Even More Republicans Just Making Stuff Up

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

As the old saying goes, it’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble–it’s what you know for sure that just isn’t so. Western Slope Republicans are proving it’s still as true as ever. Congressman Scott Tipton, to kick things off, heard a rumor! And on the basis of that rumor made some very stern demands of Gov. Jared Polis:

“I am writing to seek more information on how the state of Colorado will allocate the approximately $1.7 billion it will receive under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to county and local governments. Rumors [Pols emphasis] that you plan to use the entirety of the federal aid to balance the state’s budget, and neglect to distribute the funds to smaller county, tribal and municipal governments for which they are intended, are deeply troubling…

I am extremely concerned about information I have received that indicates your office plans to use all of Colorado’s CARES Act funds to balance the state’s budget, [Pols emphasis] rather than allocate a portion of the funds to county and local governments to help offset their revenue losses and unforeseen expenses related to the pandemic. This decision would be completely unacceptable, against Congressional intent for these funds, and I request an immediate response from you or your office on this matter.”

“Several state and federal elected officials are telling local ones things that may not be true.”
Grand Junction Sentinel, 4/18/20

The full text of the letter has since been deleted from Tipton’s website, and there’s a good reason. Any of you who know who Colorado’s budget-setting process works, or for that matter we believe this process works across the country, should have by now taken note of a very basic problem. As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

In his regular COVID-19 press briefing, Polis said he spoke to Tipton and reminded him that as a former member of the Colorado House, he should know that it’s the Colorado Legislature, and not the governor, who controls the state’s purse strings, [Pols emphasis] so it’s up to them to decide how that money is to be spent.

You see, governors do not pass the budget. Governors recommend a budget, but budgets are assembled and passed by the legislature–the state legislature in Colorado that Rep. Scott Tipton used to be a member of, and the federal legislature we call “Congress” that Tipton is a member of today. Some of the money is earmarked in the federal CARES Act to go to larger population centers, but that’s of course not the same thing–and the exact opposite of what Tipton and the “rumor” he was acting on believed. Apparently Tipton’s “rumor” was a mistaken email from Colorado Counties Inc., but Tipton as a federal official has an obligation to vet allegations before they become the subject of official correspondence. Especially when the allegation is so wrong it’s silly.

After all, Tipton voted for this bill.

From here, Ashby documents how the lie traveled around the Western Slope while the truth was still getting its proverbial pants on:

The CCI email spurred Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and state Rep. Janice Rich, R-Grand Junction, to repeat the false news on social media Friday.

“Shocker!,” Pugliese wrote on Twitter. “It appears the Polis Administration made the decision to use the state and local government CARES Act funding, almost $1.7 billion dollars, to balance the state’s budget.”

Rich later corrected her Facebook post after checking the matter with the U.S. Department of the Treasury… [Pols emphasis]

Seriously folks, doesn’t any Republican legislator west of the Divide understand how their own jobs work? Sen. Bob Rankin serves on the Joint Budget Committee and definitely knows better than this. Two seconds’ consultation with Rankin might have spared Tipton and Rep. Rich a lot of embarrassment. We assume he was not on the Zoom call.

The real problem, of course, is that this kind of misinformation always travels farther and faster than the subsequent correction. Social media misinformation in particular can exponentially outrun the mainstream media’s less captivating reality, like a self-selected virus. Despite the best efforts of the Grand Junction Sentinel, voters on the Western Slope will go into the election season convinced that Jared Polis swiped their cash to balance his big-city budget.

We can only hope not too many, and other voters who don’t like being lied “rumored” to outnumber them.

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7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Jared should do it to make the rumor come true.

    Vote for The Dumpster® and you die.

  2. MADCO says:

    The math says using whatever payment that comes to back fill the state budget is a solid idea.

    Hell- you have to get bipartisan support if it included a tax cut for anyone.

  3. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Our drink of choice at the next Pols Zoom gathering? Tip one for Nutter?  

    • harrydobyharrydoby says:

      Paul Krugman sums it up nicely:

      the modern right is driven in large part by the grievances of white men who don’t feel that they’re getting the respect they believe they deserve, and Fox-fueled hostility to “elites” who claim to know more than guys in diners — which, on technical subjects like epidemiology, they do — is a key part of the movement.

      Finally, there has historically been a strong association between right-wing extremism and grifting, including snake-oil and get-rich-quick schemes. Alex Jones may attract an audience by peddling conspiracy theories, but he makes money by selling nutritional supplements, which he is now claiming offer protection against the coronavirus.

      All of these factors making modern conservatism a happy hunting ground for fake experts have reached a kind of apotheosis under Donald Trump, a grifter president whose whole political strategy is based on catering to white male grievance, and who both disdains expertise and always values loyalty above competence. And one result is the wildly premature push to reopen the economy.

      The good news is that many governors will probably ignore this bad advice. But others won’t, and the result will probably be many additional, avoidable deaths. If that happens, understand it for what it is: death by quackery.

       

      • MADCO says:

        Black Death, aka, Plague, was like that. No one knew whatinhell was happening. Hard to blame them for being ignorant because no one knew.
         

        Well, no one knew during the first two. 

        Plague #1 , mostly 6th c. The deaths continued for centuries
        Plague #2 – the one we all learned about -peaked 13th – 14th c., killed ½ of Europe.
        Plague #3 – mid-late 19th c. (Officially declared ended in the 20th c.)

        1894 – the cause was found. The bacterium yersinium pestis, lives in a flea, flea bites rodents, rodents caused most human infection.  After 1894, people who could stop it but refused to do what was necessary to prevent the spread of the bacteria, flea or rodents were murderers. 

        (It’s still a thing – in Colorado the fleas live on prairie dogs and rabbits and other varmints.  It’s usually treatable, and generally only a problem for people who are immune compromised or those who avoid treatment.)

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        @harry: Krugman left out important stuff……..

        Respect cannot be assigned or given, nor is it something to be "deserved."

        Respect is something that must be earned.

        "association between right wing extremism and grifting………."

        There is an obscure film from 1967, staring the late and great actor, George C. Scott, called "the Flim-Flam Man." I recommend it.

         

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