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June 04, 2010 05:03 AM UTC

Right Back At You, Gubernatorial Candidate Josh Penry Edition

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Folks, how could we forget Ryan Frazier? Truthfully, it’s not that difficult to forget Frazier, but he’s rightly pointed out by readers as another reason Norton’s campaign should have thought twice about saddling up their high horse.

The campaign of GOP Senate candidate Jane Norton leapt into the brouhaha today over Andrew Romanoff and job-related conversations he had with the White House last year before and after his entry into the Senate race–KXRM-TV Colorado Springs reports:

Colorado Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Jane Norton, on Thursday called on appointed Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet to answer questions about his knowledge of the alleged White House bribe of a job for his Democratic opponent, candidate Andrew Romanoff.

“With all of the problems our nation is facing, the Obama Administration chose to focus on business-as-usual political games,” said Norton. “Washington is broken. The back room deals and ‘Chicago-style’ politics have to stop. We must take our country back. Enough is enough.”

Thus Norton asks, “What did Michael Bennet know and when did he know it?”

So, we get why Jane Norton’s campaign would instinctively want to jump on this, the biggest political news story of the past few weeks and directly involving her Democratic opponents. But getting all indignant about “insider pressure” is an amazingly stupid road for Norton to start down, and that’s before we start talking about “Rule 11” and Ken Buck’s brief withdrawal from the GOP Senate race last year–though, well, obviously.

No, it gets better: three weeks ago as the legislative session ended, and well before the present story started to take hold, we noted widespread rumors at the Capitol that ex-gubernatorial candidate, now Norton’s campaign manager Josh Penry had been guaranteed appointment as Scott McInnis’ chief of staff, should McInnis win the election. If you heard this when it went around (and lots of people did), you already know that it was being pretty overtly represented as a bone thrown to Penry for pulling out of his race against McInnis last fall.

Now, considering what happened to (and is rumored to be promised to) Penry, and after that odd incident last fall involving the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Buck pulling out of the race–is this business about Romanoff and the job he never was quite offered, and was looking for long before politics become a factor…really something you would harp on? At the very least, since the Romanoff stuff doesn’t seem to rise above the level of an embarrassment, either one of these incidents on the GOP side offsets the faux outrage nicely.

It would have been much smarter for Norton’s campaign to keep quiet about this and let the story exact its toll, which it would likely have done without their gratuitously piling on. Now that they have, they’re part of the story–and the same questions apply.


57 thoughts on “Right Back At You, Gubernatorial Candidate Josh Penry Edition

    1. What is it about Colorado Republican state-wide candidates that they are constantly trying to torpedo their own campaign? Not that I’m complaining but it is so bizarre.

      Jane Norton, on behalf of Senator Bennet, Speaker Romanoff, and President Obama – thank you.

  1. Ryan Frazier — unlike Buck — actually did pull out when Norton’s heavies came a-callin’.

    What was he promised? Has the party delivered? Which powerful U.S. senators leaned on the candidate?

    Did Norton know about the talks with Frazier to help clear a path for her — and did she approve, or did she raise any objections to the Chicago-style politics?  

  2. That is quite a stretch. National Republicans would never offer Buck a job, after all he bashes them every chance he gets. They pretty much hate each other’s guts. Buck was going to pull out because he didn’t think he stood a chance against Norton, but then enough grassroots people begged him to stay in that he did. It’s obvious you don’t understand what is going on in the Republican camp, but even then this is a low blow.  

    1. The point here is that, were we advising Norton, we would suggest not opening any of those cans of worms. You don’t want reporters going back and saying’ “Hey, why DID Buck pull out of the race and then get back in?”  

      1. whether he got his guarantee of a job in the McInnis administration in writing or not.

        Here’s what Norton said today, according to her campaign:

        “Was Michael Bennet  aware that the White House was trying to bribe Andrew Romanoff out of the race?  Did Michael Bennet talk to White House operatives about the Romanoff bribe?  Did Michael Bennet pressure the White House to offer Romanoff a position?  Coloradans deserve answers,” continued Norton.

        Here’s what she might have asked if she had an ounce of integrity:

        “Was Scott McInnis aware that Scott McInnis was trying to bribe Josh Penry out of the race?  Did Scott McInnis talk to his own operatives about the Penry bribe?  Did Scott McInnis pressure himself to offer Penry a position?  Coloradans deserve answers,” continued Norton.

    2. Norton’s patrons, like Bennet’s partons, are both pond scumb.

      There are two differences.

      Bennet’s patrons offered federal employment to get someone out of the way, which under the circumstances may be illegal.

      Norton’s patrons threatened and offered bribes to both Frazier and Buck and Frazier took them up on it.

      Before this broke I wrote that Romanoff was offered employment and guess what, we now know he was.

      Here is another news flash. Before McJain announced, but after her selection by DC insiders, Buck and Frazier were both approached by patrons of McJain and offered the following:

      1. We are going to run Norton for Senate and we want her to win and we really don’t want a primary.  I want you to know that we have Charlie Black raising money and he will put several million dollars into McJain’s campaign, we have almost the entire Republican Senate who will endorse her and give her money. We will make sure that you get no PAC money and if you stay in we will squish you.

      2 If you get out and run for Congress against a vulnerable Democrat we will help you raise money.

      Frazier took the deal.  Buck did not.

      The Bennet and his handler’s deal may be illegal.  The Norton and her handler’s deal may not be illegal.

      Both serve to deprive the citizens of Colorado of the right to effectively choose their own candidate for Senate.

      That Norton would raise the Romanoff issue given her camp’s attempt to clear the field on the Republican side is further evidence that she does not have the required intelligence, let alone ethics, to serve.

      1. Clearing the field of weak candidates reduces the cost of the primary, in cash and in unity, and helps the party win the general election. Winning the general election benefits all members, including failed candidates like Penry and Frazier.

        Almost all primary voters are happy to have fewer choices if it helps the party win the general election. The rest can get involved early in the process, like we do.

        Finally, “every one does it” because it is rational behavior that normally benefits the whole party.

        1. The way candidates are supposed to be cleared is through a primary.  What makes a candidate weak, not being the sister in law to a DC lobbyist?  If everyone cleared out before the primary do you want to find out that Jane can’t answer the simplist question on her own with out help from Josh and Cinimin?

          I think we are better off knowing Norton is a moron before that is demonstrated by Bennet/Romanoff.

          1. Dick Wadhams has made a career out of clearing out candidates for primaries in races where it would give the Republicans an advantage.

            Republicans are no more fans of primaries than their Democratic counterparts.

      2. Yeah, except that they don’t. Last I saw, both Buck and Romanoff got top line on the primary ballot.

        We have some idea what happened in the Romanoff case. How did it work out with Buck? Was he offered the deal you describe, but then over the weekend talked to his handlers and benefactors at Hensel Phelps, who said “don’t worry about that, Ken, we’ll pour so much money into this campaign they won’t know what hit ’em”? In case you’re not up on federal election law, that would be illegal.

          1. between the candidate and the independent expenditures. It’s corrupt as hell and Buck should withdraw from the race to avoid having to appear before a grand jury.

            1. If it stopped at “don’t worry about that, Ken, we’ll pour so much money into this campaign they won’t know what hit ’em”? ”  there would be no crime.  

              If we want to change what you postulated it is still no crime.  The crime is in the coordination.  

              If someone said what you postulated and then they went out and spent a billion dollars no crime.  

              If they took the candidate shopping with them, that would be a different story but that is not what you said.

              1. The question is when this coordination crossed the line into illegality. When Buck’s campaign announced the independent expenditure before anyone else knew about it? When Buck’s big-buck backers told him he could save his money before the caucuses because they’d flood the airwaves to boost his name ID and conservative cred? When the same deep pockets opened up to hand Buck $100,000 in a questionable second mortgage on a rental property so he could make payroll last month? It’s sad a district attorney is racking up so many crimes so quickly. You’d expect him to be less blatant about breaking the law.

                1. It is very strange that independent expenditure committees would spend so much money on a candidate who has shown no ability to raise money on his own. Candidates who can’t raise money are written off by independent committees.

                  Right now, it is already impossible for Mr. Buck to raise the kind of money that one expects a U.S. Senate candidate to raise through general election day. The only way he will be able to get his message across is if the independnet committees continue to pour money into his side of the primary and general election campaigns which is a formula I’ve never heard of before and to me looks suspicious.

                  1. They may think he will win the primary and the general election too.  

                    Who lost the caucus, didn’t think she could get to 30% at the assembly so skipped it and is dropping in the polls like a lead ballon?

                    For all you know Buck has as much in his campaign’s checking account as Norton.  He took in 50K in 2 days last week according to DeMint.

                    1. Make up some trumped up ethics charge and sue the pants off your opponent. Of course you lose, but your opponent is harmed in their election. Unless, that is, the complaint is so far out that it just makes you look bad.

                    2. A successful Colorado senate candidate should raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 to $6 million.  There isn’t enough time between now and the general election for Mr. Buck to raise that kind of money on his own. $50,000.00 in two days is meaningless unless he is doing that everyday of the week and I’m betting he isn’t. That’s why I believe he is going to have difficulty because he doesn’t control his destiny. He has to rely on the third party committees because he can’t raise any money on his own. Winning the caucuses and at the state assembly doesn’t require huge sums of money but winning the primary and the general election will.  

                    3. but a lot more can be done online and with grassroots volunteers in this election. As long as he can get a few good TV ads up to get his message out he’ll be fine.

                    4. Without millions of dollars for TV a candidate in a major statewide race can’t win and at the moment Mr. Buck isn’t raising anywhere near enough money to pay for a viable TV campaign. The internet and volunteers ares not a substitutes for a strong TV ad campaign. There is nothing to indicate this year is different than nay other year.

              2. First you said it was against the law if someone said they would poor money into his campaign.  As you know that would not be against the law.

                Now that was pointed out as not true, instead of saying you are wrong you just make up more stuff.

                You are accusing Buck of committing a crime based on what?

                He coordinated what? with whom? when? and the basis of your knowledge is?

                You have about as much credibility as Josh Penry.

                1. The question is, when will a prosecutor step up and determine whether crimes have been committed by the Buck campaign and his financial masters? Since Buck himself is a prosecutor, does this require naming a special prosecutor with unlimited powers to determine the extent of the crimes?  Colorado isn’t used to these Chicago-style politics, so I can see why it’s hard for you to admit what’s going on. But Colorado deserves answers.

                    1. Seems like you have some “insider” information. Could it be that you are a Norton campaign staffer?  Me thinks so.

                      Since you are on the inside with Penry and Norton how about giving us the skinny on Penry being offered a job if he dropped out of the Governor’s race.  Or how about letting us in on Frazier, who was unable to raise any money as a Senate candidate all of a sudden is receiving money from Norton contributors???? You might check the FEC contributors and the dates.  You and the rest of Norton’s staff will have “real” issues very soon.  Regarding your $100,000 to make payroll for Buck. Where exactly did you get that information. YOu should never leak your campaign’s planned attacks. Especially since they are so ridiculous.

                      I see you opine on Buck passing up jumping into the 4th District. Were you the one who actually delivered that offer RedGreen?  You seem suspiciously quick to offer information on Buck, yet you are not affiliated with him.  I think the evidence is clear what your motives are.

                      As everyone knows (Because of a Norton Staffer “outing” me) that I am an ardent supporter of Ken Buck.  My opinion does not change due to accusations floated by Norton staffers and supporters. You need to stick to Norton facts of which you are obviously privvy to. Tell us about Penry,McGinnis, Frazier, and Wadhams. Not that I care he just married one of Norton’s key staff members.    

                    2. “I know you are, but what am I” are something other than the excruciatingly stupid refrain that it is, said by someone whose every word is just as excruciatingly stupid, and yet is boastfully proud of the intellect which he so clearly lacks. This guy makes Libertad look both smart and charming in comparison.

                  1. You mean the stuff going on with Obama and Romanoff? Because I’m pretty sure Buck has never lived in Illinois, much less Chicago.

                    The real question is, when will a prosecutor step up and determine whether crimes have been committed by “RedGreen”? What did he know and when did he know it? I demand an investigation!

                    See how easy it is?

      3. If the national party would support Buck against a vulnerable Dem, what would happen to Gardner?  Buck lives in Weld and Gardner is already running against Markey.  

      4. I hadn’t heard that Buck was offered anything, but it would make sense that they offered to help in another race to get him out of the Senate race. A direct job offer, no.

  3. She is desperately trying to make herself into the outsider who is going to overturn the establishment while simultaneously attending Washington, D.C. fundraisers hosted by the most powerful D.C. elected politicians and partisan insiders.

    She remains another hollow politician who is trying to fool the rest of us with false perceptions. I’m usually not this harsh but behind that pretty face is the back of a head.  

  4. The rules are based on who is buying, not who is selling.

    McInnis and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) are not government entities and are free to buy Penry and Buck. Unless we can show that a federal employee initiated the purchase, no federal law was broken.

    The political calculus is obvious; no federal employee would waste his time much less risk his job or his freedom.

    The party, and all of its members, benefit if their candidate wins the general election. It is not unethical to make deals (within the party) that lead to victory.

    1. using taxpayer-funded jobs to get political results. If Penry was promised a state job to drop out of a state race, he’s got some explaining to do.

      1. It isn’t illegal to tell someone that they’ll be offered a job with the candidate if he or she wins if they would work for the campaign instead of against it.  Because the candidate is just that, a candidate, then no laws were broken.  

        If a sitting President offers a job to someone so that they can get out of a race, that’s illegal.  

        We don’t know if Penry was offered a job to sit it out.  I’ve never heard him say to anyone that he was going to be the Chief of Staff for McInnis if he wins.  Of course, I’m not in that circle so of course I haven’t heard it.  If it is true, then it might be unethical, but certainly not illegal.  From what I know of Penry, he likes to say a lot of things.  Whether he means it is a different story.  

        Would Penry have some explaining to do?  Probably.  Is he going to do it?  No.  

              1. Let’s assume that you win an argument with a blithering idiot.

                You’ve just proved that you’re smarter than a blithering idiot.

                But you already knew that without the effort.

                Don’t feed the trolls.

          1. Party affliation has nothing to do with it.  

            If there are 2 candidates, A and B, and A tells B that A will hire B if he drops out.  B drops out.  Nothing illegal.  

            But, If there is a sitting President offering a job to B if B drops out and supports A, then that is illegal.  

            If Bennet and Romanoff were running against an incumbent and Bennet offered Romanoff to drop out and if he wins, Andy would get a job with his staff, then there is nothing illegal there.  

            I don’t care what party they belong to.  If it was Bush that offered Penry a job in his Administration to drop out of the race so Scooter can win, then that’s illegal and I would rail against Bush for that.  

            A sitting President offered, or allegedly offered, someone to drop out of a race with the promise of a job.  In our case, the President happens to be a Democrat.  Whether he or she is a Democrat or a Republican makes no difference to me.  I’m only concerned about their conduct.  In this case, I think the conduct stinks and smells of illegality.  

  5. How did you let this happen? You could have been the next Governor. We were all ready to fight for you. Now you shill for the same insiders who pushed you out of the race!

    It’s so sad. I’m glad Penry is young, he has time to see the error of his ways and come back in the future to triumph. Maybe he needs to learn this lesson now, before he’s the candidate. I sincerely hope he does.

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