During this year’s controversy in Colorado politics over the failed recall attempts by Republicans against various state legislators as well as Gov. Jared Polis, a recurring theme has involved local political usual suspects lining up at the trough to make money off of recall committees they in most cases knew would never be successful. In particular, the right-wing Independence Institute operated a “crowdfunding” website known as Freedomfy that brought in over $20,000 for the now-defunct (and thoroughly scandalized) “Official” Recall Polis committee, as well as a fundraising page for the abortive recall attempt against former Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley.
“Freedomfy” eventually fell out of favor with the Polis recall committee, reportedly due to the substantially above-market “processing fees” charged by the Independence Institute for every donation made through the platform, and they wound up moving to other fundraising sites that (presumably) skimmed less off the top. The executive director of the Independence Institute Jon Caldara later piled insult on injury by admitting to the press that the Polis recall his organization had raised tens of thousands of dollars for (and pocket a couple grand along the way) was a fool’s errand the whole time.
In the aftermath of all that #fail, you might have thought that Freedomfy would quietly dry up and blow away with so many other fly-by-night political fundraising schemes. But as PT Barnum is alleged to have observed, “there’s a sucker born every minute!”
FRIDAY UPDATE: Amateur hour continues, writesMarianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette:
After Colorado Politics reported that a Polis recall committee had disclosed distributing $11,000 in contributed funds as gifts to people involved in the group, the committee has amended state filings to say that the payments were for “consultant and professional services” instead of “gifts.”
The amended report from “Official Recall Governor Jared Polis” group — filed at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, hours after CoPo’s story was posted — labels the purpose of those expenditures as “BOARD APPROVED – THANK YOU FOR CARING ABOUT COLORADO.”
The previous filing identified the purpose as as “BOARD GIFT – THANK YOU FOR CARING ABOUT COLORADO.” Other information about the payments was not changed.
That’s a swell amendment, but we’d say the grounds for the mother of all campaign finance complaints have only been reinforced by this act of ex post facto backside covering. We assume that will be the next shoe to drop–unless it just plain becomes time to start arresting people for fraud! We’ll leave that question to the lawyers, who should be coming directly.
As the Denver Post’sAnna Staverreports, the end of the road has come for the Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis Issue Committee–and after diverting $29,000 into a committee calling itself Colorado For Trump, thousands of dollars in donations to the committee are being given out as “gifts” to the abortive campaign’s organizers:
The Official Recall of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis group — which didn’t participate in the recent failed recall attempt by two other groups — has given $11,000 of the money it raised for the effort as gifts to staffers.
According to online campaign finance records filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, committee manager Shane Donnelley got $5,000 as a “thank you for caring about Colorado” gift, and secretary Lisa Pascoe and Weld County lead Rene McGill both received $3,000.
“Whether you call it a grift or a gift, this is just the latest in a string of events that show these recalls are being driven by scammers who are looking out for their own interests at the expense of unwitting voters,” said Curtis Hubbard, the spokesman for the Democratic group working against the recalls, Democracy First.
When we last checked in on the ashes of the failed push to recall Gov. Jared Polis earlier this month, the chair of the committee Juli-Andra Fuentes said she was waiting for a phone call (that wasn’t coming) from President Donald Trump personally before deciding what next to do with the $29,000 she diverted to “Colorado For Trump” from the Recall Polis committee–which might include legal defense if she’s sued by the Trump campaign for misuse of their brand. Shane Donnelley, as readers know, is one of the original organizers of the committee, but stepped back from a public role after anti-Semitic posts from Donnelley and another principal organizer Judy Spady wound up on the evening news.
The diversion of tens of thousands of dollars into the bogus Trump committee, and the thousands paid to local political operatives like Jon Caldara and Scott Gessler for their “Freedomfy” fundraising platform and legal fees respectively are well-known scandals at this point. But this latest disclosure of $11,000 given away as “gifts” to organizers after a campaign that accomplished absolutely nothing–helping principally to discredit the Polis recall petition drive after it commenced–is absolutely gobsmacking in its audacity.
With President Trump dominating the news cycle this week in extraordinary fashion, there have been a couple of important Colorado political stories that have flown under the ol’ radar. One story we wanted to be sure to rewind involves Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck, whose leadership seat is getting warmer despite the fact that he’s rarely ever sitting in the chair himself.
As the Colorado Sun reported via its newsletter “The Unaffiliated” earlier this week, there is a brewing discomfort with the GOP’s absentee chairman:
Headline from Colorado Sun political newsletter “The Unaffiliated” (9/24/19)
A Republican activist began collecting signatures Saturday at the Colorado Republican Party’s organizational meeting to oust new Chairman Ken Buck.
Peg Cage, the immediate past chairwoman of the Boulder County Republican Party, told The Sun that Buck is spending too much time in Washington as a congressman and not doing his job as chairman to fundraise, recruit candidates or serve as the GOP’s public voice.
“He’s demonstrated no leadership toward that objective goal of taking back the state,” she said. “He’s not doing the job.” [Pols emphasis]
At the party’s central committee meeting, Cage distributed forms seeking written consent from members of the governing body to force his removal. She needs to collect a majority of the roughly 450 members to force the issue. She declined to say how many she’s received, but added: “We have a long way to go, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Buck won the party’s leadership post in a close vote in April. Cage supported Buck’s opponent in the chairman’s race, state Rep. Susan Beckman. A party spokesman said he was not aware of any such effort and Buck did not return a call seeking comment. [Pols emphasis]
Ken Buck races to his side hustle.
Chairman Buck, you may recall, spends most of his week masquerading as the Congressman from CO-4. Buck’s plan to split his time in Congress with overseeing the State Republican Party from afar has not endeared him to GOP activists and doesn’t appear to be providing much benefit to Colorado Republicans.
When I reached out to @cologop for Party Chair Ken Buck’s response, I was told “Contact the official office.” Well, the Colorado GOP IS the official office. I’m asking state party chair Ken Buck, not @RepKenBuck. How does the head of Colorado’s Republican party feel? #copolitics
Congresschairman Buck’s “Jekyl and Hyde” routine is already wearing thin with reporters and GOP activists alike. When Buck was elected Party Chair in late March, the plan was that former State Party Chairman Steve House would serve as the “CEO” of the party when Buck was off playing Congressman in Washington D.C. Even though Buck was elected Chairman, this proposal was not particularly popular. As Ernest Luning reported in March:
Veteran Republican strategist Dick Wadhams, who served two terms as state chairman last decade, said he was stunned after reviewing Buck’s proposal, calling it “unworkable” and “absolutely nonsensical.”
“If Steve House wants to be state chairman, he ought to run for it, and if Ken Buck doesn’t want to be state chairman, he ought to get out of the race,” Wadhams said… [Pols emphasis]
…He also slammed Buck’s plans to run the party from Washington, D.C., saying he was “baffled” by the proposition.
Last month House stepped down as Republican Party “CEO” so that he could pursue the GOP nomination for Congress in CO-6. House was quickly replaced by former vice-chairman and congressional candidate Don Ytterberg, but as reporting from the Colorado Sun and 9News indicates, the case of the missing GOP Chairman continues to be a problem.
Congressman Buck will be running for re-election a year from now, where he is still favored to keep his seat because CO-4 is a heavily-Republican district. The odds of Buck holding onto his other title are considerably worse.
The Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who by day masquerades as Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), tried to spin news of impeachment proceedings against President Trump today as Democrats “trying to overturn an election that didn’t go their way.”
Democrats spent 3 years trying to overturn an election that didn’t go their way. They wasted $40 million of taxpayer money to find no collusion & no obstruction. Now @SpeakerPelosi‘s call for a formal impeachment inquiry is based solely on rumors & hearsay. It’s time to move on.
Anyone familiar with Colorado politics instantly recognized the absurdity of Buck leading with his chin on this statement. This is, after all, the same Ken Buck who was elected GOP Chair earlier this year on the heels of a speech in which he cheered on a bunch of lame recall efforts by various Republican groups. Back in March, Buck stood on the stage at a Republican Central Committee Meeting and promised his audience that he would teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” Multiple recall attempts have since failed in spectacular fashion, leaving the State Republican Party to choose between being labeled insincere or incompetent (or both).
Buck’s laughable attempts at accusing Democrats of trying to re-do an election were thus widely mocked by local political reporters, as you can see after the jump below…
With the campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis now consigned to the dustbin of history, we’ve been following developments surrounding the roughly $100,000 raised by the “Official” Recall Jared Polis committee–which readers will recall is the committee that decided not to launch a recall attempt without the huge financial and volunteer commitment that would be necessary and condemned the “Dismiss Polis” campaign for moving ahead without the resources to succeed. Earlier this month, we took note of a large transfer of funds from the “Official” Polis Recall committee to a committee named “Colorado For Trump,” and took that as a sign that their operations were winding down.
But as 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark reports in the video above, that’s not where this sorry story ends:
$30k in donations to recall Gov Polis were shifted to ‘Colorado For Trump,’ run by the same woman, Juli-Andra Fuentes. The Trump campaign says it’s not affiliated and may take action. Fuentes tells me she wants a personal phone call from the President first. #copolitics
You read that correctly: “Colorado For Trump” is not affiliated with the Trump campaign whatsoever, and is in fact run by the same Juli-Andra Fuentes who ran the “Official” Recall Polis committee. The Trump campaign is threatening legal action, and now Fuentes is talking about all kinds of alternative destinations for the committee’s remaining cash:
The $29k in remaining recall donations will be split between a new committee Fuentes declined to describe, charitable contributions, settling outstanding debts, and creating a legal fund to be used by the committee’s attorney, former Sec. of State Scott Gessler. #copolitics
Of courseScott Gesslergets some of the money! Gessler attaching himself to the revenue stream of this summer’s failed recall attempts has got to be one of the most under-reported angles on the whole story and we hope somebody catches up with him for a few questions. As for the rest of the cash, this boils down to a hard lesson in the pitfalls of political giving–in particular giving to PACs and other entities without a clear purpose and accountability for the monies raised.
This is a campaign that literally had donors pledging their disability and Social Security checks to make donations in their misguided low-information fervor to bring Gov. Polis down. To see that money now slushing around in the hands of obviously marginal people with no sense of responsibility to the donors they spent months fleecing is…well, it ought to be a crime. The only reason it may not be is because the “ScamPAC” industry pays the mortgages of a lot of people in politics. Like Scott Gessler.
When does it stop being a political campaign and just become a fraud? This situation is pushing the boundary.
(The Nevilles are very fine people – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Angered by a news story about her son, prominent conservative activist Barb Neville launched a one-women social media assault on Colorado Politics reporter Marianne Goodland.
Neville, mother of House Republican Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) and wife of former State Senator Tim Neville of Littleton, shared Goodland’s article about Patrick Neville directing financial support to the Recall Polis effort, along with the following commentary to her Facebook page on Sept. 7:
“Why is this even news??? This reporter will report anything to give the appearance that Republicans are evil. I’ll bet if this were a demonrat she would be holding them out as heroes.Republicans and unaffiliates that support our country and constitution should be proud that we have leaders who are principled enough to stand and fight for it.MG and her socialist pervert democrat cronies are the ones who are evil. Tell the Gazette to send her packing to a country like Cuba or Venezuela where they will be more amicable to her Commie leanings. I am sick of these commie women haters I’ma a different kinda .#MeToo
Neville also shared the post with numerous Republican and conservative Facebook pages and groups, including GOP pages for Denver, Arapahoe, Pueblo, Weld, Jefferson, Elbert and Fremont counties. Other groups include the National Asian Indian Republican Association, GetErDoneRightColorado, Arapahoe Tea Party, and OGRE Exposed.
Asked by a commenter on her post if any part of Goodland’s article was false, Neville didn’t dispute any of its accuracy. Instead, she complained that the decision to report the story itself was showing Republicans in a negative light.
Colorado Press Association CEO Jill Farschman expressed concern over Neville’s post:
“While sharing opinions is certainly a First Amendment right, attacks on journalism as a profession undermine our free press which is the only profession enshrined in our nation’s Constitution due to its criticality to a functioning democracy. In this instance, the accuracy of the journalist’s work isn’t being questioned and suggesting she should be sent to other countries openly hostile to free press is extremely offensive. Such personal threats debase our political discourse and put the safety of journalists at risk.”
Barb Neville isn’t just related to politicians. She’s a former candidate-turned-operative herself. She briefly ran for state Senate in 2006, and later ran her sister-in-law Julie Williams’ successful 2013 campaign for Jefferson County School Board. The Denver Post’s profile of the Neville family that year described them as a “political dynasty.”
Reached by email for a response to Neville’s insults and calls for Goodland’s banishment, Mark Harden, managing editor of Colorado Politics, stated:
“Marianne Goodland is an outstanding reporter on state politics whose work is widely respected by Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. We stand by her reporting.”
Barb Neville did not return a Facebook message requesting comment.
The Denver Post’sAnna Staver wrote an excellent post-mortem of the Colorado Republican Party’s failed summer of recalls this past weekend, and here’s how it starts:
When Congressman Ken Buck took the reins of the Colorado Republican Party in March, he stood on the stage in Englewood High School’s auditorium and told the party faithful they were going to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.”
The room erupted in applause…
[I]n the nearly six months since that fiery speech in the high school auditorium, conservatives have tried to recall five Democratic lawmakers and the governor. Four of those campaigns failed to gather enough signatures to put a recall election on the ballot, one recall target resigned for unrelated reasons, and the attempt to remove Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is ongoing. His opponents have until Oct. 18 to turn in their petitions.
“I think the recall process has done what it was supposed to do,” said former GOP chair Dick Wadhams. “It provided an outlet for Republicans. … Were they politically smart? I think it’s a resounding no.”
As the Republican recall threats that dominated the end of the 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly have collapsed under their own weight in the last two weeks, Rep. Ken Buck’s speech in late March before the GOP state convention committing the party to support for recalls against Democratic lawmakers with dramatic flair has emerged as a symbol of the party’s incompetent reaction to massive defeat in the 2018 elections. Moderate GOP columnist Mario Nicolais writes in the Colorado Sun:
Rep. Ken Buck took the reins of the Colorado Republican Party promising to “teach [Democrats] how to spell r-e-c-a-l-l.” Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown initiated the recall against state Sen. Tom Sullivan. Former state House candidate Nancy Pallozzi targeted her historical nemesis state Sen. Brittany Pettersen.
Heading into a critical 2020 election year, the Colorado Republicans spent the past six months demonstrating an ineffectual ground game and undermining their own credibility. That doesn’t bode well for President Trump’s reelection efforts or Sen. Cory Gardner’s slim hope of hanging onto the seat he narrowly won in 2014.
When the effort to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan failed just as spectacularly as the recall-Polis movement, I asked whether the Colorado GOP knew enough to be embarrassed. I think we have now answered that question. The attempt to recall Polis may not have been an official GOP project, but it’s close enough. Marianne Goodland of Colorado Politics reports that groups aligned with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville donated $10,000 to the effort.
And remember Ken Buck’s speech when he was elected GOP state chair last March, promising Democrats would need to learn how to spell r-e-c-a-l-l in the coming months? We remember Sen. Cory Gardner standing on the stage in support of Buck.
The correct spelling is in the headline. Your dictionary (for those of a certain age) or spell-check (for those who don’t remember or never used that heavy old bound Webster’s) will confirm it. The alternative spelling, at least for disgruntled conservatives and Colorado Republicans, is F-A-I-L.
My GOP friends need to forward that alternative spelling to their state party chair. It was Ken Buck, whose day job is representing Colorado’s 4th congressional district, who pledged at the party’s last state convention that “we’re going to teach them (Democrats) how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” To applause, it’s worth noting, from the only two remaining Republicans officeholders elected statewide, Sen. Cory Gardner and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl.
Republican sources tell us that there is a fierce intraparty debate underway today on both sides of “recall season” as to how seriously Rep. Buck’s absentee leadership of the Colorado GOP contributed to the failures. On the one hand, Buck certainly could have (and in retrospect should have) intervened in the filing of the doomed recall petition against Rep. Tom Sullivan, the failure of which effectively stymied any momentum Republicans had coming out of the legislative session. On the other hand, Buck is widely rumored to have discouraged the Polis recall behind the scenes, helping further alienate the party’s radical wing after paying them lip service.
Perhaps most telling in all of this is that Staver reports Rep. Buck couldn’t be reached for comment on how the spelling lesson ended up! At this point, that’s probably Buck’s best option. Comparing the rhetoric to the outcome of the now-faceplanted “summer of recalls” is an embarrassment to more than Ken Buck, but there’s only one chairman.
One leader of the effort to recall Colorado state Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) is speculating that her Facebook page was hacked, while another leader isn’t commenting, in response to questions about racist or anti-Semitic posts on both of their Facebook pages.
“Today reaffirms my disdain for illegals…Barbarians…3rd world pigs,” wrote Ernest Mascarenas, who’s listed in state records as one of three leaders of the recall effort, on Facebook Feb. 12, where he goes by the name Ernest Carlos. “Pissed in a bottle and threw it down the elevator shaft, landing on a elevator worker. If you like them so much and want them here that bad, take them into your home…BUILD THAT WALL.”
In another comment posted July 10 above a DailyCaller article with the headline, “BET Founder Gives Thumbs Up To Trump, Thumbs Down To Democrats,” Mascarenas wrote, “You’ll always have the dumb minorities that’ll support the Democrats… All the way to the oven.”
Multiple attempts to reach Mascarenas to discuss the Facebook posts, which were obtained from a source, were not successful.
Carr’s 2013 apparent comment came in response to Feinstein’s calls for new gun laws after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in 2012.
Carr’s Facebook page states that by pushing gun safety legislation, Feinstein, whom Carr refers to as “some 80-year-old Jewish Senator (b 6-22-33 SF Ca)” who is “old enough to know about the events in Germany in the thirties and forties when Adolf murdered millions of Jews,” is “trying her best to do Hitler’s work in the U.S.”
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville took to the airwaves to attack his Republican colleagues last week. He dismissed the fundraising efforts of his former state Reps. Dan Thurlow and Polly Lawerence, calling them “the JV squad.”
The pair of former legislators, considered “establishment” Republicans compared to the far-right Minority Leader, launched an independent expenditure committee to support GOP legislative candidates. Former Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and other Republicans have since joined the group, Friends Of The Future, as advisors.
During a Sept. 6 appearance on KNUS 710AM’s Chuck & Julie Show, Neville mocked the moderate politicians for imitating his small-dollar fundraising prowess:
“They’re kind of like the JV squad reuniting, wearing their letter jackets and talking about all the great things they did. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery, so in this case they’re seeing how successful we’re being with developing a small dollar donor base so we don’t have to be totally dependent on these large donations from corporations or other big donors…” House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, KNUS, 9/6/19
Asked by KNUS host Julie Hayden which Republican fundraising entities conservatives should support, Neville briefly mentioned his official House 527 Values First Colorado, but quickly moved on to promote “Recall Colorado,” another 527 Neville and his brother Joe created, ostensibly to separate their recall fundraising from their regular election cycle work.
Values First Colorado is the official House 527 and then we also have RecallColorado.com. We’re transforming that into small dollar donations that we’re really trying to turn into a base that we can hand off towards future election cycles so that’s really main effort that we’ve put into it. It’s becoming Take Back Colorado, now that we’re getting past the recall cycles and getting closer to 2020, we’re running out of time to initiate a lot of these recalls. So that’s what we’re going to transform that into. So recallcolorado.com, there you go.”
Neville’s claim that he’s transforming Recall Colorado into “Take Back Colorado” (TBC) as part of an effort to shift from “recall cycles” to “future election cycles” is interesting for a few reasons.
Yesterday afternoon, the recall campaigns targeting state Sens. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood announced the failure of their efforts after having collected an unknown number of signatures short of the requirement in both districts. This news yesterday afternoon came following Friday’s announcement that the “Dismiss Polis” recall petition campaign gathered less than half the required signatures to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the ballot. Back in June, the recall petition campaign targeting Rep. Tom Sullivanfailed after intense national news coverage highlighted the offense of trying to recall the father of an Aurora theater massacre victim for passing gun control legislation.
The Recall Polis “creeper van.”
Last March, Rep. Ken Buck was elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party on a promise to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” The ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan was filed by Colorado Republican Party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown, who subsequently tried to distance the party from her actions as it became clear to all parties that a serious political and moral error had been made in attempting to recall Rep. Sullivan.
The recall campaign against Gov. Polis kicked off, as readers know well, over the strenuous objections of the “Official” Recall Polis committee who (as it turns out correctly) predicted the effort would fail. Two competing fundraising operations nominally dedicated to the same extremely unlikely goal of recalling Gov. Polis confusingly solicited Republicans for funds, and laid out opposing but always unrealistic visions for how the recall would proceed. In the end the “official” committee denounced the petition drive managed by GOP attorney Korry Lewis, and wrote a big check to Colorado For Trump in hope of deflecting allegations of defrauding its donors–in spirit if not in legal point of fact.
The Polis recall petition campaign claimed to have collected around 300,000 signatures, less than half the required total let alone the 30%+ margin required to cover invalid signatures during the verification process. Because these signatures will never be turned in, no one will ever know if even these claimed numbers are accurate. Likewise with the now-dead recall petition drives targeting Sens. Lee and Pettersen–those campaigns did not disclose even an estimate of signatures they had collected, and it would be impossible to verify any number they provided. On the other hand, Democrats used these petition drives to mobilize large canvass operations in the targeted districts, giving them a jump on the next cycle.
“Herbie The Hate Bug.”
The collapse in just the space of a few days of recall campaigns that have dominated political news coverage in Colorado for most of 2019 has been so stunning that the magnitude of the defeat for Republicans risks not being fully digested by the relentless news cycle. There’s an understandable desire in the wake of this defeat to lay blame on the recall organizers, from the freaks and ghouls of the Polis recall to Nancy Pallozzi, the silly-season caricature who ran the recall campaign against Sen. Pettersen in SD-22 after losing to Pettersen by 20 points in her House race three years ago. In retrospect, yes, these were fringe types who did not deserve the attention they were paid–but the responsibility for what they did goes right back to GOP chairman Ken Buck, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, and every other high-placed Republican who led the party to this state of ruin instead of preparing for the next general election in 2020.
The red-on-red recriminations are already starting. Buck’s absentee leadership of the Colorado Republican Party while radical subordinates like Kristi Burton Brown run amok, the chokehold of the Neville clan and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) on the GOP House caucus as well as county sheriffs and party organizations across the state, occurring against the backdrop of the Republican Party’s massive losses in Colorado in the 2018 elections–all of this is now a burning issue for every Colorado Republican who wants to avoid another wholesale disaster in November of 2020.
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).
Over the years as Republicans have faced ever-greater defeats in Colorado both in accordance with and opposed to national trends, voices within the party have made half-hearted and in many cases disingenuous calls for a fundamental shift in direction. After sweeping losses in 2012, Republican strategists Josh Penry and Rob Witwer said flatly that Republicans “must improve or die”–and then Penry in particular got rich as a grifting “consultant” for losing Republican campaigns. In 2016, two-time gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez, himself no stranger to fringy self-destructive politics, tried unsuccessfully to purge the GOP’s slate of legislative candidates, incumbents and fresh faces alike, whom he believed were doing more harm than good for the party in the long term.
Today, Colorado Republicans find themselves at another such crossroads. Almost a year has been wasted in foolish pursuit of revenge for the losses of 2018 instead of getting ready to minimize what’s shaping up to be yet another Democratic wave in 2020. The state party is in the hands of unserious radicals who do not possess elementary political sense based on their own actions, and still tightly bound to RMGO and the Nevilles even as it costs them their last vestiges of relevance.
In 2010, Dan Maes led the Colorado GOP to an 11% finish in the governor’s race.
The hole they’re in today is every bit as deep, with no one but themselves to blame.
This is the fourth recall petition against Democratic lawmakers this year that has failed.
Last Friday, organizers of an effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis announced they had failed to gather enough signatures for a recall. They claimed to have gathered around 300,000 of the necessary 631,266 but provided no proof…
“It’s hardly a surprise that these bogus recalls failed to find support beyond the grifters, extremists and sore losers who hatched the ploys in the first place,” said the group’s spokesman, Curtis Hubbard. “These scams were designed to raise money and collect data on voters in competitive districts, and all Coloradans — regardless of political affiliation — should be disgusted by the abuse of the recall process.”
Sens. Brittany Pettersen, Pete Lee (D).
UPDATE #3: Here’s the statement from “Recall Et All,” blaming the failure of the Lee and Pettersen recalls on big bad nasty union thugs, et al. — who target 60-80 year old women, no less — while promising like good Scooby Doo villains to be back next time for total victory!
Recall Et All is suspending the recall campaigns for Senators Pete Lee (SD11) and Brittany Pettersen (SD22). We are confident in the success of our future efforts to recall both of these elected officials. In the meantime, we will continue to educate the public regarding the party-line politics being played in both districts that completely undermine the will of the people.
We want to thank each and every volunteer who fought through extreme heat, countless sunburns, and the harassment of dissenters which was not limited to vile name calling and crude gestures. Our dedicated volunteers also went up against the onslaught of paid protesters whose only purpose was to harass and intimidate. We learned that the leftists will stop at nothing to impede our signature-gathering efforts, as they focused on 60-80 year-old volunteers, mostly women.
We are so proud of our volunteers for standing up for freedom. They did not back down from these juvenile, dirty tactics! This opposition only showed the citizens of Colorado their true colors, making the decision to sign that much easier.
To our law enforcement officers and security guards, thank you for checking on us, treating us with dignity and respect, and recognizing our First Amendment rights.
Lastly, our sincere gratitude to the businesses in and around Senate Districts 11 and 22, both large and small, that protected our volunteers’ signature-gathering activities and their right to petition in parking lots, store fronts, etc. Protecting our freedoms is what this whole movement is about, and we will continue to fight that battle for the people of Colorado. The fight isn’t over, it’s just begun.
We’re so confident in future recall efforts that we’re just going to stop altogether! That makes lotsa sense.
Considering that both Senators Lee and Pettersen won their 2018 elections overwhelmingly by double digits, it is hardly surprising the sore losers running these sham recalls are throwing in the towel. As has been the case with the previous failed recalls, this was never about their votes. These were far-right activists who are upset they lost so badly in 2018 and were desperate for a redo through these ridiculous recalls. The people of SD11 and SD22 saw through this sham, which is exactly why they rejected this cynical effort to overthrow their 2018 votes.
An attempted recall of state Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) fizzled today, as proponents will not meet the deadline to submit over 11,000 signatures.
Resist Polis PAC board member Kristina Finley confirmed that signatures will not be submitted by 5:00 PM today…
Recall Et Al, the issue group behind the recall, still has a donor pages for Sens. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and Kerry Donovan (D-Vail). However, the local leader of the nascent movement to recall Donovan recently posted on Facebook that “it seems the effort is dying as more people are refusing to help or won’t volunteer.”
That’s the late-breaking word this afternoon from the Colorado Secretary of State–after a 60-day period to collect 11,304 signatures in the case of Sen. Pete Lee and the recall petition against Sen. Brittany Pettersen nearing its deadline next week, both campaigns are announcing failure–via Colorado Public Radio’sBente Birkeland:
NOW : Recall efforts over for Senators Lee and Pettersen “Recall Et All is suspending the recall campaigns for Senators Pete Lee (SD11) and Brittany Pettersen (SD22). We are confident in the success of our future efforts to recall both of these elected officials.” #copolitics
Just days after the Recall Polis campaign came up short, a related effort to remove state Sen. Pete Lee (D – Colorado Springs) faces its deadline tomorrow, Sept. 10.
Resist Polis PAC leader Kristina Finley says the Recall Et Al issue group will issue a statement about the Lee recall tomorrow. Proponents hoped to gather 15,000 signatures from registered voters in Senate District 11. Lee won his seat with 62% of the vote, a figure cited by the Colorado Springs Business Journal in its Sept. 6 editorial opposing the recall, “Let Pete Lee Govern Already.”
Colorado Springs resident Scott David Fisher, a constituent of Sen. Lee, filed the recall petition on July 12.
Resist Polis PAC worked with Fisher in El Paso County. Fisher spoke about the Lee recall at Resist Polis’ weekly meeting in late July. However, while the effort has been led by the same Recall Et Al issue group that coordinated the Recall Polis campaign, the Lee recall has been a considerably lower-key effort, with no standalone website or Facebook page.
Less than a week after the recall was filed, Colorado Politics’ Marianne Goodland reported that Fisher has “has a history with paramilitary groups such as the III% United Patriots of Colorado.” That history included patrolling the streets of Colorado Springs in 2015 with a semi-automatic rifle wearing a bandana to hide his face.
UPDATE #4: Progress Now Colorado tries to take the edge off the bad news for President Donald Trump’snext briefing:
UPDATE #3: Gov. Jared Polis’ full statement:
“After all that fuss, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t turn in a single signature on the recall. I hope the remaining misguided efforts against others see the same results as Tom Sullivan’s did before. Recalls should not be used for partisan gamesmanship.
“Yesterday I was in Rifle, last week I was in Ignacio, Cortez, and Durango, and next week I’ll be in Trinidad and Lamar. Across the state, people are so excited that kids everywhere are able to attend kindergarten free of charge, and that for the first time in history, health insurance rates are going down more than 18% next year. Mom and pop stores across the state are already benefiting from our tax cut that reduced taxes for 144,000 small and medium-sized businesses across our state.
“Now that this sideshow is over, I will continue to focus my full attention on building upon our bipartisan success with kindergarten and saving money on health care. For my nine months in office I’ve held regular meetings with Republican and Democratic legislative leadership, and after the remaining recall efforts fail I plan on inviting both sides to a joint bipartisan leadership meeting to discuss how together we can improve our schools, reduce our traffic, and save people even more money on health care. Let’s see what amazing things we can do for Colorado, together.”
Friday was the end of a 60-day period during which supporters of the recall needed to collect 631,266 valid signatures — or more than 10,521 a day — to make the special election happen. No campaign has ever collected that many signatures in Colorado.
Organizers said they collected more than 300,000 signatures…
Organizers also said they will not turn in the signatures that they did collect. If they did, the people who signed would have been prohibited from signing any other petition to recall Polis during his term in office. The maneuver also prevents the public from knowing who signed the petition.
We feel this is crucial to reiterate. No news story should quote the campaign’s 300,000 signatures claim without noting that this number has not been and at this point will not ever be verified, since the petitions will not be turned into the Secretary of State for verification.
For all we know, those forms could be blank.
UPDATE: Marshall Zelinger of 9NEWS reports that the “Resist Polis” campaign collected roughly 300,000 signatures, less than half the required number and nowhere close to the necessary margin for account for the inevitable invalid signatures. They will not be turning collected signatures in, meaning even these pitiful numbers cannot be verified–but based on the typical validity rate for ballot measure petitions, the number of valid signatures is almost certainly far below the announced total..
In short, the campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis has now been confirmed to be a massive waste of time and energy that in hindsight received much more attention than it ever deserved. Updates, reactions to follow.
► As the Associated Press reports, lawmakers are making a renewed push to ban high-capacity magazines for firearms as Congress approaches the end of its August recess:
Nine states, including Colorado, have passed laws restricting magazine capacity to 10 to 15 bullets, and the Democratic-led U.S. House plans to consider a similar ban at the federal level in the coming weeks.
In arguing for the bans, politicians, experts and gun-control advocates point out that in the time it takes for a driver to wait through a stop light, a shooter with a 100-round magazine can kill and injure dozens of people.
The man who opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, last month killed nine people and injured 27 others in only 30 seconds, in part because of the 100-bullet drum attached to his rifle. It only took 85 seconds for a gunman to empty several 30-round magazines at an IHOP in Carson City, Nevada, killing four people and injuring 14 in 2011.
Authorities have not released any information on the accessories the gunman in Odessa, Texas, used over the weekend when he opened fire on police and bystanders with an AR-style weapon.
Meanwhile, as CNN reports, America’s largest retailer is making a big move on gun safety:
Walmart on Tuesday announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart also pressured Congress to enact gun safety measures.
The company, America’s largest retailer, said it will stop selling handgun ammunition and ammunition for short-barrel rifles after selling all of its current inventory. Walmart (WMT) will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells handguns. And Walmart will request that customers no longer openly carry guns into its 4,700 US stores, or its Sam’s Club stores, in states that allow open carry.
However, Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. Walmart will also continue to allow concealed carry by customers with permits in its stores.
(That’s pretty fast even for “Con Man Cory!” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
According to the two people he spoke with, in the space of 60 seconds last Friday, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) flipped from expressing sympathy for state Senate President Leroy Garcia and misgivings about the recall process to telling a recall booster, “I’ve never said I was against recalls.”
Former Pueblo GOP chair Tom Ready shared a paraphrased version of the exchange on Facebook last weekend:
The State Fair’s Legislative BBQ is neutral territory for politicians. Elected officials from both sides of the aisle, often wearing Western apparel with still-visible store creases, mingle over pulled pork and potato salad. Conversations are typically friendly and casual, but talking politics is never off-limits for this crowd, especially with an active recall taking place in the host city.
Garcia confirmed the exchange last Friday between Gardner and himself, saying that Gardner approached him and his wife. As Garcia tells it:
Gardner: “Hey how are things down here?” Garcia: “Well, obviously you know it’s a bit of a busy season right now.” Gardner: “Yeah I’m kind of sorry that this is happening and I don’t know that this should be the process in which this is the way things work.”
Garcia noted that Tom Ready was standing next to them and “was caught up in the exchange” while it occurred. Ready then engaged Gardner directly about the recalls after he and Garcia had finished speaking.
Ready, who says he and Gardner have been friends for a long time, confirmed he was nearby during Gardner and Garcia’s conversation and that he spoke with Gardner immediately afterward.
“I spoke with Sen. Gardner about a minute later,” he said.
As predictable as sunrise, 9NEWS’Marshall Zelingerreports:
One of two groups seeking contributions to try to recall Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) recently diverted nearly a third of its money to a different effort.
“Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis” has received $108,000 in contributions since forming in March.
In a campaign finance filing on Monday, that group reported giving $29,657.47 to “Colorado For Trump.” The reason stated was “Board approved expenditure for pivoting purposes.”
To recap, since it’s been awhile since the Recall Polis campaign(s) have merited much attention, with the doomed effort to collect over 600,000 voter signatures heading for its September 6th day of reckoning–this is the “Official” Recall Polis campaign, not the “Dismiss Polis” effort currently conducting the petition drive to get a recall question on the ballot. Readers will recall that the “Official” Recall Polis campaign denounced the “Dismiss Polis” campaign as a sham with no resources, and Dismiss Polis responded with similar allegations against the “Official” campaign excepting the significant resources the “Official” campaign has raised and refused to spend. Because none of these efforts have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually succeeding in placing a recall question on the ballot, all of the money raised by these committees can be reasonably categorized as scammed loot from conception to execution.
With all of this in mind, this decision by the “Official” Recall Polis committee to “pivot” a third of their cash to Colorado For Trump might seem like an attempt to do right by their donors, some of whom had posted on social media about spending their disability and welfare checks on donations to the campaign. The problem is, only a third of the money raised to recall Gov. Jared Polis going to any electoral purpose is still a scam no matter how you sugar-coat it. What’s the status of the other $70,000 this committee took in? We know that some of the biggest checks early in the campaign were written to former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and online payment processors like the Independence Institute, but there’s tens of thousands of dollars slushing around that this rerouting of funds to the Trump re-election campaign does not account for. If it was our money, we’d want to know how to get it back. It’s easy, after all, to donate to the Trump campaign ourselves if we want.
And yes, this is further confirmation that the movement to recall Colorado’s popular freshman governor less than a year after his double-digit victory is just about to be relegated to the dustbin of history! Hopefully that part, anyway, is not news to anyone.
► Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in Aurora on Monday to talk about curbing gun violence. As the Denver Post reports:
“Be bold, be courageous. The nation is counting on you,” Giffords told a standing-room-only crowd of about 150 people during a town hall meeting in Aurora.
Giffords was shot and nearly assassinated in early 2011 during a constituent event in Arizona. To focus on a lengthy recovery, she retired from Congress the following year and has since become one of the nation’s leading advocates for gun control measures.
On Monday night, she hosted the town hall event with three Democratic members of Congress from Colorado — Reps. Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter — as part of her advocacy work in the Centennial State. Attorney General Phil Weiser and several state lawmakers were also in attendance.
“The good news is, the tide is turning,” said Crow, who represents Aurora and ran for Congress on a gun control platform last year. “The majority of Americans are with us” on gun control.
► The latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. Find out more about John Hickenlooper’s Senate candidacy, Cardboard Cory’s adventures, and whether or not wearing pants will become the signature issue of 2020.
Despite being cited by name in an official document filed by those trying to remove State Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel is not involved and is taking no position on the recall effort. The company is the largest private employer in Pueblo.
Reached for comment via email, EVRAZ spokesperson Patrick Waldron wrote:
EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel was not aware of [the recall] before published reports, nor are we involved in the petition.
Waldron declined to give a position on the recall itself as the company does not make endorsements in political campaigns.
The latest recall campaign is the fifth so far this year, all targeting Democratic state legislators. It’s the first, however, to cite a private business by name.
He poked another U.S. ally in the eye, questioned the loyalty of American Jews, backpedaled on gun legislation and undercut the denials of his advisers on the economy. It was just another normal day in the Trump administration.
Take this quartet case collectively and it portrays an administration and White House in chaos, lacking in systematic policymaking. It portrays a president who changes his mind whenever it suits him, whose statements change with the moment, and who uses words carelessly and sometimes destructively. It forms a pattern of dissembling, of deliberate or unknowing falsehoods as well as efforts to divide already divided Americans from one another.
Trump is spending part of his day today slinging barbs at Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, whom he says said “nasty” things about his dumbass idea to try to buy Greenland. As Chris Cillizzawrites for CNN, this Greenland nonsense is the perfect metaphor for Trump’s Presidency.
Trump is also further inflaming his comments about Jewish voters, as USA Today explains:
Speaking to press on Wednesday, Donald Trump reiterated his earlier comments on Israel, saying “In my opinion, if you vote for a Democrat you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”
“I have been responsible for a lot of great things for Israel,” Trump said.
This is the second time Trump has expressed this sentiment, which prompted backlash on Tuesday from Jewish Americans. Trump, though, said his assertions are not anti-Semitic.
► You can mark this down in the category of “Completely Unsurprising Political News.” As 9News reports:
The group trying to recall Democratic Governor Jared Polis could choose not to turn in the signatures they’ve gathered. And that might be a smart strategy.
The poorly-funded effort to recall Polis is declining whether to say if organizers are even approaching the 631,266 signatures needed as they approach a September 6th deadline.
No petition signature-gathering effort in Colorado history has needed so many signatures. The amount represents 25% of the votes cast in the last election….
…[Dismiss Polis spokeswoman Karen Kataline] confirmed that recall organizers will not submit the gathered signatures to the Secretary of State for verification if they believe they will fall short of the required 631,266 valid signatures.
A political fund controlled by state House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock and his brother, Joe Neville, has been attempting for months to raise money for the effort to recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.
But groups involved in the recall effort say they haven’t seen any of that money yet. [Pols emphasis]
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock)
The most recent fundraising email was sent Aug. 5 under the name of Take Back Colorado, asking respondents to reply to a survey on whether the governor should be recalled. It included a link to a donation site, operated by Values First Colorado, the 527 campaign committee run by Joe Neville that primarily supports Republican candidates for the Colorado state House.
Under tax law, 527 committees can raise unlimited funds to influence an election or issue but can’t coordinate with a campaign.
Joe Neville told Colorado Politics that any money received through that Aug. 5 fundraising email would go to the Resist Polis PAC, one of two groups involved in the petition effort to recall the governor. He did not respond to a request on how much money was raised by the Polis-recall emails.
But Resist Polis PAC spokeswoman Korry Lewis said the group’s dealings with the Nevilles have been frustrating, because while “we’ve been talking to them since April” about the fundraising emails, it hasn’t seen any money yet.
► Eight counties in Western Colorado are among the fastest-warming places in the entire country, according to data compiled by the Washington Post:
Over the past two decades, the 2 degrees Celsius number has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. In the 2015 Paris accord, international leaders agreed that the world should act urgently to keep the Earth’s average temperature increases “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid a host of catastrophic changes…
…A Washington Post analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark.
— Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.
Montrose, Rio Blanco, Mesa, and Ouray counties are among the Top 10 most rapidly warming counties in the United States.
Critics of the Trump administration’s decision to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction fear the real goal is to weaken the bureau.
These concerns and suspicions have only been heightened by recent statements and actions from administration leaders. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed William Perry Pendley as acting BLM director. For years, Pendley advocated selling off the public lands of the agency he’s now leading…
…George Stone, with the Public Land Foundation, a nonprofit made up of many former BLM employees said there’s another saying in D.C.: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”
He and many others fear BLM is the next dish to be served up, facing de-facto cuts and a marginalized position far from D.C. power players to advocate for its interests.
► A “Draft Hick” movement is the next step in what is increasingly looking like an inevitable U.S. Senate campaign for former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Recent polling indicates that Hickenlooper holds a 51-point lead over the rest of the Democratic field should he join the race for the 2020 nomination.
In a recent Facebook post, Recall Jared Polis heralded its use of the SideKick app, stating, “We are putting the finishing touches on our custom app to track and verify recall petition signatures. Our goal is to shatter the record for the lowest signature rejection rate in Colorado history, and with you as a volunteer, we know we can!”
Now the Colorado Republican Party has a new voter database that’s also being used by allied conservative groups.
Speaking to activists last month, Colorado Trump Chair Jefferson Thomas indicated that the Colorado Republican Party is now using a “door-to-door” application called “Sidekick.”
“Sidekick is our voter contact application,” said Thomas, when he asked about GOP tools that could be used in multiple elections. “There is also a front-facing database, if you will, that contains all of our voters, all of those things integrated in one system.”
The Colorado Republican Party is listed as a client on the website of CampaignSidekick, which sells the app. Other clients are state Republican Parties, like Arkansas, Arizona, and Ohio.
A campaign to recall Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is also appears to be using the Sidekick app.
In a recent Facebook post, Recall Jared Polis heralded its use of the SideKick app, stating, “We are putting the finishing touches on our custom app to track and verify recall petition signatures. Our goal is to shatter the record for the lowest signature rejection rate in Colorado history, and with you as a volunteer, we know we can!”
► The Trump administration is pushing new restrictions targeting legal immigrants. From the Washington Post:
Legal immigrants who use public benefits — such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance — could have a tougher time obtaining a green card or U.S. citizenship under a policy change announced Monday that is at the center of the Trump administration’s effort to reduce immigration.
The new policy for “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” which appeared Monday on the Federal Register’s website and will take effect in two months, sets new standards for obtaining permanent residency and U.S. citizenship. The Trump administration has been seeking to limit those immigrants who might draw on taxpayer-funded benefits, such as many of those who have been fleeing Central America, while allowing more highly skilled and wealthy immigrants into the United States.
Wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance in the process for obtaining a green card, as the change seeks to redefine what it means to be a “public charge,” as well as who is likely to be one under U.S. immigration law.
► If former Gov. John Hickenlooper drops his bid for President and instead decides to run for U.S. Senate, the road looks pretty smooth ahead. As the Denver Post reports, Hickenlooper would enter a crowded Democratic field of candidates as a heavy favorite to capture the nomination.
► It is entirely possible that people trying to recall State Sen. Brittany Pettersen believe that “State Senator” means Pettersen is a Senator for the entire state of Colorado. Either that, or they really have no idea where to find Lakewood.
Photos forwarded to us yesterday from the far western reaches of Jefferson County, at the intersection of US-285 and Pine Valley Road. In the 20 minutes or so our source observed there weren’t any drive-ups to sign petitions either to recall Gov. Jared Polis or the recently-announced “citizens-only voting” ballot measure being pushed in search of a problem by Republican hanger-on George Athanasopoulos.
Much like the Recall Polis “creeper van” we took note of a couple weeks ago, this roadside scene inspires something other than credibility. Would you give your personal information to these very fine people? Also:
Sen. Brittany Pettersen’s district is miles east of here, and that doesn’t bode well for their validity rate.