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March 01, 2012 04:44 PM UTC

Thou Doth Protest Too Much, Jessica Peck

  • by: Colorado Pols

Briefly lighting on the Broomfield Enterprise’s story yesterday, sure to be aggressively promoted by local conservatives today:

In a press release issued Wednesday, grass-roots conservative advocacy organization Compass Colorado slammed state Democrats for naming former state Rep. Anne McGihon as a co-host for a Primavera fundraiser on March 11. As a registered lobbyist in Colorado, McGihon is legally bound from contributing to or soliciting contributions on behalf of a legislative candidate’s campaign while the legislature is in session, Compass Colorado stated in its release, citing Colorado Revised Statute 1-45-105.5(1)(a). The Colorado General Assembly is in session until May 9.

“It is reprehensible that the State Democratic Caucus would go through with this,” Compass Colorado President and former National Republican Congressional Committee Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said Wednesday. “They need to cancel this fundraiser right off the bat, and we’ll see what kind of legal consequences there are.”

We’ll start by agreeing that former Rep. Anne McGihon, a registered lobbyist, may have indeed screwed up by putting up her name as a host of this fundraiser, which could be a violation of Colorado campaign finance law. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time that ex-Rep. McGihon has stepped in it politically–arguably a big reason why she was not elected Speaker of the House in 2008, lost her committee chair soon after, and resigned her seat in 2009.

Safe to say, smart Democrats aren’t going to waste much time defending her.

So McGihon may have carelessly given Republican attack groups a pretext. It’s not really reasonable to ask that en entire fundraiser be canceled just because one host had to remove their name, but they’re naturally going to complain. So would Democrats in the inverse.

The problem is, from here it gets a little weird and hypocritical as Republicans, sensing an opportunity, swarm and attack–the Broomfield Enterprise continues:

Jessica Peck, executive director of nonpartisan, nonprofit political ethics watchdog organization the Open Government Institute of Colorado, said McGihon’s decision to withdraw her name is too little, too late.

“She put her name out there soliciting for candidate contributions,” Peck said Wednesday. “Even if she has taken her name off (the fundraiser invitation), it was still used to promote an event in violation of campaign finance rules.”

First of all, calling Jessica Peck the director of anything “nonpartisan” is like saying is “nonpartisan.” Meaning it’s completely laughable. The Denver paper, which counts Ms. Peck among its Battleground Colorado panel, identifies her as an employee of Henley Public Affairs, which in turn advertises itself as “a PR force to be reckoned with.” The only two links at Henley Public Affairs “links” section are to Clockwise Media, which specializes in “design from the Right for the Right,” and local right-wing blog WhoSaidYouSaid.

Presumably the “Open Government Institute of Colorado” will be in that link list soon?

And when it comes to “campaign finance rules,” you may be interested in learning that Jessica Peck has not always been so, you know, punctilious! This op-ed Ms. Peck wrote for the right-wing Independence Institute in 2008 strikes a very different chord:

Campaign finance reform, once billed as a way to mitigate the effect of big money in politics, is having its greatest impact in turning well-intentioned grassroots candidates and campaigns into lawbreakers…

Money will always find a way into politics. This year’s batch of local, state, and federal candidates are already spending more money than ever before. Sadly, our campaign finance laws are being turned into tools for vicious political slander that must be stopped. [Pols emphasis]

Do tell, Jessica!

In conclusion, there are lessons in this little brouhaha for all parties. Fundraiser organizers, be sure all of your “in formation” hosts are legally allowed to be on that list, because apparently some people are too stupid to do that for themselves like they should. And attack dogs, make sure you haven’t taken a position that makes you look like a total hypocrite before you pile on.


25 thoughts on “Thou Doth Protest Too Much, Jessica Peck

  1. The original version of this post interchangeably referred to Jessica Peck of Henley Public Affairs as “Jessica Peck” and “Jessica Corry.” Ms. Peck is only correctly addressed as Jessica Peck, and we apologize for the confusion.

  2. I’m sure ArapaGOP will be in here soon to say the same but as he/she has zero credibility, I figured I’d mention it.

    Primavera & McGihon fucked up. Both clearly should have known better. And they should both be apologizing big-time.

    Yes a Republican took advantage of their screw-up. How unusual…

    1. is that this is complete spin, and if there are any other Democratic tempests in teapots, he’ll bring that up and attempt to explain how it’s worse than some REAL GOP corruption.

      But yeah, this was a dumb, dumb move by the Dems. Get yer shit together, guys!

      1. It’s McGihon’s responsibility to know the law related to her job as a lobbyist. She takes more blame than Primavera. There’s no actionable penalty if it’s true McGihon didn’t donate. She’s off the invite now.

        The hypocrisy over campaign finance law from somebody quoted in this story is relevant too, IMHO.

        1. Outside the capitol, most people know her as a former rep., not as a lobbyist. So it’s understandable when a host committee is getting slapped together that a former rep. would be put on there no questions asked.

          Very irresponsible of Anne McGihon. This should serve as a warning to lobbyists of both parties.  

          1. There’s no need for Democrats to help Republicans make their stupid hypocritical attacks for them. McGihon gets the blame because it’s her responsibility to comply with the law as a registered lobbyist. And yes, she is known more as an ex-legislator.

            For God’s sake, the invite says that lobbyists can’t contribute! Primavera’s campaign wasn’t trying to pull anything over on anyone, that’s just right wing bullshit spin jobbing.

          2. a few simple questions should always be asked.  It’s Primavera’s ass and therefore Primavera’s responsibility. Both at least equally to blame. Completely agree on hypocrisy, though.  But what else is new?

        1. If your job is to persuade people, why do you insult them when they agree with you?

          I personally don’t agree, McGihon bears responsibility under the law. Primavera should learn a lesson about being doubly caredful, but this is McGihon’s fault. The burden of disclosure is on her plain and simple.

  3. I am glad to see Pols recognize that some groups are partisan, despite a tax status that designates otherwise.  

    CPols, will you also protest when Colorado Ethics Watch is designated as non-partisan?  What is the percent chance we see Colo Ethics Watch bring an ethics complaint in this instance?

  4. As a colleague of Jessica Peck and a member of the leadership team of OGI I do take issue with the assertion that the source would invalidate the legitimate concern.  OGI is a nonpartisan group.  To lay out my liberal bona fides I am a Democrat, a Boulder Democrat to boot a national delegate for president Obama in 2008 and a former Legislative Staffer for Rep. Polis.  

    I have also worked with Ms. Peck on a variety of non-partisan projects and can attest to the fact that though she is a Republican and I a Democrat and we disagree on issues our collaborations have always been and with OGI will continue to be about what we all should be focused on, transparency and good policy.

    Ms. Peck in her capacity as an attorney is currently counsel on a federal lawsuit representing the libertarian/conservative Independence Institute as well as  Mason Tvert of SAFER Colorado seeking to eliminate legislatively imposed restrictions on constitutionally protected petition rights -a cornerstone of the liberal social justice agenda.  Jessica has been a leader for young Republicans, the wing of the party that believes small government is about liberty and social justice.  As a Republican she has been a champion for marijuana legalization, sentencing reform and gay rights.

    I am proud to have colleagues at OGI that run the full political spectrum and as a result we only addresses issues that pertain to reform, transparency and justice.  

    On this issue OGI’s position is this is a clear violation of Campaign Finance Rules.  The quotes from earlier writing of Ms. Peck “its greatest impact in turning well-intentioned grassroots candidates and campaigns into lawbreakers…” is consistent with OGI’s position today.  Lobbyists and incumbents hold tremendous power including access to wealthy contributors and lobbyist money that an ordinary candidate for our citizen legislature lack. Rather than make baseless assumptions we encourage Pols readers to visit us at to discover what we are actually working on. Join us in this effort, we are the OPEN government institute and our door is open for you to become a part of the dialogue.

    1. Tell me, did you work with Jessica Peck on the anti-affirmative action “Civil Rights Initiative?” Or was it the “Campus Accountability Project” to get college professors fired for the Independence Institute? Did you know her day job is PR flack for a GOP PR agency?

      Advice: if you don’t want to be considered a hack group, don’t hire hacks.

    2. I STRONGLY urge you to listen to your “colleague”‘s testimony on HB12-1252 from this past Monday, 2/27/12.

      Ms. Peck is unabashedly conservative… which is fine and all, but she shouldn’t be speaking for the so-called non-partisan OGI.

      I found her testimony damaging to your organization; she makes you appear illegitimate in your quest for non-partisanship.

    3. That complaint isn’t a legal claim, it’s a political diatribe with as many right wing tropes salted in as possible. Pure opportunism. Shame you can’t tell the difference.  

    4. So OGI is not a partisan outfit?

      Is that why you tweet RIPs for Breitbart and “congratulate” Complete Colorado? Is that why Peak Politics includes you in their Follow Fridays?

      #FAIL. Actually a very pathetic fail.

        1. CPP includes the hashtag #copols on every tweet to ensure it’s displayed here. #copols is a hashtag used to display a tweet somewhere, not a @person to #followfriday.


          Incidentally, the tweet you pointed out is CPP recommending follows for the following: Colorado Observer, Compass Colorado, Complete Colorado, and the “Open Government Institute.” That’s three openly right wing websites and the one “nonpartisan” one run by Jessica Peck rec’ed by the right wing blog.

          In other words, RedGreen, yeah fucking right. Thanks for proving my point.

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