Reporter shouldn’t have characterized Morse recall campaign as a grassroots effort

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On its website last week, ABC News reported that petition drives to remove CO state legislators from office, in retaliation for their support of gun safety legislation, are "being run by political newcomers who claim little or no experience working on elections."

ABC News' Chris Good wrote in an online story that "activists are relying on volunteers, and no campaign has raised more than a few thousand dollars."

Good's piece appeared three days after Colorado Pols posted a video apparently demonstrating that the Morse recall effort, at least, is not a grassroots effort but a sophisticated political hit campaign involving hired guns from outside Colorado.

It appears ABC didn't bother to check out the video, which contains an audio recording of a man, who identifies himself as Tracy Taylor, the "owner" of a "national petitioning company." 

In the video, Taylor is apparently training workers to collect signatures to recall State Sen. President John Morse. "What we're going to do is put it on the ballot and let people decide whether or not they want to get rid of [Morse]," the man identified as "Taylor" says.

The signature gatherers would be paid at least $1.oo per signature, he promises. (About 7,000 signatures are needed by June 3 to place the Morse recall question on the ballot.)

In the video, the man identified as Taylor says:

"This office belongs to Dan Kennedy, who's a good friend of mine and has been in the petition business with me a lot of years. That's how I got ahold of Brooke, who got ahold of you, because she knows Dan. So this is kind of our home office anyway, so that's the good news for you guys. We get lots of work. This job is going to last anywhere from four to five weeks."

You'd think local reporters would be racing to interview Taylor and Dan Kennedy of Kennedy Enterprises, given the appearance that serious money is behind an effort to oust a leading CO politician.

But neither ABC's Good, nor a local reporter, has apparently bothered to do so.

So to fill the media gap, I called Kennedy Enterprises Friday afternoon, to verify the video evidence that Kennedy, who's been accused of organizing shady signature-gathering efforts in the past, indeed hosted the anti-Morse training in his office–and to find out more about the role of Kennedy Enterprises in the Morse recall campaign.

“This is Tracy," said a voice who picked up the phone when I called the phone number listed on the website for Kennedy Enterprises.

Is this Tracy Taylor, whose voice is featured on a video on the website ColoradoPols, I asked.

“I have no comment,” said "Tracy," and hung up. (For what it's worth, his voice sounded identical to the one in the Pols video.

My email to Kennedy was not returned, but perhaps a reporter who knows him will have better luck.

Meanwhile, evidence that serious money, not grassroots grit, is fueling the anti-Morse campaign arrived yesterday when the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee reported receiving a large donation of $14,294, which is enough to get an outside operative like "Tracy Taylor" to come Colorado.

The donation came from "I Am Created Equal." One entity with this name is run by Laura Carno, who confirmed by email that the donation came from her 501c(4) entity, IACE Action. I'm scheduled to talk to Carno more about this later.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Davie says:

    Good work, Jason.  I'm looking forward to your follow up with Laura Carno.

    Maybe this will prompt other reporters to also pick up the trail.

  2. Albert J. Nock says:

    I am not sure how 7000.00 or 14,000 dollars disqualifies and effort from being grassroots?

    Really, money is not the determining factor, is it?


    • Duke Cox says:

      Really, money is not the determining factor, is it?

      um…yes. If the money is coming in small increments from regular people…grassroots.

      If the money is coming from large, out-of-town, corporate or institutional donors…astroturf.

      thought you knew the difference.

      • roccoprahn says:

        Hi Duke.

        I'm thinking nock exposes his penchant for typical redleg gun nut "selective determination" with his post.

        Like all these goonies, nock pretty much excuses anything his "team" does in the name of discrediting anyone that contributed to the landmark firearms safety legislation.

        While the 5 Bills were at best tepid, and the really effective Assault weapons ban was sacrificed for the for the rest to pass, the people behind the drive really don't care about that. They're a revenue based, money making enterprise that goes where the opportunities are. This time it's in Colorado.

        The people they appeal to at parks, on the pavement at King Soopers, in the strip malls, are nock-like individuals. who can't name any of the Bills. They can't tell you what in actually nuts and bolts terms what any of the Bills do. They do, however, have incorrect and asinine ideas, passed on them by boyles, brown caldera, andrews, and other yakkers, as well as the out right lies from their own republican legislators, to fire them up. piss them off, and motivate them. Add to that the drunks at the bar, the fuel of ignorance that drives it is head turningly and mind numbingly resonating……….in a small group.

        nock-like individuals are a small echo chamber, but they're a loud crew, yelling at themselves, appealing to the base instincts of ignorance and hate.

        Remember, it wasn't that long ago that nock was threatening to shoot government employees and law enforcement.

        He's a kook. They all are.

        • Duke Cox says:

          can't argue with a word of that…

          I talked to one of those guys a few days ago who, after announcing he hated Muslims (but not why, of course), he said he had voted for Mitt because he just wished we had a president who wanted America to succeed…what does one say to such monumental ignorance? I just let it go, and changed the subject.


  3. marklane1351 says:

    Albert let us not kid ourselves. Kennedy Enterprises is not grassroots. It is a major league national organization. Whatever their methods, referring to them as grassroots is misleading at best and maybe even outright dishonest.

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