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September 26, 2018 10:29 AM UTC

Victim, Not Perp: Local Media Swiftly Debunks Smear On Polis

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Local conservative commentator Ari Armstrong calls out Republicans:


Conservative “reporter” Todd Shepherd.

Yesterday, longtime local conservative political operative Todd Shepherd published a story in the right-wing Washington Free Beacon about an incident involving Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis from 20 years ago.

But by the end of the day, it was clear that Shepherd’s version of events wasn’t anything close what really happened. After Republican mouthpieces from the state Republican Party to the Republican Governor’s Association, and in turn Walker Stapleton’s campaign, began echoing this story with maximum hyperbole–including knee-jerk calls for Polis to withdraw from the governor’s race–local media took a look at the claims, and found a very different reality.

As Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports, Polis was the victim.

A two-decades-old police report details an altercation between Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis and his former personal assistant, as he attempted to prevent her from leaving his office with stolen documents.

In the police narrative, Polis said he pushed Patricia Hughes, at the same time that she was hitting him with a bag. The police report from June 23, 1999, was first written about in the conservative outlet The Washington Free Beacon. Polis is listed as the victim on the report. Hughes was charged and pled guilty to stealing trade secrets after police found company contracts in her bags. [Pols emphasis]


After a report from the conservative Washington Free Beacon about the incident was published Tuesday afternoon, several GOP groups emailed the 9NEWS newsroom about the story, including Better Colorado Now and the Colorado GOP. The story also gained considerable traction in some conservative circles on Twitter…

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said she was charged and eventually pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets. The police report said bruises on the secretary’s arms didn’t match what either she or Polis told officers that day.

Westword’s Michael Roberts:

[T]he report…as well as other documents in the public record reveal that the only person charged with a crime in the incident was the female employee, the late Patricia Hughes, whom Polis held for Boulder Police Department officers (he had called them) because she’d stolen documents either before or after she resigned in response to accusations that she’d used his credit card for her own financial benefit. She later pleaded guilty to theft, and the judge in her case mandated that she undergo mental-health treatment.

“According to the court records,” says Catherine Olguin, spokeswoman for the Boulder County District Attorney’s office, which declined to prosecute Polis in connection with the incident, “he was the victim. She was ordered to stay away from him, among other conditions of her sentence.” [Pols emphasis]

Roberts goes into detail about the factual omissions and distortions to the original police report necessary to reach the conclusion of the deceptive story from Todd Shepherd. But none of that mattered to Republicans pushing this story with a zeal that betrayed an underlying desperation to land some kind of punch on Polis. By the end of the day yesterday, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark had seen enough:

Given the aggressive contempt for media fact-checking that Walker Stapleton’s campaign has demonstrated so far this year, it’s a good bet that seeing this deceptive smear universally panned by local reporters won’t even slow down the attack ads and mail pieces. The clock was ticking on production of those items for delivery as ballots drop, which may have played into the decision to release this through the Free Beacon. The goal, as always, is simply to reach more voters with the false claim than the debunking reaches.

We don’t know all of the steps along the way that led to this story being published by a usual suspect conservative operative in a right-wing publication, but it’s highly likely that local Republicans “shopped” this story to local news reporters before resorting to breaking it through a less-credible outlet. The swiftness with which local media debunked this story after it was published in the Free Beacon means they may well have already found that the story wasn’t true, or at least not at all as represented by Republicans pushing it.

Much like Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik’s complaint against Sen. Daniel Kagan to deflect from the sexual harassment crisis in the Colorado legislature, and its release to deflect from Republican lawmakers cracking dismissive jokes about Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault, this attempted smear shows that to Republicans, all of these events are nothing more than game pieces. There is no moral comprehension, let alone equivalence–just empty words to string together for the purpose of deflection and denial.

And lurking under it all, hypocrisy so audacious it’s stunning to behold.


39 thoughts on “Victim, Not Perp: Local Media Swiftly Debunks Smear On Polis

  1. Poor Moddy.  Spammed 4 threads with this misinformation that the local media had to correct and update based on talking points from his fascist Echo chamber and it didn't take long for their story to fall apart like a house of cards betraying the desperation Stumblebum must feel.  Will he push on?  Or does he have enough shame to honor an earlier post of his:

    Moderatus says:

    September 24, 2018 at 1:24 PM MDT


    Bye Nutter!  I'd say we hardly knew ye.  But I feel like we know ye too well.

      1. Thanks, Davie. It wasn't the first time my comments have mysteriously been echoed in  local media, and it probably won't be the last. I don't mind.

        The strategy on the RWNJ Media Stormfront had been to build up a tsunami of misleading reporting on the incident to a) distract from Kavanaugh's sex scandals and muddy the waters with some "What About…..?" -ism.  Probably, nobody thought there was the slightest chance that Jared Polis would suspend his campaign.

        You can see Moddy still trying to stir up that tsunami as the story quietly circles the drain. Final bathtime metaphor:  I'm glad I popped his bubble.

  2. When Kyle Clark is calling bullshit on a Republican talking point you know it is total crap.  I hate the little Republican bootlicker but even he knows when a Republican lie won't sell.

  3. Unbelievable. I should have expected this, but I'm still floored by Colorado Pols's hypocrisy. If a Republican had manhandled a woman this way for any reason, even if he was being physically attacked, Colorado Pols would be calling for that Republican's head. I don't care about these stupid excuses. He pushed a woman around, he left marks on her. There is never a good reason for that.

    I'm going to send this blog to every woman I know. They deserve to know how liberals really feel about violence against women. It's only okay if you're a gay Democrat!!!

    Disgusting. Democrats are disgusting.

    1. Aw, poor little Nutter.  Sorry the local media and, well, everybody outside your echo chamber thought this was bullshit.  But comparing an employee dispute of this nature to sexual assault shows how little you care about sexual assault victims. 

      So, these women that you claim to know, if you tell them what you say you will tell them, maybe you should also tell them about this:

      Moderatus says:

      September 19, 2018 at 4:30 PM MDT

      We all know what her motive is. She is a Democrat activist and this is a chance to hurt Republicans. Nothing else matters, otherwise this would have been dealt with years ago.

      Glass houses, Nutter.  Glass houses.

    2. Maybe your women "friends" would also like to see this comment by you regarding the now 3 women accusing Kavanaugh to see how much contempt you have for women and sexual assault victims:

      Moderatus says:

      September 24, 2018 at 1:26 PM MDT

      Don't you get it? It's a dog pile! They'll be lining up now, and it's all a lie for publicity. The only people who believe this never wanted to give Brett Kavanaugh a chance anyway.

      Just in case you actually do want your hypothetical friends to see this blog.


      1. As I and others have said on many occasions, Nutter is one of the best recruiters on this site for our cause.  Self-identified Republicans are down to just 25% of the voting population. 

        Besides, Alva will be thrilled at the added readers!

    3. I'm going to send this blog to every woman I know.

      So one recipient, namely your momma? That's convenient. All ya need do is print it out and walk it upstairs to the ground floor.

    4. "He pushed a woman around, he left marks on her. There is never a good reason for that."

      What a strange world you live in, Moderatus. Lots of criticism for Polis' "violence against women." Yes, there are a number of good reasons to "leave marks" on a woman — if she is committing a crime being one.

      And as far as I can recall, not a single criticism of ANY right-winger politician, including those at the Colorado Legislature who "more likely than not" slapped several women. No criticism of the Montana congressman who broke a (male) reporter's glasses and threw him to the ground — sufficient violence to get a charge and guilty plea. No comment about the recent story of a state legislator who withdrew from the race after being accused by his daughter of molestation. No comment yet about the claims that a Republican judge who, in high school and college, did (or stood by while friends did) a heck of a lot more than leave bruises.

  4. When Ari Armstrong talks, I generally listen.

    As a still-registered Republican, I'm thinking my party needs a major timeout in the woodshed, and out of power, for some soul searching.

    There is far too much Moderatus, Todd Shepherd, Katie Kennedy, Dudley Brown, and the Neville family in the party today. The party needs more of John McCain, Kevin Priola, Larry Crowder, and even a healthy dose of G. W. Bush. 

          1. He was considered a flaming liberal by 1964 standards. And then Gerald Ford had to dump him as VEEP because he was considered too left wing.

            Today Nelson Rockefeller would be a mainstream Democrat.

      1. I think he is telling us to regard lies as a political event and game out how to inflict maximum political damage on the person lying and lay out an alternative policy vision.  Lying about the dangers of fertilizer from corporate farms flowing into rivers can be met by photos of the red tide along the coast of Florida and it's destructive impact on the environment and their economies.  I don't think you have to go toe to toe with a lie as much point out facts the are obvious to most people like Climate Change can super charge an ordinary meteorology event.  Truth has a way of exposing lies.  We just want to highlight the truth whenever we can.  Leave the propaganda to Moldy.

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