FOX 31’s Joe St. George has been doing a good job this year with a series of “Truth Check” fact-checks (everybody’s got their brand) on political ads running in Colorado. St. George’s latest effort last night takes a critical look at an ad running against Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton criticizing his attendance record at the Capitol–and even as it finds a few points for which Stapleton deserves a little more context, it’s not a good look:
It is true that Stapleton was not present at the State Capitol earlier this year when PERA reform was passed. However, Capitol Sources tell the Truth Check that Stapleton’s presence would have likely hurt the bipartisan effort — making it more political — since his gubernatorial run was in progress…
The Truth Check has reviewed public minutes and documents provided by Good Jobs Colorado and we confirmed Stapleton missed 33 meetings. However – important context is needed. Stapleton attended 41 meetings total while in office and on nearly every occasion he missed sent a Deputy in his place. As the Truth Check showed in a previous report, that practice was not viewed as irregular by the Board.
These are explanations that make a degree of sense, but don’t position Stapleton as a leader on the hot-button issue of “reforming” the Public Employees Retirement Association. Whatever your opinion of that, these are simply not data points that reinforce Stapleton as a leader on PERA. And when it comes to Stapleton’s attendance record on the job as Treasurer, the above apologetics are as good as it gets:
On three occasions, Stapleton missed PERA meetings for speaking engagements however they were for organizations like the Rotary of Highlands Ranch, the Colorado Press Association, and Opportunity Coalition at Innovation – hardly events that personally benefited the Stapleton for Governor campaign.
On other occasions Stapleton went to golf outings — but they were to benefit prostate cancer research — not the Stapleton campaign.
It is true that on two occasions Stapleton missed PERA meetings to lunch with individuals who would eventually donate to his campaigns. The Truth Check believes Stapleton would have better served the state on those occasions by attending the PERA meeting, however to suggest he routinely did this is misleading.
While the reasons and the question of who benefits from these absences can be debated, the fact that they happened can’t be. “Charity” golf outings, Rotary Club speeches, and sending a deputy to almost half of the PERA board meetings is what it is. Missing PERA meetings to lunch with campaign donors is what it is. Having to go silent in the debate over the PERA reform legislation because he is a candidate for governor–it is what it is.
All told, this is a “correction” Democrats should be happy with! What it says between the lines is plenty good enough.