(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Local broadcast news faces a challenge when covering politics–how to distill complex topics into brief segments that rarely run longer than four minutes?
Last week 9News’ Marshall Zelinger sat down with Congressman Ken Buck, the newly elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. The wide-ranging interview only lasted 3 minutes 30 seconds on air, which is why 9News’ decision to post the entire raw footage of the interview is so important.
Inquiring minds need only visit the Next on 9News Youtube channel to find the full 17-minute interview, “Head of Colorado GOP Ken Buck on recalls, oil and gas, Nazi question.”
At 9:45 Zelinger asks Buck if it’s appropriate for elected officials and their families to profit from recalls they’re promoting publicly.
Zelinger: House Minority Leader Patrick Neville has come out supporting recalls. His family could benefit from recalls because that’s their business. Should it be appropriate for elected officials and their families to profit off of recalls and elections? By being hired for election purposes–this is an added election outside of a cycle–perhaps this is being done in a way that benefits the family business?
Buck initially says he doesn’t understand, but then gives a response that indicates he does understand, but that he doesn’t want to get involved.
Buck: So, Patrick’s brother is a consultant in the business and certainly there were some resources from the House fund that were used in the last cycle and his brother ran some of that political operation. I think that is something that Patrick and the elected Republicans in the state House will have to decide. It’s not something the state party will intervene in in any way. Ken Buck, Next on 9News, 4/5/19
Zelinger’s question about the Neville’s family financial stake in the House GOP political machinery was just the latest reporting on the issue, the most prominent of which was Marianne Goodland’s pair of feature-length articles for Colorado Politics, particularly the second one titled “A hard look at 2018’s GOP ‘soft money’.” Goodland reported that other Republicans expressed concerns with the Nevilles’ performance and tactics:
One Republican insider told Colorado Politics he didn’t mind if Joe Neville and his companies make money off their political activities. But, he said, the lack of results in terms of election wins for the GOP is another matter… Another concern among Republicans who talked with Colorado Politics: what appears to be a large amount of unspent money left over after the election.
By early March, it was clear where at least some of that unspent money was headed- paying for recalls. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville launched a website to support recalling his own colleagues in the legislature. At least one corporate donor, Xcel Energy, expressed surprise that some of its 2018 contribution to the GOP House caucus fund was now being used for recalls.
More recently, 9News’ Kyle Clark noted that both former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and also the conservative Independence Institute are both generating revenue from another proposed Colorado recall, the moonshot that is the attempt to remove Governor Jared Polis. State law dictates that petition gathering for a gubernatorial recall can’t begin until at least six months into the governor’s term, but there are no restrictions on when political operatives can start gathering checks from naive donors.
It’s Adam Smith’s invisible fist at work. The joy of the free market. Or a fool and his money soon go separate ways.
Polis has nada to worry about. I just watched a Facebook video* of my local county chapter of the Official Recall Colorado Governor Polis (ORCJP) group. They spent half of the meeting explaining why there are two different recall Polis groups, and trying to reassure folks that there would be only one petition in the end.
There won't be only one petition in the end. The ORCJP (we had a troll posting on here from that group for awhile) is grassroots, right wing fringe people mostly mad about the red flag bill, with overlapping concerns about SB181 and the National Popular Vote. They have $30 in their issue committee account.
Oh, and now they're mad about the automatic voter registration bill under consideration in the Senate, too. They're masterminded (if you can call it that) by Shane Donnelly, who forwarded Nazi posts and has no political experience. They are funded by a gofundme page administered by one of the Nazi sympathizers, Juli-Andra Fuentes. To date, the fund has $5,788. That's the group my local chapter (ORCJP claims to have 63 county chapters) is promoting.
ORCJP is loosely allied with the ResistPolis PAC, which is run by Thomas Good and has about $13,000 in their account as of April 5. The Resist Polis PAC's main issue is opposition to the National Popular Vote law signed by Polis, which would send Colorado's 9 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Apparently, they do know that their candidates suck and are unlikely to win the national popular vote.
So ORCJP is rich with volunteers and local outrage, not so much in money. Resist Polis is more interested in repealing the NPV bill, and only secondarily in recalling Polis.
Then there are the Nevilles and their Recall Colorado.org group. They apparently do have money, but few volunteers. The Neville's Rearden Strategic "Values First Colorado" committee had $1.2 million left over from when they tried to recall John Hickenlooper, and has been reactivated to recall Polis. Marianne Godland of the Gazette wrote that VFC spent it; but it looks to me like they only spent $425,000 of it. But Pa and the Neville Boyz are not going to want to share any of those funds with these ragtag community activists. That's not how they roll.
As I see it, none of these groups is going to share turf, or more importantly, money with any other group. So I don't think Jared has a thing to worry about.
*(I'm not going to post it here – if you want to see it, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)