UPDATE #2: Conservative opinion site RedState has a lengthy story and interview with Steve House up today that’s worth a read–in which this blog is referred to as the “Daily Kos” of Colorado.
An audio interview performed by former federal agent, and current Vice Chair from Adams County, John Sampson with Julie Naye – the alleged mistress, and her close friend, Lana Fore, was published by the state’s version of Daily Kos yesterday. In the interview Naye adamantly denies the allegations of having an affair with Steve house, and damn if she doesn’t sound convincing. In fact, even the lefty outlet that published the audio noted that if she is lying, she is incredibly good at it.
As it stands now, barring any additional evidence provided by the accusers, it appears that Steve House has been falsely accused by some of the most powerful Republicans in Colorado.
We doubt that’s a compliment, but Kos does get a lot of traffic.
Original post follows…
UPDATE: Liberal group ProgressNow Colorado tries to cut through the noise in a release today: “The people of Colorado need to know that their chief law enforcement officer was not a party to criminal extortion.”
“Here is the big question: did Attorney General Cynthia Coffman discuss the possibility of legal proceedings or action against Steve House in any way to persuade him to resign?” asked ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Nothing in the latest news reports, be it the failure to hire Ted Harvey or the possibility of an extramarital affair, can justify Attorney General Coffman threatening House with legal action–either by her office or another party she may have acted on behalf of. These allegations, if true, may well meet the definition of criminal extortion in Colorado law.”
In interviews granted yesterday to Denver media outlets, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman stated that the confrontation of House at a Denver restaurant on June 15th was motivated by House having “promised people jobs”–a reference to the failure of House to hire former Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey as the party’s executive director.  Coffman claims there were “no threats,” but admitted that an alleged extramarital affair of House’s “came up” in the context of “potential liability, legal liability.” 
“As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman must hold herself to a higher standard,” said Runyon-Harms. “The position of Attorney General is no ordinary elected office. Cynthia Coffman has the power to initiate criminal prosecutions and refer cases to other prosecutors for legal action. That’s why her involvement in this case of alleged criminal extortion is a more serious matter than other political figures who may have been involved. If Coffman was in any way involved in criminal activity, even to sanction it with her presence, she has grossly violated the trust of Colorado voters and cannot remain in office.” [Pols emphasis]
Like a dull knife/ Just ain’t cutting,
Just talking loud/ Then saying nothing.
— James Brown, “Talking Loud and Saying Nothing”
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman finally broke her silence and answered a few reporter questions yesterday evening regarding her involvement in a “coup attempt” against State Republican Party Chair Steve House. Coffman didn’t say much of anything in interviews with the Denver Post and CBS4 Denver — certainly nothing that would eliminate the specter of being involved in blackmail or extortion attempts — and nothing has changed that should make her feel any less concerned that her political career is over.
If nothing else, you know things are going poorly when you have to answer this question, per CBS4’s Shaun Boyd: “Did you blackmail or in any way threaten Steve House?”
Let’s get right to the key points of this scandal:
1. Cynthia Coffman has NOT been cleared of any wrongdoing
There were competing media reports yesterday regarding who may or may not have contacted the Denver District Attorney’s Office or the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the alleged blackmail attempt against House. We heard conflicting answers about who may or may not have contacted law enforcement officers, but what is most important is what they didn’t say: Neither office said they had looked into blackmail claims and found them to be unworthy of an investigation.
We know that Steve House is working with his own private attorney – separate entirely from legal representatives for the State Republican Party – and there is no indication that House is backing away at all from his blackmail claims. The offices of the Denver D.A. and the U.S. Attorney said only that they weren’t involved as of Tuesday; nothing more. Coffman is in the same place she was on Monday — political and career limbo.
2. Why won’t Coffman or anyone else go into detail about their “concerns” with Steve House?
Check out this key section from Boyd’s interview with Coffman on CBS4 Denver:
House says Coffman, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and Pueblo GOP Chair Becky Mizel told him if he didn’t resign they would “out” him for cheating on his wife, which House denies doing.
“He had done things that exposed the party to potential liability, legal liability, and that was the context in which the relationship came up,” Coffman said.
Coffman says they confronted House about a “pattern of lies,” but she repeatedly refused to give examples to CBS4. [Pols emphasis]
This is a critical piece to this entire story. Nobody involved in the June 15 meeting with House – in which the blackmail attempt allegedly took place – will yet comment in detail on why they were so concerned about House leading the Colorado Republican Party. Tom Tancredo, who was involved in the meeting, has repeatedly dodged the question, saying only that he had “grave and serious concerns” about House. Coffman uses the phrase “pattern of lies,” but flat-out refuses to go into detail.
House has already been publicly accused of infidelity, so it’s not like Coffman, Tancredo and friends are keeping quiet because they don’t want to hurt House’s reputation. In a situation like this, where people refuse to elaborate on comments, it is usually because they are being advised by attorneys to remain quiet. If they really had something to say that would deflect attention from the alleged blackmail attempt, why wouldn’t they talk about it?
3. It doesn’t matter if House had an affair or not; the threat of the allegation is how this becomes blackmail/extortion.
Political opponents of House made a big effort yesterday to try to prove that House was indeed having an affair. This attempt backfired spectacularly as an audio recording was released where two women – one of them House’s alleged mistress – openly discussed the fact that this was all a scheme to get House to resign as Party Chair. House continues to assert that he did not have an affair, and there is no evidence to the contrary, but this is irrelevant to the broader scandal anyway. House says that he was threatened with a public charge of infidelity if he refused to resign as Chair; it is the threat of character assassination that makes this rise to the level of blackmail and extortion.
We find it hard to believe that there will not be some sort of investigation into potential blackmail charges involving THE TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE STATE.
Need a Coffmangate Refresher? Catch up with these links: