert’s strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. A few months after that endorsement, Wayne Laugesen became the only editorial board editor of a major Colorado newspaper (that we know of) who attended the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol–though he’s not personally accused of any crimes and claims to not condone the violence that occurred on that day.

In recent months, and especially now with a qualified Republican primary opponent running to oust Boebert in June rather than November, Boebert’s aggregating personal ethics scandals and increasingly off-putting behavior in her first year in office have made Boebert’s re-election a prospect increasingly difficult to defend even to many fellow Republicans. In December, Boebert narrowly escaped having her committee assignments pulled after her Islamophobic insults against Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R).

And then last week, Boebert insulted a group of Orthodox Jews touring the Capitol by looking the from “from head to toe” and asking if they were on a “reconnaissance” mission. Boebert claims she was “too short to see anyone’s yarmulkes,” meaning the group’s ambiguous Semitic appearance is what prompted a “joke” that no one seriously believes she would have made to a group of ordinary white American visitors. Rep. Boebert’s opponent Sen. Don Coram slammed Boebert’s comments as “disgusting” and “unacceptable,” saying Boebert “continues to act more like Marjorie Taylor Greene each day by spewing garbage like this.”

Boebert’s expanding sphere of xenophobia now apparently having grown to include Orthodox Jewish visitors to the U.S. Capitol might be considered enough to warrant finally taking punitive action against Boebert like her colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene earned. Sensing this danger, Wayne Laugesen weighed in today with another editorial in defense of Boebert that strains credulity to a new limit:

A CBD salesman who claims his products cure an amazing assortment of ills hopes to defeat the dynamic U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s Third Congressional District primary. The 74-year-old State Sen. Don Coram, a pro-pot activist, decided last week to leverage a fake news attack on Boebert — a young entrepreneur who represents the interests of working-class Coloradans and communicates the way genuine people talk…

So first of all, as the Grand Junction Sentinel ably reported today, the entire attack on Sen. Don Coram, which the Gazette proceeds to level in this editorial, is fictional. This description of Coram, born from a family of Montrose ranchers, as some kind of dope-smoking hippie is preposterous.

But here’s where Laugesen takes a turn for the surreal:

Last week she encountered a group of Capitol visitors like those she hosted in 2021. In a friendly demeanor, Boebert asked if they were on a “reconnaissance” mission.

All journalists should understand the quip. That didn’t stop the left-wing BuzzFeedNews.com, led by the co-founder of the Huffington Post, from characterizing Boebert as anti-Semitic.

Their evidence: The visitors were Jewish. Therefore, the self-effacing comment must have been a slight against Jews. Yeah… right. [Pols emphasis]

Never mind that Boebert herself came up with “Needle Nazis” to describe public vaccination efforts, or that Boebert was completely supportive as her bestie Marjorie Taylor Greene compared masks to the Holocaust–or that the “QAnon” conspiracy theory Boebert claims to be “very familiar with” is a cheap rewarming of the Blood Libel. Here is what Wayne Laugesen thinks you should know about Lauren Boebert and anti-Semitism:

Few in Congress are more outspoken than Boebert in supporting the Jewish community. Few have been quicker than Boebert to condemn anti-Semitic colleagues who treat Israel as a crime against humanity…

Laugesen’s evidence? Boebert’s spat with Rep. Omar. It’s an ouroboros of ignorance.

Given the general level of saturation of most people’s sense of outrage in contemporary politics, it remains to be seen whether this latest instance of deplorable behavior from Boebert will result in a penalty after so many previous episodes didn’t. Either way, Laugesen’s thoroughly ridiculous defense of Boebert does absolutely nothing to help her, or Republicans determined to turn a blind eye to her behavior.

It would be far better to say nothing than further insult their readers’ intelligence.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Jan. 24)

Happy Day of the Unification of the Romanian Principalities. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

Russia is moving ever closer toward a potential invasion of Ukraine, which would have ramifications across the geopolitical spectrum. From The Washington Post:

The tense conflict over Ukraine shifted further into full crisis mode Monday, with NATO saying it was moving more military equipment into Eastern Europe and Russia continuing to build up massed forces along the border with Ukraine, amid fears that it will invade its neighbor.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was watching NATO’s moves and President Vladimir Putin was “taking measures to ensure that our security and our interests are properly protected.”

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said Monday that Russia troops continued to arrive in the country, which borders Ukraine, ahead of a major training exercise next month. Further video surfaced on social media Monday showing Russian military convoys and trains with military equipment moving across southern Russia and Belarus

NATO said Monday it would send additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe. That followed reports that the Biden administration was considering sending thousands of U.S. forces as well as armaments to reinforce NATO allies in Poland and the Baltics and imposing new export controls aimed at damaging strategic Russian industries.

Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department ordered nonessential Ukraine embassy staff, as well as families of all staff members, to leave the country.

 

It may still be too early to know what kind of Republican Primary fight State Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) will be able to put up in CO-03, but as Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Coram isn’t going to be shy about throwing punches against incumbent Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

“If I wanted to make a million dollars, maybe I should try ‘consulting’ for an oil and gas firm for $500,000 a year and lie about it on public filings,” Coram said, referring to Boebert’s husband, Jayson. “That seemed to have worked out for others in this race.” [Pols emphasis]

Boebert failed to report the $460,601 income her husband earned in 2019 when she filed her first financial statement with the Federal Election Commission. That figure wasn’t known until she filed her second statement last year, showing he also earned $478,386 in 2020 from the same oil and gas consulting services.

Coram, like others, have pointed out that Boebert has advocated and voted for things that related to the oil and gas industry, saying that would constitute “enrichment.”

“Bottom line, this is just another production created by Lauren Boebert to distract from her record as an out-of-touch extremist who would rather spend time defending the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene than doing her job representing the people of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District,” Coram said.

CLICK HERE for more background on the Jayson Boebert story.

 

Alex Burness of The Denver Post looks at how Democrats plan to save Coloradans money in 2022.

 

Colorado Democrats are planning a reproductive rights bill in the state legislature as worries mount of a “post-Roe” world. From Colorado Newsline:

The policy is planned as a backstop in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established the constitutional right to abortion. While Coloradans currently have access to abortion at all stages of pregnancy, the bill would add an affirmative statement to that effect in Colorado law…

…State Rep. Meg Froelich, a Greenwood Village Democrat, is sponsoring the bill along with House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, a Pueblo Democrat, and Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Democrat from Denver. The lawmakers first announced their intention to run the bill during a December press conference. Froelich later provided more details.

“It will state clearly that access to abortion and the full range of reproductive health care — so, ‘full range of reproductive health care, including abortion,’ is the way that we talk about it — is a fundamental right in Colorado and that the government cannot interfere with that right,” Froelich told Newsline.

The bill would attest to the rights of all Coloradans to access, and to refuse, reproductive or contraceptive care.

 

Just a few days after Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper announced that she would not run for Congress in CO-07, Democratic State Rep. Brianna Titone made a similar decision and endorsed State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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Don Coram Isn’t Taking Lauren Boebert’s Crap Lying Down

State Sen. Don Coram (R).

Ten days ago, freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign launched a wildly negative pre-emptive attack on her newly-filed primary opponent state Sen. Don Coram, broadcasting early her campaign’s well-grounded fear of a qualified Republican opponent. Much to the delight of Boebert’s detractors, Coram has demonstrated in this initial exchange of rhetorical fire that he has no intention of sitting passively while Boebert unleashes the trademark factually-challenged rageaholism against a fellow Republican that has typified her time in the public spotlight so far.

An examination by the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby today of Boebert’s allegations regarding Coram’s supposed “multi-year $25 million scheme to line his own pockets,” which were featured in a somewhat controversial above-masthead advertisement in that paper, debunks Boebert’s screeching broadside with very little effort:

Part of her campaign, which is running in newspaper ads and radio spots, says that one of the bills Coram helped pass, a bill he along with every other lawmaker in the House and Senate voted in favor of, created a new crowdfunding program designed to help get investment money for startups.

One such company was known as Paradox Ventures, of which Coram owned a minority share.

Boebert’s ads claim he made $25 million off of a CBD company in 2017 that amounted to $50,000 per acre of hemp crops, of which he had 500 acres.

Actually, Coram only had 20 acres of hemp, and the venture company went defunct two years ago because the endeavor produced no profits, Coram’s campaign said.

In short, Boebert’s entire attack on Coram is fictional. There was no $25 million, and the suppositions used to justify that completely speculative figure have no basis in reality.

Lauren and Jayson Boebert.

But by trying to make this fictional ethics case against Coram, Boebert opened the door to revisiting very real ethics questions Boebert faces right now–and Don Coram didn’t hesitate to point out the obvious.

“If I wanted to make a million dollars, maybe I should try ‘consulting’ for an oil and gas firm for $500,000 a year and lie about it on public filings,” Coram said, referring to Boebert’s husband, Jayson. “That seemed to have worked out for others in this race.” [Pols emphasis]

We’ve written at some length in this space about Boebert’s strategy we call “hugging her scandals,” purposefully attacking others along lines that would seem on the surface to invite charges of hypocrisy. Examples of this strategy include Boebert’s abortive attempt to join the January 6th Select Committee as anything other than a suspect, and visceral smears against LGBT people to distract from decidedly immoral behavior by members of her own family. For Boebert to attack Coram for money Coram never made while refusing to answer questions about the questionably huge payouts her family has received from the oil and gas industry is…well, it’s audacious. As we’ve said for some time, it’s quite risky.

What was lacking before was an opponent to throw the hypocrisy back in Boebert’s face.

Now Boebert has one, and it could change the game.

Hanks Blasts Dems and Geitner for Not Praising His Insurrection Attendance

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a Jan. 19 interview, state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City) took aim at Democrats — as well as fellow state House Minority Leader Tim Geitner — for, respectively, their votes and failure to vote on a House resolution thanking Hanks for attending last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“We had a couple of Republican colleagues who mysteriously disappeared and were excused for some of these amendments including our illustrious assistant minority leader [state Rep. Tim Geitner (R-Colorado Springs],” Hanks on the Chuck and Julie podcast (at 29 minutes here).

Geitner managed “to make it back it time luckily to vote on the resolution by the Democrats, and at that point he voted against their resolution, so at least he has that to his credit.”

Bonniwell, Hayden, Hanks

The Democrats’ resolution, among other things, re-asserted the validity of the 2020 presidential election results. It was passed by Democrats. Two-thirds of Colorado House Republicans voted for the failed measure to thank Hanks for attending the Jan. 6 coup attempt.

“I appreciate all votes; I appreciate all explanations. Being absent is a little bit questionable, I would say,” Hanks said on the podcast. “…You can’t argue against the facts, and I am sure he had a very legitimate reason to miss the Republican amendments but make it back for the Democrats. But that’s politics, right?”

Hanks was amused at the Democrats’ shocked response to the GOP proposals, including the amendments seeking forensic audits of the 2020 and 2021 elections and the one thanking Hanks for attending the insurrection.

“Liberal heads are exploding over this,” said Hayden, before asking Hanks to comment on the GOP amendments.

“I guess, the Democrats did go little nuts on it,” Hanks replied to Hayden. “You can tell when they all start running up and start taking pictures of the amendments as displayed that something isn’t clicking with them.”

At least one other Republican legislator, Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta) has since expressed regret at voting for the amendments, saying he voted yes without reading the actual text.

In the interview, Hanks contended again that Biden was “not legitimately elected,” and he pushed back on reporters who point out that the courts, the Congress, recounts, and audits show otherwise.

“I always am hopeful that the media is going to look at things a little more objectively than they have at this point,” Hanks stated on the podcast, saying reporters usually end up giving him the “jail-house shiv” in their articles.

Weekend Open Thread

“A mature society understands that at the heart of democracy is argument.”

–Salman Rushdie

Ron Hanks is a Monster of the GOP’s Own Creation

Ron Hanks is the center of gravity in the Republican Senate race.

Colorado Republicans are nervous about Ron Hanks. They should be.

Hanks, the state representative from Cañon City, has become the center of gravity in the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. That’s not good for Colorado Republicans, and many in the State GOP are well aware of the problem.

Again, they should be aware…they created this monster.

Colorado Republicans are desperately trying to refute the notion that Hanks could be the frontrunner in a GOP Senate Primary for the right to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November. As The Colorado Sun reports today in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Sage Naumann, spokesman for the Colorado Senate GOP, flatly declared, “Ron Hanks won’t be the nominee.”

Naumann, who has fiercely rejected his party’s election conspiracies, called the notion [of Hanks as the frontrunner] “bullshit.”

Kyle Kohli, a former Colorado GOP spokesman who is now the executive director of the conservative nonprofit Compass Colorado, said Hanks is “a guy with no name ID and (in all likelihood) no money.”

Why it matters: The Colorado GOP is trying hard to stay on message this year about their efforts to increase affordability, decrease crime and improve Colorado’s education system. But members of the party, like Hanks and state Rep. Dave Williams, who keep spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election, shift the conversation away from those policy goals.

 

“The Unaffiliated” goes on to report that Hanks and State Rep. Dave Williams were primarily responsible for blowing up what House Minority Leader Hugh McKean intended to be a quiet protest on Tuesday. Instead, as Alex Burness reported for The Denver Post, it became fodder for another round of terrible headlines and pointless infighting:

Two-thirds of Colorado House GOP members voted Tuesday in favor of formally thanking state Rep. Ron Hanks and those who joined him at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.

A majority of House Republicans also voted to “call into question” whether Joe Biden was legitimately elected; to urge the decertification of 2020 election results in an effort to reinstall former President Donald Trump; to support embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, an ally of election deniers who is under investigation for allegedly allowing a security breach in her elections division; and to commit to ensuring dead people are removed from voter rolls — something for which there is already a process in Colorado.

Republican State Rep. Matt Soper is already voicing regret about his votes on Tuesday. As an editorial in The Aurora Sentinel concluded, Tuesday’s theatrics showed that the 2022 campaign cycle has already “unravelled into a grave and dangerous heap of far-right extremist deceit and delusion.”

The danger here is obvious when a majority of Republican elected officials in the House lavish praise on a dubious peer who says a thwarted effort to violently overthrow the U.S. government was carried out by “nice people” who “did nothing wrong.”

Yes, Colorado Republicans should absolutely be nervous about Hanks and his U.S. Senate candidacy. But they can’t act surprised, and they sure as hell can’t pretend that Hanks is some sort of rogue actor within the State GOP. The Colorado Republican Party is Dr. Frankenstein, and Hanks is a monster of their own creation.

Last weekend, Hanks easily won a “straw poll” following a Republican Senate candidate forum in El Paso County. You could perhaps argue as to whether Hanks is truly the “frontrunner” in a field of misfit, unknown candidates – we won’t know his Q4 fundraising numbers until the end of the month, for example – but there’s no debate that the current state of the GOP Senate race revolves around this one man.

It’s not a mystery as to how someone like Hanks could end up at the top of the pile in a U.S. Senate Primary. The Colorado GOP has been playing footsie with Trumpers and “Big Lie” adherents ever since Election Night in 2020. The Republican frontrunner for governor, Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, is so terrified of angering the Trump base that she won’t even answer straightforward questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Most of the top elected officers in the State Republican Party believe that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Those who disagree have generally refused to admit as much in public out of fear that Colorado Trumpists will turn on them. In early 2021, then-Republican Party Chair candidate Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) said flatly, “The Republican Party will never go back to the pre-Trump era.” She said this, in part, because she wanted “Big Lie” adherents to vote for her…and they did.

Did KBB know this was a bad idea for the long-term strategy for the Colorado GOP? Does it matter? What’s more important is that KBB was more than happy to trade on the “Big Lie” in order to get herself elected. Ron Hanks has every reason to be annoyed now that she’s wagging her finger at him for doing the same thing.

The reason KBB won election as State Party Chair is the same reason that Soper blindly voted to “thank” insurrectionists and why Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has become the heart and soul of the Colorado GOP: They beat the drum of the “Big Lie” for their own personal gain. Of course the 2022 election cycle was going to include a number of election-denier adherents as official candidates – they’re just following the example of the Republican “leaders” before them.

If you keep feeding a stray cat that wanders onto your porch, you can’t reasonably be irritated when the same cat won’t go away later.

Anyone Left To Offend? Lauren Boebert Just Can’t Help Herself

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle).

Media outlets in Israel overnight picked up on a Buzzfeed story yesterday, documenting an encounter in a U.S. Capitol elevator between freshman GOP controversy vortex Rep. Lauren Boebert and a group of Orthodox Jews on a tour of the building that…well, read it for yourself:

Members of the group, which was meeting with Rep. Tom Suozzi, were wearing yarmulkes, and the person coordinating the group is Orthodox, with a traditional beard.

One witness said the group, along with other members of Congress, was waiting for an elevator. When the doors opened, Boebert stepped out of the elevator and looked the group of visitors “from head to toe,” the witness said. Boebert then asked if they were there to conduct “reconnaissance.”

“When I heard that, I actually turned to the person standing next to me and asked, ‘Did you just hear that?’” a rabbi who was with the group told BuzzFeed News…

As readers know, Rep. Boebert has been the subject of much scrutiny over the last year over her actions in the days leading up to the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol–in particular disputed allegations that Boebert hosted some kind of “reconnaissance tour” for individuals who later stormed the building. In addition, Boebert spent most of December in the hot seat as Democrats demanded Boebert be stripped of her committee assignments and/or censored for falsely and repeatedly suggesting that U.S. Capitol Police consider Rep. Ilhan Omar to be a terrorist threat.

Reporting in The Forward today, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Gabe Friedman and Forward reporter Jacob Kornbluh spoke with Ezra Friedlander, the Orthodox Jewish lobbyist who organized the group’s visit to the Capitol to commemorate the end of the Iran hostage crisis. The JTA’s story has been picked up by numerous Israeli outlets including the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel:

“It was totally inappropriate to label a group of Americans, some of whom who were visibly Jewish and of the Hasidic tradition, trying to insinuate something that does not exist,” Friedlander said…

Friedlander brushed off Boebert’s excuse that she wasn’t able to identify them as Jewish. “If she didn’t see my yarmulke, she clearly saw my long Hasidic suit, she clearly saw my beard,” he said. “And as my wife likes to remind me, when you’re in Washington, you stand out. I don’t think that what she’s saying is a portrayal of the truth, unfortunately.”

Whether or not Boebert was able to recognize traditional Jewish clothing and appearance isn’t really relevant. It’s much more likely that Boebert simply perceived this tour group to be composed of Semitic-looking foreigners of some description, and fired off the first xenophobic thought that came to mind–associating them with Islamic terrorism. Obviously, the more credit we give Boebert for knowing who she was disparaging, the worse this gets–so by suggesting that Boebert may not have specifically understood this was a group of Jewish people, we’re being as charitable as we possibly can. Some will argue too much so.

Either way, this is another plainly unacceptable instance of Boebert making a disparaging race-based presumption–this time against random Capitol visitors instead of her colleagues. If this had been a group of ordinary white Americans touring the Capitol, Boebert wouldn’t have found them out of place to crack her little “joke” at all. Everybody knows it.

This morning, as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reports, Boebert’s Republican primary opponent Don Coram tore into Boebert over this latest incident:

“If Lauren Boebert would spend more time in Colorado with the people of the 3rd Congressional District instead of jetting around the country like an out-of-touch celebrity, maybe she would understand why this is not only disgusting but unacceptable. Especially after the recent events in Texas,” he said.

Referencing a furor sparked late last year after a video clip surfaced of Boebert making anti-Muslim remarks about U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, Coram continued: “One might think Lauren would have learned from her most recent encounter involving an elevator, obviously not (maybe she should take the stairs). Instead, she continues to act more like Marjorie Taylor Greene each day by spewing garbage like this. We deserve better.”

Although the campaign to censure and/or bench Boebert from her committee assignments over her comments about Rep. Omar fizzled over the holiday break, this latest controversy is almost certain to re-energize calls to take some kind of disciplinary action. Boebert’s rank ignorance and openly prejudicial behavior in the halls of Congress is a bipartisan disgrace to the institution. Whether by ignorance or genuine antipathy for Orthodox Jewish people, Boebert has now offended a whole new and much more influential community than when she disparaged Ilhan Omar.

How much is enough, folks? Surely Kevin McCarthy must be doing the math by now.

Workers Claim Victory as King Soopers Strike Ends

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark:

—–

9NEWS reports on an apparently victorious conclusion to the 9-day strike by King Soopers workers, with a new (but yet to be disclosed) tentative agreement that workers will vote to approve Monday:

The worker’s strike will end immediately and workers can return to work Friday, UFCW said in a release.

“After months of negotiations and after our members walked out on strike, we have reached a tentative agreement with King Soopers/City Market that addresses the Company’s unfair labor practices and ensures that our members will receive the respect, pay, and protection they warrant,” said Kim Cordova, President of UFCW Local 7. “This fight will always be about the workers. I could not be prouder of our members who put it all on the line to have their voices heard.”

“We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans.” said Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market. “We look forward to welcoming back our associates and customers.”

By all accounts the shopping public also played a big role in the success of UFCW’s industrial action, largely honoring the picket lines and severely reducing traffic to King Soopers stores during the strike. Community support is every bit as important as strike pay in empowering workers to stay strong against management in a labor dispute.

Congratulations, and resume consuming as usual.

Friday Open Thread

“Hypocrisy is the mother of all evil and racial prejudice is still her favourite child.”

–Don King

Cool Story, But YOU VOTED AGAINST THAT

UPDATE: It looks like Boebert already did it, taking credit for $77.5 million in federal grants “benefiting CO-03”.

 

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Last summer we wrote about federal funding “earmarks,” also known as “Member Designated Projects” and “Community Project Funding Requests,” that included an oft-quoted graphic showing how Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation were responsible for all of $0 in federal funding returning to our state…

 

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Deadly Insurrection: It’s All One Big Joke To Jenna Ellis

Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis.

As Colorado Newsline’s Julia Fennell reported yesterday, former Colorado Christian University “constitutional law professor” Jenna Ellis, who gained nationwide fame as one of the principal faces of ex-President Donald Trump’s legal team challenging the results in dozens of failed lawsuits across the country, has been subpoenaed by the Select Committee investigating the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol along with her boss Rudy Giuliani, crackpot attorney of record Sidney Powell, and Boris Epshteyn:

Ellis, 37, is accused of promoting claims that the 2020 election was stolen and participating in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results based on her allegations, according to a redacted letter sent to Ellis on Tuesday by the chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi. The letter alleges that between mid-November 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, Ellis sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Three other members of Trump’s legal team, Rudolph Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Boris Epshteyn, were also issued subpoenas Tuesday.

“The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes,” Thompson said in a statement Tuesday, referring to Ellis, Giuliani, Powell and Epshteyn. “We expect these individuals to join the nearly 400 witnesses who have spoken with the Select Committee as the committee works to get answers for the American people about the violent attack on our democracy.”

Ellis is also accused of preparing and circulating two memos claiming to analyze the constitutional authority for the vice president to reject or delay counting electoral votes from states that had submitted alternate slates of electors, according to Tuesday’s statement.

Responding with the seriousness befitting the weighty subject of an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead and faith in American democracy seriously compromised, Ellis responded to her subpoena via Twitter:

Well actually, the Select Committee does want a “date” of sorts. Under oath.

Of course, if you had responded to Jenna Ellis’ claims that the election was stolen from Donald Trump with the same flippancy (which admittedly we did), Ellis would have castigated you like she did the whole media establishment after taking over for Giuliani in the infamous dripping hair-dye press conference at Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2021:

In retrospect, the record has clearly established that press conference was 1. too long and 2. devoid of evidence.

But again, let’s return to the urgency and certainty with which this same Jenna Ellis worked to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which directly provoked the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Ellis has escaped the professional sanctions that her boss Rudy Giuliani has been hit with, which has been attributed at least in part to lax oversight of attorney ethics in Colorado compared to other states. But outside the conservative info-bubble Ellis migrated to at Newsmax a few months after January 6th, her reputation is as tarnished as Giuliani and fellow coup plotter John Eastman–both of whom have seen their job prospects dwindle since Trump left office.

If Ellis actually believes anything she said before January 6th, as we said about conspiracy theorist Joe Oltmann and the Dominion Voting Systems defamation trial, the Select Committee is a golden opportunity to make her case. If Ellis’ response to this inquiry into violence she had a direct hand in inciting is to crack wise and evade the hard questions, first and foremost Ellis is undercutting herself and everyone she helped convince of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.

The other possibility is that Ellis knows the truth and doesn’t care. Like Eastman, Ellis may well give two completely different answers about the legitimacy of Trump’s coup attempt depending on her audience.

There’s only one way to deal with such people, and that’s under penalty of perjury.

Dahlkemper Won’t Run in CO-07; Path Clear for Pettersen

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)

The dominoes continue to fall in the wake of Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s surprise retirement announcement earlier this month — and they keep falling in favor of State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood).

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper has decided against running for the Colorado congressional seat held by retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Instead, the Lakewood Democrat plans to stick with her bid for re-election, she told Colorado Politics.

Dahlkemper, a former member of the Jefferson County school board, said last week that she was considering joining the Democratic primary after Perlmutter’s surprise announcement on Jan. 10 that he wouldn’t seek a ninth term representing the Jefferson County-based 7th Congressional District.

“I’m lov[ing] serving as a county commissioner and working on issues that matter in Jefferson County — reducing wildfire risk, expanding open space and trails, helping small businesses and struggling families navigate COVID recovery and more,” Dahlkemper said in an email. “My focus is on re-election this November. Even though I’ve won two countywide elections in Jeffco, I’m not taking anything for granted this November.”

Dahlkemper’s decision to stay out of the Democratic Primary in CO-07 is significant news. Dahlkemper is the wife of former state lawmaker Mike Feeley, who famously lost the first race for CO-07 in 2002 to Republican Bob Beauprez by a mere 121 votes; she has built up a solid political career of her own after serving on the Jefferson County School Board and winning a seat on the Jeffco Board of County Commissioners in 2018.

Pettersen shot out of the gates quickly in CO-07, officially announcing her candidacy one day after Perlmutter’s retirement news broke. Her campaign promptly rolled out a massive list of major Democratic endorsements, followed by an announcement that she had banked $200,000 within five days of launching.

Pettersen may yet face a Primary challenge in June, but it would be tough for any Democrat to catch up to her now. State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) has talked about running but doesn’t have the same campaign infrastructure in place. We’ve heard whisper of a few other potential names on the Democratic side, though nothing concrete. Anybody still pondering a decision had better move quickly with precinct caucuses beginning in early March.

On the Republican side, Laurel Imer and Erik Aadland have been in the race since 2021. State Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton) said last week that he planned to make a decision on a potential campaign by the end of this week; according to Luning, Larson is still thinking it through and now says he’ll have something to say “next week.”

MAGA Candidates Drop Craziest Anti-Abortion Bill Yet

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

Against the backdrop of the 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments in cases that could well mean the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights for all Americans, Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly are back in 2022 with an assortment of anti-abortion bills. Former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville has reintroduced his perennial bill making abortion a class 1 felony, and as we discussed yesterday, CD-8 candidate and Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer signed on as the Senate sponsor of a reprise “abortion surveillance” bill similar to one that died in the 2021 session.

But folks, none of those bills can hold a proverbial candle to House Bill 22-1079, sponsored by two upwardly aspiring GOP House members, Rep. Dave Williams running in CD-5 and Rep. Ron Hanks in the race for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. House Bill 1079, “Concerning Abolishing Abortion in Colorado,” takes the fight to ban abortion “from fertilization to natural death” to a disturbing new level:

The bill requires the state to enforce homicide and assault provisions without regard to the opinion of the United States supreme court in Roe v. Wade and other supreme court decisions, past and future.

The bill authorizes the state to disregard any federal court decision that purports to enjoin or void this requirement and subjects a Colorado judge to impeachment or removal [Pols emphasis] if the judge purports to enjoin, stay, overrule, or void the requirement.

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

In short, what we have here is an assertion of state sovereignty over federal law, following the anachronistic idea that states can simply nullify laws they don’t like. It’s an argument that was mostly settled by the American Civil War, and again in the 1958 Supreme Court case of Cooper v. Aaron–only much more recently becoming a renewed legal debate topic as right-wing controlled legislatures have attempted bills like the one above.

This bill will of course not live through its first committee hearing in the Democratic-controlled Colorado House, let alone pass into law where it would be subjected to a court challenge. But when you consider that this legislation instructing the state to defy the U.S. Supreme Court is sponsored by two Colorado Republican candidates for federal office, it’s more than a little concerning. It’s another stark reminder how the abortion rights Coloradans were assured for years would never be in danger no matter how many Republicans got elected are in grave danger today.

And it shows again how abortion, an issue that has ruined Colorado Republican candidates and galvanized Colorado voters to turn out to protect abortion rights over and over in general elections, is perceived completely differently in the context of a Republican primary. Williams and Hanks don’t consider this issue to be a liability–in fact their chances in the primaries they’re running in improve the more extreme a position they take, and they’re simply not strategizing beyond that date. In a Republican primary, anti-abortion extremism is the coin of the realm, and that’s why Neville’s bill merely making an abortion a felony wasn’t enough this year.

Like Maya Angelou said, when they show you this clearly what they stand for, believe them.

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