From Talking Points Memo:
Looks like it’s not just Republicans in Colorado who are having a rough time dragging their campaigns across the primary finish line.
Earlier, we reported how Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff sold his house to give his campaign a financial boost. Now, Denver school board member Andrea Merida has resigned from Romanoff’s campaign, after reports that she was being paid thousands of dollars in consulting fees without disclosing her role on the campaign…
At the time, Merida said it was “immaterial to disclose it” and the campaign said her role was not secret.
But in a blog post on her website yesterday, Merida changed her tune. “I neglected to tell the Denver Post that I hold such a position, though not intentionally,” Merida wrote. Merida stated that the campaign paid her $2,500 a month to be a “field organizer,” but that she would resign after the flap.
There’s no need to dwell on the embarrassment this represents for the campaign of Andrew Romanoff–it doesn’t look good, and it certainly does undermine Romanoff’s image of an honest, above-board candidate. But this is considerably worse for Merida personally. She has proven twice now that she is not fit for public office–first when she used obscure rules to force her predecessor on the Denver Public Schools board out of office prematurely (in a move where she was obviously manipulated to some degree by others), kicking off her term awash in bad blood for seemingly no reason, and now this.
Merida’s status as a paid member of Romanoff’s campaign puts a whole new perspective on charges that DPS has become a “proxy battlefield” for the Democratic Senate primary. We agree with those who say it’s a huge distraction from DPS’s mission, and inappropriate for a body that is fighting an uphill battle for public opinion as it is. Merida’s amusing resignation blog post also makes us wonder whether she even really knows why she was wrong:
The Post and others have wrongly and unfairly distorted the facts. I endorsed Andrew Romanoff in November 2009, right after I won my own race. I was a volunteer from that time until May 2010, at which time I took the role of a consultant for field organizing. I also translated and edited materials in Spanish. I earned $2,500 per month for these tasks.
Further, voters should know that at no time and in no way did the campaign attempt to influence my actions in fulfilling my obligations to the parents, students, teachers and retirees of DPS. To suggest that my work on the Denver Board of Education is for sale is to impugn not only my character, but Andrew Romanoff’s as well.
Merida seems to think it is an important point that she endorsed Romanoff before she was hired by his campaign, which, of course, is completely irrelevant. And her defiant “to suggest that my work on the Denver Board of Education is for sale” statement misses the point that it was her own nondisclosure that brought up the question in the first place.
The fact that she was a paid staffer for the campaign trying to bring down the former head of Denver Public Schools, and did not disclose this, all the while politicizing the DPS board’s policymaking in ways that directly sought to benefit the campaign she was employed by, provokes grave questions about Andrea Merida’s fitness to serve in any capacity. The fact that Merida barely seems to understand why it was wrong in the first place only makes those questions grow louder.