Colorado GOP Begs Lawmakers To Keep “Party Poll Tax”

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Conrad Swanson reports, Republican Rep. Dave Williams–best known for his anti-immigration antics in the Colorado House among other distasteful misadventures–has introduced a piece of legislation that we think everyone should be able to support:

A Colorado Republican legislator is gathering support from Democrats on a bill one GOP leader calls “sinister” and others say has the potential to bankrupt the party.

That Republican, state Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, defended his House Bill 1046 Tuesday in the House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs, of which he is a member, saying it would prohibit political parties from from preventing delegates or alternates from voting in caucuses or party assemblies unless they cough up what are commonly known as ‘badge fees.’

…For years, Colorado Republicans have arrived to county, state and other district assemblies with their checkbooks in hand because the GOP charges fees – ranging from a few bucks to $70 per assembly – to serve as delegates and alternates.

Rep. Williams is reportedly co-sponsoring House Bill 19-1046 with Democratic Rep. Susan Lontine, and the bill passed out of the House State Affairs Committee yesterday on a unanimous 9-0 vote:

Swanson reports that opposition to the legislation came entirely from Republican Party officials from the state and county organizations, who warned that the loss of these fees could bankrupt county parties in particular. It’s possible that some of Williams’ motivation for introducing this legislation traces back to ongoing tensions within the El Paso County Republican hierarchy, but you just can’t argue with the idea that participation in the caucus and assembly process, an important part of our representative small-d democracy, should not carry a fee. Williams’ description of this as a “pay to play” scheme is objectively pretty close to the mark–with no analogue on the Democratic side, where we’re pretty sure attempting to charge such a fee would prompt a revolt on general principles.

And if ending the practice is really going to bankrupt the local GOP, maybe it should.

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  1. DavieDavie says:

    The Republican party has been morally, ethically and intellectually bankrupt for years.  One more bankruptcy just allows them to stay close with their leader, *rump.

  2. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    Good bill, but goddamn does that guy make my fucking skin crawl.

    • unnamed says:

      I know.   I'm just Gobsmacked that he's doing something good for a change.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        "Gobsmacked." That's because you boys always expect the worst from Republicans.

        I like this bill. If my precinct caucus selects me to be a volunteer attendee at the county assembly, why should I have to pay a fee in order to serve as a delegate.

        • unnamed says:

           ALL Republicans? No.  Dave Williams, though?  Yes.

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            David Williams $30K / year legislator gig is only his second real job, so perhaps Mr. Williams doesn't have the wherewithal for the fee.  He previously  worked  as EPCO GOP vice chair, and in his father in law's plastic exports company, MKW Global Sourcing. Wonder how daddy-in-law's company is doing with the Trump trade tariffs in place?

            But yeah, pay to play in the political arena is a bad idea.  If this bill is signed into law, it will also be the only one of Williams' crazypants notions to ever make it that far.

             

            • unnamed says:

               If this bill is signed into law, it will also be the only one of Williams' crazypants notions to ever make it that far.

              Which would be fine by me, because it will be the only one of Williams' crazypants notions that I agree with. Also, the only crazypants notion that isn't really crazypants.

  3. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    I think the badge fee is an excellent idea. 
    Keeps the riff-raff on the outside where they belong.

    Our politics are pay-to-play and we should not deviate from that standard.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    The Colorado GOP meets the invisible fist of the market?

    Apparently the GOPers are running low on Kochs to milk, and really need to be able to shake down their own delegates . . . 

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