RMGO: How To Not Win Friends Or Influence Anybody

RMGO lobbyist Joe Neville and Rep. Cheri Gerou (R).

RMGO lobbyist Joe Neville and Rep. Cheri Gerou (R).

CBS4 follows up the story of the lobbyist for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Joe Neville, and his confrontation this year with GOP Rep. Cheri Gerou during the debate over gun safety legislation in the Colorado General Assembly. It's important to keep in mind that Rep. Gerou never had any intentions of supporting those bills, and therefore could be characterized as a "friendly" target of RMGO's lobbying efforts. Nonetheless:

Joseph Neville claims his rights were violated as a result of a confrontation with a state representative.

The incident happened during the last session. The lawsuit was filed by Neville, a lobbyist for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association. It was filed in federal court in which Neville claims he was ordered out of the Capitol at the request of Rep. Cheri Gerou.

Neville claims he could lose his ability to perform his job.

Joe Neville's job, at least his main job, is to lobby on behalf of RMGO's position on gun bills. The conflict between Neville and Rep. Gerou reportedly arose after Neville spread rumors that Gerou might not stay with the Republican caucus on one or more of the bills, leading to a round of the grassroots gun lobby's special brand of "encouragement" against her. Gerou went to Neville to demand he stop "spreading misinformation," which led to a heated exchange, with Gerou telling Neville to "fuck off," and Neville promising "another round of mailers" in Gerou's district. At that, Rep. Gerou directed security to escort Joseph Neville from the Capitol.

As we reported in August, this kerfluffle didn't happen in a vacuum. Joe Neville's father, former Colorado Sen. Tim Neville, has announced his intentions to run for Sen. Jeanne Nicholson's SD-16 seat next year. A Republican candidate has already announced his campaign for Gerou's House seat, leading to speculation that Rep. Gerou will challenge Neville in a primary for the GOP SD-16 nomination.

Which, obviously, would be a reason for the younger Neville to threaten "a round of mailers" against Gerou.

With all of that in mind, there is the original question: it's against Assembly rules for a lobbyist to threaten a legislator in any way, and that includes "political reprisal." Based on that, did Rep. Gerou have the right to eighty-six Neville?

With no partisan undertones, we can say this time we truly hope so.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    I like Cheri Gerou. Great lady. Kind of a hothead though. Let the kid do his job, this was a rookie mistake at most. Cheri will get over it.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Yeah, screw the rules. What do we need rules protecting lawmakers from threats for?


      Franklin Sain

    • BlueCat says:

      The kid was just doing his job?

      Try it this way. The 'kid" is a lobbyist for a group advocating gun control spreading rumors that the Dem Rep is about to go wobbly on supporting gun safety legislation and the dad in this little story is a former Dem Colorado Senator looking to get back in the game. Would I be correct in assuming you'd be standing up for the "kid" and brushing off a "rookie mistake" in that scenario? 

      Just kidding. Hilarious, I know!

  2. doremi says:

    As I remember, Joe Neville was a "volunteer lobbyis" this past session,  i.e., he received no pay from the Rocky Mt. Gun Owners.  Nevertheless, his Daddy is a strong RMGO supporter and is likely to be running against Gerou for Sen. Nicholson's senate seat.  "Isn't that special."

    Don't understand Moderatus's comment:  "Let the kid do his job."  As I read the story, the miffed Mr. Neville, who inappropriately lobbied, is now suing Rep. Gerou in federal court. 

    Looks like the "kid" (seen him, he's not a kid) is the one that is being quite aggressive here.   Sure RMGO and Daddy are helping him with Court costs,  since by being a volunteer lobbyist, he shouldn't have received a dime from RMGO and wouldn't have the dough on his own to pursue this.

    As we've seen before, RMGO is sue-happy — going after Gov. Hickenlooper in state court.  Course Dudley Brown (RMGO head honcho) is being sued himself for using pictures in mailers with NO permission from the photographed persons.

    As always, the RMGO muddies everything it touches.

  3. mamajama55 says:

    See, that's the thing about being a lobbyist for a gun advocacy group. You just have to threaten someone. What is the point of packing if you don't intimidate people?

    Even if you're not physically packing because the Capitol probably doesn't allow it, the psychological weight of knowing one has enough firepower to mow down a small army would make one's body language more dominant of others. Swagger, it's called.

    I wonder how differently this would have played out if Neville was female and Gerou, male.

    Actually, pick any combo of genders possible – it would be different than what actually played out.


    • BlueCat says:

      And when they're caught sending disgusting e-mails full of racial epithets and threats to law makers they don't agree with, they say they're sorry if they offended anyone but their passion made them do it. I'd kind of like the people packing guns to have a little control over those passions. And I'd like their lobbyists to not to be "kids" who threaten reprisals and I'd like for nobody to claim that spreading lies and making intimidating threats is just rookie boys being boys. 

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    RMGO may be a bunch of jerks. But they won in both of the recalls and that gives them oomph in lobbying. A lot of influence.

    • mamajama55 says:

      In the spirit of "Know your enemy", I'll point out the differences between RMGO and the NRA and Republican-funded BFDF. 

      RMGO has its own stable of tame legislators, including Vicki Marble, who answer "correctly" on RMGO's own questionnaire. RMGO  didn't do much in Pueblo at all. Richard Anglund, the stealth candidate Marks recruited to screw up the Pueblo mail in ballots was registered agent for Colorado Gun Owners, Inc., a different organization.

      The El Paso Basic Freedom Defense Fund/ Morse recall group has now grown into the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, which got $150,000 from "Free Colorado" a "social welfare charity", which ran the anti-Morse and Giron ads.  BFDF also reportedly received upwards of 3 million from the NRA. 

      When Jennifer Kerns came in, her role seemingly was to hook up the NRA and Republican dollars for the "three plumbers from Pueblo", the PFR. There is apparently some kind of schism or territorial battle between the RMGO and the BFDF. BFDF wanted to intimidate legislators by publicizing results of a questionnaire, which effort has fizzled. RMGO is backing the Hudak recall, but with only moral support, possibly some volunteer recruitment. RMGO's main thing right now is a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the gun laws. With Kerns out of the picture, no one else is bringing on the big bucks for the Hudak recall.

      Wikipedia actually has a great summary of the ideological and strategic differences between the two groups.


      Which is great for anyone who doesn't want them to succeed.

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