Polis Hits Hard On “Notorious” Fitz-Gerald Donors

The Rocky Mountain News reported yesterday:

Jared Polis scolded 2nd congressional district rival Joan Fitz-Gerald for accepting $2,900 in campaign contributions from a gold mining company accused of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“While it is hard to find many self-proclaimed ‘green’ candidates with ties to some of the world’s most notorious mining companies, here we have Joan Fitz-Gerald,” said a flyer issued by the Polis campaign Monday.

“She is proving how easy it is to be ‘green’ and still take corporate PAC checks from companies who bribe, spill toxic chemicals and abuse human rights around the world!”

The attack in the district’s three-way Democratic primary was the sharpest yet from a Polis campaign that has made a theme out of Fitz-Gerald’s acceptance of money from political action committees.

But Fitz-Gerald’s campaign manager pointed out that Polis has accepted money from executives of oil and gas companies, as well as mining firms. He has also invested some of his personal fortune in those firms.

“I would ask Jared, as I have done before, to just stand up and say, ‘Yes, I take this money,’ ” said Fitz-Gerald’s campaign manager, Mary Alice Mandarich, who said Polis has personal investments worth between $250,000 and $500,000 in such companies.

“I don’t understand how on one hand he can say it’s bad, and on the other hand, he’s doing exactly the same thing,” Mandarich said.

Mandarich wouldn’t speak to the issue of a donor accused of human rights violations. “We could go through every one of Jared’s investments, which are millions of dollars, and find this kind of stuff,” she said.

She noted Polis has accepted $4,000 from energy executive William Dore, who supports offshore drilling, and $2,300 from Alex Cranberg, who owns Aspect Energy “and who’s in the paper (Monday) defending (Republican U.S. Senate candidate) Bob Schaffer.”

Would someone please explain to us again why Polis kept the money from Alex Cranberg? Cranberg’s $2,300 has proven to be worth far more to the Fitz-Gerald campaign than it ever was to flush-with-cash Polis, and every time Polis gets close to making some unsavory connection to Fitz-Gerald stick, bam! Out comes their reliable foil. Investments, especially involving a wealthy man like Polis who probably doesn’t even know where all his money is, are at least partly excusable–donations aren’t.

That said, every time Fitz-Gerald responds to attacks on her connection to entities that CD-2 voters revile with a variation of “Sure, but Polis is doing the same thing,” someone in the Will Shafroth camp busts out a secret smile…

At any rate, the Polis campaign clearly thinks that Fitz-Gerald’s energy and mining donors are an issue worth hammering on, and they continued to do it yesterday with a second “fact sheet” detailing the troubled record of another Fitz-Gerald donor, Newmont Mining. Read the two fact sheets here: Anglo Gold, Newmont Mining, and tell us whether you think this is an matter worth pressing.

37 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Danny the Red (hair) says:

    Why the hell is the Polis campaign bringing up donations from tainted donors?

    Just seems to reopen an old wound.

  2. Cut out the negative campaigning shit.  You’re better than that.

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      I was leaning towards Joan but was open to Polis, now I am voting for Joan for sure.

    • GrilledSardines says:

      Get off your high horse, it’s getting old.

      • I’ll keep it in mind the next time I see negative campaigning originating from the other two candidates in the race.

        • Jared is better than his campaign’s recent press releases; if I had to judge by those press releases, Bob’s internal poll rumors are wrong – candidates tend to go negative when the positive isn’t winning the race.

          Jared’s policy statements are much more in evidence (aka accessible) than are Joan’s on her website.  He’s shown (as I knew before he ran) that he is extremely interested in the race, the topics that he’ll need to deal with, and in the constituents that he’ll serve.  All of his stump speeches have been very positive and forward-looking, and he delivers them well.  He’s got the money he needs to deliver his message, and he’s got a solid core of supporters eager to help him on the campaign trail.

          But the negative campaigning makes me think less of him; it runs counter to his image as a clean, positive voice for reform.

          • BoulderDem says:

            for the first 10 months of the campaign? Seems to me I remember a WHOLE ton of crap coming from Moseley and company all the way through the Summer, Fall, and Winter. And Jared rarely responded in kind, instead releasing more positive policy proposals.

            You can’t have it both ways.

            • Most of what I saw in negative campaigning (not just contrasting positions, but actual personal attacks like Cranberg’s contribution) about Jared was independently investigated and reported before the campaigns (Will’s and Joan’s both) picked up on it.

  3. Robert Becker says:

    Robert Becker

    Campaign Manager

    Polis for Congress

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      Are you the same Becker from N. VA ? Do you know Mike Covell ?  Just curious.

    • colorado76 says:

      Did he come away from that experience thinking: (1) the attacks on him based on the Cranberg donations were meritorius and worth voters’ attention; (2) the attacks weren’t meritorius, but now that someone did it to him he is justified in doing it as well (the class “she started it” defense); or (3) he deserves a different standard across the board?

    • Colorado Pols says:

      It still goes down as an accepted contribution.

    • Steve Balboni says:

      Was this around the time he started lying about his past support for vouchers while his personal website still contained multiple references to vouchers?

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        I was hammering him on it long before JFG mentioned cranberg.

        Anybody who read that Westword profile from 2004 knew he supported vouchers, so I guess Westword went negative 4 years ago.

        Damn you Westword and your negative campaigning.

        • BoulderDem says:

          One of the things I’ve learned from years of being around politics is that accusations of “I know candidate x supports y policy, even though he says he doesn’t and all his campaign materials say he supports policy z” don’t work at all. All I have ever seen that suggests Polis once even toyed with publicly funded vouchers was that one unfortunate editorial back when Ken Salazar was AG and was trying to corral prominent Dems for his vouchers-for-at-risk-kids pilot project. And Polis even withdrew his support for that before it came up in the legislature. That’s pretty thin stuff, if Polis himself says he will never vote for a voucher plan in Congress.

          By the way, “school choice” does not equal vouchers. And there is a HUGE difference between publicly funded vouchers and privately funded private school scholarships. Where on Jared’s website does it refer to actual publicly funded private school vouchers?

          If this is the best you got against Jared, you should really consider voting for him!

          • Danny the Red (hair) says:

            Hudak reported on her blog that Jared wanted the independance institute to present on the issue before the SBOE.

            Schaffer said Polis was Reasonable on the vouchers and that Schaffer didn’t consider Polis a liberal activist.

            There was both the Westword profile and  Camera article that said he supported vouchers which he never refuted until last summer, years after their writing.

            On the 2006 Boulder county democratic platform questionaire he would not oppose vouchers.

            Now I am glad he changed his mind on this issue, but to say that he never supported vouchers is ludicrous.  His lying about his evolution on this issue (I won’t call it a flip flop because I think positions should evolve) is what is disturbing.  Between his cozy relationship with the caldera and the Independance Institute (he wrote for them after all), his employment of Art Laffer (the father of Reaganomics) at his investment firm and his acknowledged embrace of deregulation and privatization shows that as a young man he flirted with every young successful businessman’s model Ayn Rand.  Us old men (40 ;)) who have been around realize that privization of public responsibilities is more expensive and leaves key groups unserved in the long run.

            As to the rest, don’t obfuscate choice with vouchers–I support choice and oppose vouchers.  Don’t make me laugh with private scholarships.  My concern is that vouchers, paid with taxpayer money, will GUT the public education system and will never actually meet the tutition requirements of private schools so will in fact just be a tax break for the wealthy.

      • ColoradoPolitical says:

        The Cranberg contribution is allegedly donated to charity in October but no one finds out about it until today.  

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    and it is a very legit point – is that there is a long history of corporate contributions to Joan. And those donations should have us at least be concerned that these donations, at a minimum, mean Joan is more friendly to those interests than Jared or Will.

    It’s not a single donation or two that is problematic – everyone has those (probably even Will). It’s the long, long, looooong list of them that Joan has.

    If every day from now to election day another name is dropped, that could be very damaging to Joan as it builds up a strong story.

    • Chipeta says:

       Your implication is very shallow David. Joan’s record and character have never been influenced by contributions.  Polis’ numbers are down and going negative is a sign that he knows he must make that last attempt to discredit his opponents. Are you as concerned with Udall’s corporate donations or those received by John Kerry?

      Will’s donors from insurance, mortgage companies, land owners and real estate companies might imply impropriety as well.

      If Jared Polis had not self funded to the extreme, money would not have the importance that it has in this race. Are you saying that Jared can put in his very own 4 million and other candidates must stand aside and let his dollars influence the outcome? Your shabby implications are without fact.  

      • DavidThi808 says:

        First off, I said dropping a new name each day could make a strong story. I didn’t say that it was legit or fair, just that it could be effective.

        As to who has donated to Joan, I think having lots of corporate interests donating to a candidate is worthy of discussion. At a minimum it signifies that those groups figure that she is closer to their interests than her opponents.

        Yes, Will’s and Jared’s donations in whole should be looked at too. And yes Udall’s donations pouring in from corporate interests worry me (although I don’t expect much from him anyways).

        The bottom line is I think Joan’s long list of corporate donations should be considered by voters. Not viewed as a reason to not vote for her, but as something that should be taken in to consideration.

        • twotone says:

          Jared is running the nastiest campaign by a Democrat in this state in recent history. Your arguments trying to give legitimacy to his mudslinging are getting weaker every day. You must realize this.  

          • DavidThi808 says:

            All three candidates in CD-2 have run comprable campaigns. They’ve all issued press releases, leaked memos, accusations, etc in relatively equal degree.

            And I think it all has by and large been reasonable campaign discourse. Politcs is a contact sport. It’s not a college bowl. But I can’t think of anything any of them has doen that goes beyond the pale.

            Will’s done the least of this, but Will has done the least of any campaign activity – so it’s stillthe same percentage, it’s just the totals are lower.

            • from anyone other than Jared’s campaign.

              I have not seen a single negative anything from the other two campaigns since the last time Jared gave himself a cash infusion, unless it was in response to a reporter asking about something Jared’s campaign put out.  In fact, the only two negative non-policy points can remember from Will and Joan’s campaigns were about the Cranberg & Friends donations and Jared’s self-funding.

              I consider policy debates fair game, unless there’s a material misrepresentation of the facts.

              • DavidThi808 says:

                I have been offered numerous “leaked” items by the Fitz-Gerald campaign and a couple from the Shafroth campaign. I never said anything about them because it’s all just standard operating procedure.

                So yes, all 3 do it. Every campaign does it to some extent.

                • RedGreen says:

                  The leaked memo from the Polis campaign manager, Robert Becker, included a false charge about the Fitz-Gerald campaign, one particularly reprehensible about a Democrat. That’s different than leaking some oppo research that, oh, by the way, happens to be true. Becker still hasn’t retracted or corrected the charges in his memo. Your “every campaign does it” sop doesn’t cover that.

                  • DavidThi808 says:

                    But if that was done, I agree with you. At a minimum there should be a “I believed it was true at the time, I now know it’s not, I’m sorry.” (I’ll also grant you that the Polis campaign seems unable to ever utter the words “I’m sorry.”)

                    • RedGreen says:

                      That’s the whole “leaked” memo about the push poll that raised Polis negatives. Becker in his memo repeatedly called it a “JFG push poll,” and when his misstatements were corrected, he conspicuously went silent. If he sent out a corrected memo to the Polis field team, he should “leak” that too, otherwise it’s clear the vast majority of Polis organizers are under the misimpression it was a JFG poll and are spreading the word based on Becker’s false charges.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      Did they ever figure out who paid for it? And I thought the Polis campaign did back off on saying that JFG funded it.

                      Stuff like that (in general, not necessarily this specific one) is difficult to figure out how to respond to. If you wait for proof then generally the election is over by then and so those that do things like this win. But if accuse someone without clear proof, sometimes that accusation will be wrong.

                      What should a candidate do when a push-poll goes out against them? To wait for proof is to let it damage you with no counter. It’s a difficult question.

                    • RedGreen says:

                      That’s not even remotely true. You do what any campaign does when evidence arises that there’s a push poll in the field — expose it, denounce it, correct it (if, like the notorious Rove vs. McCain 2000 push poll in South Carolina, it contains factually inaccurate smears). That’s your counter, and it’s quite effective. Pinning blame on one particular opponent (last I saw, Polis has four potential opponents) based on nothing more than a hunch — how is that responsible? It isn’t, it’s a chance to score cheap shots and evade accountability because you’ve already generated sympathy over the push poll.  

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