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October 03, 2006 05:27 PM UTC

Rocky Mountain News Investigates Illegal Coordination

  • by: Colorado Pols

From today’s Rocky Mountain News:

Did ammunition in an attack ad against Democrat Bill Ritter by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez’s campaign come from an independent political group prohibited from coordinating with the Beauprez campaign?

The question was raised Monday when the Rocky Mountain News learned that information about former Denver District Attorney Ritter’s plea bargains with immigrant defendants, which wound up in the Beauprez ad, came from an attorney that also represents the Trailhead Group, a Republican organization barred by state and federal law from working in concert with candidate campaigns.

Beauprez’s campaign, the Trailhead Group and the attorney, John Zakhem, denied any illegal coordination occurred between the candidate’s camp and Trailhead, a so- called 527 group, named for the Internal Revenue Service code under which such independent groups, which can raise unlimited amounts of money, fall.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer wasn’t buying it. “This is, I think, a clear and convincing example of the Beauprez campaign illegally coordinating with a 527 group,” said Dreyer…

…This much is known: Trailhead Executive Director Alan Philp acknowledged hiring a Philadelphia researcher, John Wasilchick, to investigate Ritter’s record on allowing legal and illegal immigrant defendants to plead guilty to trespass on agricultural land with intent to commit a crime, rather than to their original crimes, for which they could be deported.

Trailhead, which has run repeated ads accusing Ritter of being soft on crime, has paid Wasilchick $19,824 for his work this campaign season, according to IRS records.

Public records show that Wasilchick requested computer data on Ritter’s farmland trespass convictions from the state court administrator’s office on Sept. 7. Last week, the Ritter campaign, a reporter and the Denver DA’s office requested the same data from the state court administrator, but no such request was made by the Beauprez campaign.


13 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain News Investigates Illegal Coordination

  1. This is the campaign of idiots (or at least JV players). Anytime anything of worth comes from that campaign, it certainly needs to be the by-product of someone or something else. 

    Besides, why should we expect the campaign to do their own oppo research?  They don’t even do their own polling or ID work…

  2. What is considered coordination?  If all the R groups hire the same attorney, is that coordination?  I guess if it looks like coordination and reeks of coordination, its just a coincidence?

  3. Don’t know about the charges of illegal coordination. It looks to me that Ritter is playing the Slick Willy game of trying change the subject from “I did not aide and abet Mexican criminals” to “BWB is breaking silly campaign laws.”

    While I support Ritter, I don’t like his lawyerly slipperyness on this issue.

    Looks like 17th street snake oil to me.

    1. You think that Beauprez himself breaking the law NOW is less important than Ritter prosecuting and convicting people of felonies in the past? That logic sounds more slick than anything.

    2. the law’s the law. There’s no such thing as civil disobedience when it comes to campaign law – at least not if they’re doing it under cover of darkness.

  4.   It’ll be really interesting to see how Both Ways conducts himself during this debate.  Given his deficit in the polls, he’ll have to be aggressive and hit Ritter hard. 
      But any candidate doing that has to be skillful otherwise he (or she) comes across as looking desperate.  Remember Jimmy Carter in ’80 with Reagan’s come back line, “Now there you go again!”  Or Anne Richards running against the Shrub in ’94. 
      I don’t know if Both Ways has the experience or the smarts to pull this off. 

    1. In one of the few areas Bob has scored more points with the majority, to this point, has been in the debates.  He has been working over BR.

      It would benefit Bob greatly if there were a televised debate per night. 

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