As the redistricting process in Colorado lumbers along toward a theoretical conclusion early next month, we’ve been following in this space the story of some well-known Republican operatives who can’t seem to figure out how to lobby staff and members of Colorado’s two independent redistricting commissions without breaking the law.
Former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former State Sen. Greg Brophy, and longtime Republican consultant Alan Philp have made a number of very obvious mistakes in their ham-handed efforts to tilt the drawing of new legislative and congressional maps toward GOP interests. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette, there is apparently enough concern with their activities to justify an investigation from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:
An investigation into whether a secretly funded nonprofit organization has been illegally lobbying the state’s redistricting commissioners will move forward, after the secretary of state reviewed a complaint filed against the group and found enough evidence to warrant a full probe. [Pols emphasis]
The decision to further investigate Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, the 501c4 nonprofit organization run by longtime Republican operatives at the center of the complaint, could have broad implications for the transparency now required around the redistricting process, and comes after several efforts to influence the redistricting commissions without full transparency have emerged…
…The complaint, filed in August by former Democratic lawmaker Stanley Matsunaka, accuses two Colorado Neighborhood Coalition employees — former House Speaker Frank McNulty and former state lawmaker Greg Brophy — of lobbying the commissioners without registering their activity or their clients. Matsunaka also accused a third Colorado Neighborhood Coalition employee, former Colorado Republican Party executive director and now political consultant Alan Philp, of failing to file proper disclosures of his lobbying activity, even though he is registered as the group’s lobbyist.
Philp responded to questions from Wyloge by predictably calling the investigation a “partisan” attack before offering this amusing excuse:
Philp added that he believes he was told in an email by the Secretary of State’s Office, after the complaint was filed, that his disclosures were sufficient.
You have an email from the Secretary of State’s office, eh? Is there a reason you didn’t bother to save a copy of this email? This might have been a good thing to keep in your files if such a thing actually existed.
In related news, The Colorado Times Recorder posted the full video of a redistricting lobbyist training conducted in July by Republican State Rep. Matt Soper. This is the training in which Soper prefaces his comments to people involved in the training by saying, “I never want you to mention that you heard this coming from me.”
The net effect of all these shenanigans from Republicans is to shine a light back on their own partisan interference in the redistricting process, which is something that makes redistricting commissioners and staff very nervous…and absolutely isn’t going to help them in trying to get new maps drawn in their favor.