New 527 Ad Debuts Against Polis

UPDATE #4: The Polis campaign was forced to…ah, modify its original statement. Politics West reports:

After further review, the Polis camp concedes that Corporate Advocates and Jep Seman had nothing to do with the attack ad. But further research found that Steve Adams, the man who is responsible, works for Colorado Communique, a group that represents BP Global among other companies.

“Our apologies to Mr. Seman,” says Polis campaign manager Robert Becker. “We made the incorrect assumption that he was the big oil lobbyist behind the ads. It appears there’s a different big oil lobbyist behind the ad that happens to share the same office suite.”

…Fitz-Gerald’s campaign immediately distanced itself from the ad, the first negative TV spot of a contentious and expensive race for the 2nd Congressional District.

Clears that up, except for the most important question for the Polis camp, which is who is paying for the ads. In addition to representing BP, Steve Adams is the former head of the Colorado AFL-CIO with all kinds of friends and enemies–enjoy the guessing game, though we strongly caution against continuing to guess out loud in press releases.

UPDATE #3: The Polis campaign just sent out a press release responding to this ad. Says campaign manager Robert Becker, “It [is] unfortunate, yet predictable, that Joan Fitz-Gerald’s oil lobbyist friends would launch negative attacks against Jared Polis” (release follows).

UPDATE #2: Helpfully supplied by a reader:

UPDATE: Quicktime users can watch the video on Colorado Counts’ quickie website.

There is a new ad airing in the CD-2 race attacking candidate Jared Polis, paid for by a new independent committee called Colorado Counts. We’re looking for a YouTube of it to show, no doubt one of you already has it (we’re smiling as we type that). It’s a pretty hard shot on Polis’ education record.

On a related note, we also heard more from a corroborating source today about the poll (some say “push poll”) trolling various known Polis negatives that caused a considerable ruckus last week. Contrary to previous speculation, many people seem to have heard that the poll was in fact conducted on behalf of persons affiliated with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, who we’re told are also principal funders of the TV buy for “Colorado Counts.”

This would, if true, maybe not be a great thing for the Fitz-Gerald camp to see publicized, as the next logical question would be why the much-maligned COGA would care enough about this liberal Democrat primary to make such an investment–potentially segueing nicely into Polis’ “Big Oil Sweetheart” charge against Fitz-Gerald.

But frankly, there are enough faulty/intentionally misinforming rumors about this race to fill a warehouse these days, even from people one would otherwise “trust,” so we’ll leave it to our readers to do their usual excellent job sorting this out via pie fight.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 22, 2008

CONTACT: Robert Becker – 303.381.0121

Joan Fitz-Gerald’s Oil Lobbyist Friends Launch False, Negative TV attack against Jared Polis

(Boulder, CO) – Last night a new TV ad from a brand new organization with ties to Joan Fitz-Gerald – “Colorado Counts” – began airing $155,000 of negative attacks against Jared Polis on Denver stations.

“It unfortunate, yet predictable, that Joan Fitz-Gerald’s oil lobbyist friends would launch negative attacks against Jared Polis,” charged Robert Becker, Polis for Congress campaign manager.

“Jared is after all the one candidate in this race who refuses to take special interest PAC money and will stand up to the Big Oil lobbyists in Washington. Joan Fitz-Gerald on the other hand takes corporate PAC money and was the sponsor of their ‘Oil-Industry Dream Bill,’ according to the Denver Post.”

Who is this new group “Colorado Counts”?

Address Listed on Colorado Secretary of State Filing is Address of Lobbying Firm (2008)

In July 2008, Colorado Counts registered as a limited liability corporation with the Colorado Secretary of State.  On the filings, the group listed their principal address as 1660 Lincoln Street, Ste 3050, Denver, Colorado.  This address is the same address listed for the lobbying firm Corporate Advocates, “a full-service lobbying, issues management and public relations firm.”  (Colorado Secretary of State Web Site, “Business Search: Colorado Counts,” www.sos.state.co.us;  Corporate Advocated Web Site, “Contact Us,” www.corporateadvocates.net;  Corporate Advocated Web Site, “What We Do,” www.corporateadvocates.net)

Head of Government Relations for Corporate Advocates Sits on Board of Colorado Petroleum Association (2008)

In July 2008, Corporate Advocates listed Jep Seman as the head of government relations for the lobbying firm.  The company web site listed several positions that Seman held currently or in the past, including currently serving on the board of the Colorado Petroleum Association.  He also served as a past president of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association:

“Mr. Seman sits on the Boards of the Colorado Petroleum Association, Warren Village Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, and is the past president of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association.” (Corporate Advocated Web Site, “Who We Are,” www.corporateadvocates.net)

Jep Seman Contributed $1,250 to Fitz-Gerald (2007-2008)

In 2007 and 2008, Seman contributed $1,250 to the Congressional campaign of Joan Fitz-Gerald.  The table below details the contributions:

Recipient Date Amount

Joan Fitz-Gerald 6/30/2007 $500

Joan Fitz-Gerald 3/31/2008 $500

Joan Fitz-Gerald 12/31/2007 $250

TOTAL $1,250

(Open Secrets Web Site, “Donor Lookup: Jep Seman,” www.opensecrets.org)

Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips listed as Lobbying Clients (2008)

In 2008, Corporate Advocates listed a number of oil and gas companies as their clients in Colorado, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Conoco Phillips.  (Colorado Secretary of State Web Site, “Lobbyist Search: Corporate Advocates,” www.sos.state.co.us)

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67 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BoulderDem says:

    about this organization? Who are their registered agents? If it is COGA, surely they didn’t use one of their recognizable names on the registration forms?

    Anyone know how to look this up?

  2. colorado76 says:

    Which I found by guessing, I don’t know who they are.

  3. redstateblues says:

    My question is when does the Polis campaign start to turn negative? They say they’re above it, but I don’t think anyone is above it. I would put money on anti-Fitz-Gerald ads running in the weeks before the primary. If so, this race will get real ugly, real fast.

  4. Sage Sam says:

    Why in the world would they spend on this race?  Why would they target Polis?  I’m not intimately familiar with the CD-2 race so if someone can enlighten me it would be appreciated.

    Although, I will say the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  So I guess I like this Polis fella.

  5. indipol says:

    but that is the dumbest ad I’ve seen in a while. As if wanting to reform NCLB instead of repealing it is going to fire up anybody?  

    • RedGreen says:

      The slam on Polis’s charter schools is odd, too. I doubt there are any Democrats who would fault Polis for those, which admirably fill a tremendous need. The ad is probably JUST aimed at a few thousand teachers, who ALWAYS vote. Kind of a dog whistle.

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        I oppose vouchers and support charters (though I do not think they are a universal solution) and I think most Democrats in CO are in a like place.

        Its a well produced ad, but the messaging is a bit off.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        Watching the ad it made me support Jared even more – I like the fact that he wants to improve education rahter than just give the union whatever it wants with no effort to improve.

        That ad could help Jared more than it hurts him…

  6. Knowledge is Power says:

    To the first 15 or so comments.  Wow you all must have some time on your hands and YOU all must support Mr. Polis.  One thing is very obvious in this blog, a hit on the Pols with negativity about Mr. Polis and within minutes there are 15 plus comments, and not about the ad itself, but who, what, where and when!  

    What are you going to do once you find out who did it?  Oh I know I bet your next move is to personally attack the group or people behind the ad (Find a reason to discredit right).  

    Why not talk about the ad, (like the last couple of comments) and if it is valid or not.  After reading all this, it just seems you are more worried about the campaign side, who is doing what versus taking on the issues that are affecting the people of Colorado.  

    All three candidates will be great for Colorado, we are only so lucky to have this field.  

    And for the record, Vouchers is a form of privatization, and privatization (outsourcing) is killing this country.  And if this is true, that is the type of issue for me to base my decision as a democrat…

    • RedGreen says:

      and, no, not everyone tracking down the ad’s source would be a Polis supporter. Some people are just curious.

    • colorado76 says:

      I can’t speak for my fellow members of the vast-Polis-wing conspiracy, but I for one am interested in the identity of those behind well-funded attack ads.  Others may have professional curiosity, I for one am just looking for a little accountability for folks’ public attempts to influence elections.

    • Laughing Boy says:

      Vouchers is a form of privatization

      Not quite as powerful, eh?

      PS Shitty public education is killing us much more than some minute outsourced labor.  We’re post industrial, remember?

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      All frequent readers no I hammer Polis on 41, vouchers and earlier on his in kinds.

      However, I try to be fair and defend him when attacks are out of line.

      While I don’t mind 527s, I don’t like misleading ones and I care who funds them.

      I find following the money valuable. That’s one of the reasons that Polis recieving donationsfrom Cranberg and the odious McVaney convinces me that Polis supports valuable.  That’s why I wondered what the Swiftboater contributors see in Polis that would prompt them to give to Polis.

      The source of the money behind the ads has not been sourced to my satisfaction ye.

    • what tha duce says:

      …privatization (outsourcing) is killing this country.

      And yet you take defense when people are trying to determine who’s behind a 527 org that made a $155,000 ad buy?

      These folk are concerned, the same way you are, with corporate money in politics and education. They want to know who put together such an attack, far be it a good one, on Polis.

    • puddin says:

      This election seems to be rushing toward being the nastiest in recent history.  If it keeps on the path of the politics of personal destruction model we will sink further into the abyss instead of “doing politics in a different way”.  

  7. RedGreen says:

    The ad is certainly negative, but what’s false about the points it makes, as the release charges in the headline but doesn’t mention in the body?

  8. BlueCat says:

    His opponents just got started heading immediately into the primary.  I will be surprised if Joan, the party insider, doesn’t defeat Jared, the buy me an an election candidate, after all. I’m just glad I’m not in their district.  Not  enthusiastic about either one and don’t much care which wins.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      An election is a knife fight, not a cotillion. This is how we elect people. And while it has pluses and minuses, I think there are a lot of good parts. More info comes out and we see who will fight hard for us in D.C.

      What I dislike a lot is the anonymous stuff. They need to force groups like this to show where they get their money from and who is making the decisions.

      • colorado76 says:

        The Knife Fight conventional wisdom has certainly taken hold, and this may be “how we elect people” these days, but there are at least a few of us who would like to see it differently.

        Even worse is the second part, that the election Knife Fight prepares your for the Knife Fight that is being a part of government.  It makes you wonder just how many accomplishments that could have been will never be seen because the one who could have brought them about was busy looking for an exposed artery in the person nearby.  It may be naive, but perhaps an election could be neither a knife fight nor a cotillion but an actual exercise in responsible leadership.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          Look back to the first couple of elections – they were, if anything, worse than we are today. I think it’s how we humans naturally handle a democratic election. Keep in mind that whe are the oldest modern democracy and so we’ve been doing it the longest.

          A lot of people seem to want a college bowl where we listen to what each says and vote on that. But the thing is, that would be a losuy way to do it because candidates are much more than the sum of their positions and they also learn and grow in office which changes their position on issues.

          • colorado76 says:

            The Republic has not yet crumbled (although it was close there for a while), but while late the United States of the 18th century was revolutionary in many ways, it was far from a model democracy by most people’s standards.  

            Of course, you could be right.  It could be that human nature mandates that in a broad-based political contest, there is no other way.  It could be that people respond to attacks, dubious or otherwise, no matter what and so to try anything else would be futile.  That is certainly the conventional wisdom.  At the same time, I don’t see anyone really testing the theory either. The closest anyone has come in a while has been Senator Obama, who has achieved success due in no small part to rhetoric that implies he will deliver a higher standard of conduct, but of course he’s shown he’ll also engage in many of the same tactics to the extent he can do so and keep his image mostly intact.  Now if you like him, he’s being smart and refusing to be pushed around, and if you don’t like him, he’s being hypocritical.  I think its probably a little of both.  I think he’d probably like to truly be a different type of leader, one that doesn’t have to bring out the attack sound bite of the day each morning, but in the end he’s not going to be the test case for the “Hope Only” program when the metaphorical knives are drawn.  

            I agree that a candidate is more than the sum of her issue portfolio, but at the same time I have my doubts about using someone’s ability to destroy his opponent as a barometer for his ability to create something great.  The skill sets seem diametrically opposed.  In my humble opinion, a person who can find a way into office showing actual character as opposed to “Character” the talking point would simply be better at leading and governing.  It may be naive to think and/or impossible to achieve, but I’ve never actually seen evidence to prove either.

      • BlueCat says:

        Any Dem will win in the general there so they can have at it for all I care. They’re both acceptable.

  9. WTF is an oil and gas association doing funding anti-Polis ads against his education policies?

    This whole thing makes me want to bang my head against a wall until it doesn’t hurt anymore.  I turned in test ballots for the primary this morning.  Made sure I filled out a couple of “protest” ballots for each party – the only item filled in was “County Surveyor – no candidate for this position”.

  10. Perhaps you could get together with Dick Wadhams and discuss the value of excessive sloganeering.

  11. RedGreen says:

    The Rocky’s Lynn Bartels has the story:

    A former top union official is behind the first attack ad in the contentious 2nd congressional district race, a TV spot slamming candidate Jared Polis’ record on education. …

    Polis’ campaign on Tuesday erroneously claimed oil and gas interests were behind the ad. It planned to “vigorously respond” to attacks on the candidate’s record, said Robert Becker, Polis’ campaign manager. …

    The head of Colorado Counts is Steve Adams, former president of Colorado AFL-CIO. Tax records show that a variety of unions bankrolled the $155,000 ad buy. …

    When asked why he thought the energy industry was behind the ad, Becker said he “followed the paper trail.”

    Secretary of state records show Colorado Counts’ address is the same as the lobbying firm Corporate Advocates. Jep Seman, the governmental affairs director for the firm, has energy clients, sits on the board of the Colorado Petroleum Association and has donated $1,250 to Fitz-Gerald, Becker said in a press release.

    Seman and Adams said their offices happen to be on the same floor in an office building at 1660 Lincoln St. Seman said neither he nor his company had anything to do with the commercial.

    “Jared did just about a good of job researching this ad as he did researching Amendment 41,” Seman said, referring to a flawed ethics measure Polis bankrolled.

    Politics West’s Jessica Fender got a correction, of sorts, from the Polis campaign:

    Update: After further review, the Polis camp concedes that Corporate Advocates and Jep Seman had nothing to do with the attack ad. But further research found that Steve Adams, the man who is responsible, works for Colorado Communique, a group that represents BP Global among other companies.

    “Our apologies to Mr. Seman,” says Polis campaign manager Robert Becker. “We made the incorrect assumption that he was the big oil lobbyist behind the ads. It appears there’s a different big oil lobbyist behind the ad that happens to share the same office suite.”

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Lobbyists pissed about A-41

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        you dislike A41 too.

        I noted earlier today

        I am curious myself

        All frequent readers no I hammer Polis on 41, vouchers and earlier on his in kinds.

        However, I try to be fair and defend him when attacks are out of line.

        While I don’t mind 527s, I don’t like misleading ones and I care who funds them.

        I find following the money valuable. That’s one of the reasons that Polis recieving donationsfrom Cranberg and the odious McVaney convinces me that Polis supports valuable.  That’s why I wondered what the Swiftboater contributors see in Polis that would prompt them to give to Polis.

        The source of the money behind the ads has not been sourced to my satisfaction ye.

        I find it a significant mistake that the campaign did not do their homework on the source of the money before they counter-attacked.  It reminds me of Jared’s failure to do due diligence on A41 and presages his conduct if elected.  

        • DavidThi808 says:

          You don’t want to wait too long to counter an attack in a campaign, but neither do you want to work from the wrong info. And JP definitely tends toward the too soon approach.

          I do want to know who specifically is funding this other than “some unions.” And do we even know for sure it’s unions? The fact that this guy was head of the AFL-CIO doesn’t mean this is union money.

          • RedGreen says:

            pegged as unions by Bartels in her story a few posts up, based on “tax records” (I would assume that means IRS filings), not based on the AFL-CIO affiliation of Adams.

            It’s interesting that we had better information, collectively, about who was behind the ads in this diary than the Polis campaign managed to come up with. Shoot first, aim later — not always the best policy for a public servant.

    • Libertad says:

      Well after reading all these posts I just had to weigh in.

      Polis campaign: Its the big labor unions using forced dues to kick your teeth in on charter schools, vouchers, education reform and education choice.

      Unions run by democrats, kicking your teeth in on one of your top 2 issues (Iraq and Education).

      Hummmmmmm, common themes prevail.

      Unions = politics, corruption, harassment, forced dues, stagnation of reform, zero progress.

  12. Steve Balboni says:

    He should be pretty thoroughly embarrassed by this episode.

    Maybe he should spend less time posting on blogs and more time focusing on the campaign?

    • Had the Polis campaign been more on-the-ball, they wouldn’t have had to issue a retraction, or cover their butts trying to find some small oil & gas connection to try to defend their statement.  Nor would they have had the person they incorrectly named making sharp elbowed comments that hit close to home against Jared.

      The campaign IMHO missed the opportunity to rail against 527’s and for clean campaigns.  Becker seems determined to promote “Oil & Gas Lover Joan Fitz-Gerald” regardless of how well it fits the occasion.  Like I said earlier – reminds me of Dick Wadhams and his limited vocabulary of “Boulder Liberal Udall.”

  13. Disinterested17 says:

    Polis can buy s seat on the State Board of Education, and try to buy a congressional seat, but he can’t pay for a competent staffer?  Hilarious…

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