Coffmangate Update: Nothing Changed, Coffman Still in Serious Trouble

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…

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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. [1] 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.” [2]

“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]

—–

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

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:

The Strange Story of the Coup Attempt Within the Colorado Republican Party

Cynthia Coffman’s Political Career is Over. Done. Kaput.

Cynthia’s House of Cards: Dial ‘B’ for Blackmail

Mystery Character #4 Revealed in Coffmangate Scandal

EXCLUSIVE: Coffman-gate Scandal is About to go Nuclear

Right-Wing Blog Unwittingly Confirms Steve House Blackmail (Now, With Audio!)

 

38 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Progressicat says:

    She actually did say something about why.  In the Denver Post article, she's quoted as saying:

    He [House] had promised people jobs and turned and maligned those people and made up false accusations to justify not offering them employment.

    So, she feels that House promised jobs (probably the one to Harvey that's been mentioned before, among others) and reneged.  My guess is that the affair and resignation were their only idea to get House out (out House?).

    This is likely the "pattern of lies" she mentions, and she wants to paint House as a liar because the alternative seems to be that she's an extortionist (or an accessory or co-conspirator).  I wouldn't expect her to detail the lies because, if her accusation is true, it's a litany of patronage, twisted personal allegations (some probably with a grain or more of truth), etc. that she and her cohorts probably think is worse than the drama currently surrounding the party.

  2. BlueCat says:

    If you missed it read this excellent analysis of what might really be going on here from mama:

    mamajama55 says:

    June 24, 2015 at 10:27 AM MDT

    So here's my latest take on all this:

    – See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/72679/right-wing-blog-unwittingly-confirms-steve-house-blackmail#sthash.MX9OCEWh.QoDZRD1A.dpuf

  3. Davie says:

    Ooh, Ooh, the "OutHouse Three" scandal 😉

  4. FrankUnderwood says:

    Anyone care to speculate as to whom Hick might appoint if, hypothetically, Coffman were to resign for any reason? (And keep in mind, the replacement would need to be confirmed by Bill Cadman's senate.)

    • Progressicat says:

      Ken Salazar?  Good caretaker (wouldn't run for the job),  been there.  I guess the Senate might reject him if they think he's a likely 2018 candidate for governor, but even that's a way off.

      • BlueCat says:

        They might not want a Dem that popular with moderate Rs (still some moderate R voters if not pols) and moderate indies (where most of the moderate Rs went) getting back into office going into the next gubernatorial election. 2018 isn't far at all in Colorado gubernatorial politics and he's just the kind of center right Dem that's won the last few.  Do they want to help Salazar get it? I bet not. Rs would probably prefer more of a no name.

        • dustpuppy says:

          No on Ken Salazar. No more New Democrats. Please.

          We need progressive Democrats, and one needs to be ready to primary the fuck out of Bennet.

          • gertie97 says:

            And who would you suggest to run a primary against Bennet, DP?

            • FrankUnderwood says:

              They don't have anyone, that's their problem. You hear belly-aching from D.P. and a few others about Bennet but when they're asked to put up or shut up, they have no one to put up.

              I'm definitely not a Bennet shill – I voted for Romo six years ago in the primary (although had he won, I'm not sure he would have been much better than Bennet) but it gets tedious listening to these folk.

              And Blue Cat hits the nail on the head by pointing out the inconsistencies in their positions. Much of the stuff they bitch about with Bennet involves the same policy choices that Obama has made yet they are silent in criticizing Obama.

              They really can’t explain why what is acceptable for Obama to do is an abomination when done by Bennet.

               

              • Duke Cox says:

                They don't have anyone, that's their problem.

                You are right. It is our problem…yours, too.

                If I thought I had a snowballs' chance in hell of beating him I would run against him myself…but I don't.

                It is also tedious, Frank, to listen to the constant apologizing for Thurston I read here and elsewhere every day. I have criticized the president for numerous positions, including his TPP love…not to mention the fucking CIA "murder by drone" program…and his too cozy relationship with Jamie Dimon. But he is not running for re-election…Thurston is…

                As BC frequently points out, "Johnny does it, too" is what we expect from AC…it is not an effective defense strategy.

                Is there no Democrat with gravitas and stature sufficient to run a viable campaign against our aristocratic Senator? Is there not an experienced legislator who is willing to challenge the money machine??

                I will grudgingly vote for Senator Bennet until a better option arises…then I will not hesitate to support any progressive candidate who attempts to unseat the taller of our two corporate senators…

                 

                • BlueCat says:

                  As long as your dragging me into this it's nothing to do with Johnny does it too. The simple fact is Obama and Bennet are as close to identical as any two pols could possibly be on pretty much everything so it makes zero sense for one to be someone with whom you may have differences but do not despise, far from it, while completely despising the other. No one will ever be able to make me see that as in any way rational but we've all been over this a zillion times so it's a subject on which we'll just have to agree to disagree. 

                   

                   

                   

                  • Duke Cox says:

                    one to be someone with whom you may have differences but do not despise, far from it, while completely despising the other.

                    That is the difficulty we have in understanding each other, my azul amiga. I don't despise Senator Bennet. That implies some sort of emotional response to him and his job as senator. I simply want him replaced with someone not wholly owned by Goldman Sachs..someone who might actually know a poor person and care about their circumstances.

                    The point is, I have some ability to affect the outcome during his next campaign. I cannot have a similar effect on the re-election of the rest of the Senate"corporate caucus'…Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, etc.

                    So I will keep calling him out and you can keep defending him…it's what we do here…smiley

                     

                     

                    • BlueCat says:

                      The difficulty we have in understanding each other as I see it is that you haven't noticed I'm not defending  Bennet. My point is that it's strange to have such widely divergent opinions, as several here appear to have, toward two politicians who are 99% alike on the issues. It's a point that posits no for or against, no attacking or defending of either party. I can only conclude that you folks just like Obama better for non-objective reasons. Nothing wrong with that. He is a lot more likeable.

                    • Duke Cox says:

                       haven't noticed I'm not defending  Bennet.

                      a valid point BC…I am not immune to misinterpretation… that is a bit of a fuzzy, tangential area semantically.

                      I am focusing on Bennet for the reason I stated, which I think is quite objective. But also because there is no chorus of howling racists and republican crybabies bashing him 24/7, like that endured by President Obama…I think there is some objective justification for refraining from being a part of that chorus, however one may disagree with the presidents' policies..

                      This is not by way of disagreeing with your point about the contradiction, as much as trying to explain what appears to you as an emotional or somehow illogical response, but has a logical and objective angle as well.

                      In any case, BC, it is always engaging to trade ideas and wrestle in the semantic pit with you….after all these years, you inspire me still…..

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        He does have the job experience but Blue Cat is right, the Repubs will not want to confirm someone who has a track record of pulling GOP voters over to the Dem side.

         

      • marklane1351 says:

        Smart money has Ken running for Governor.

    • OrangeFree says:

      2014 GOP runner-up Mark Waller. 

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        Maybe as their candidate in '18 but he'll have to explain to the party faithful how he lost to Cynthia in '14. Had he run a better campaign, he could have spared the GOP all the drama it's current enduring……

         

        • OrangeFree says:

          Why would he have to explain to the party faithful how he couldn't beat their's and Suthers' hand-picked successor? He could have run the best campaign in the world and still would have lost to Coffman, who was basically AG-in-waiting. 

          That being said, I threw out Waller's name because I don't think Hick is politically astute enough to pick a mere seat filler, thus denying the GOP a candidate who can lean on incumbency. He'd pick the runner up of the nominating race for an easy confirmation and the appearance of it being non-political. 

           

        • BlueCat says:

          Remember Hick is a Dem Governor. 

  5. Progressicat says:

    Welcome to the party, Red State.

    Allegations & Innuendo Fly in Failed Colorado GOP Coup Attempt

    Hey, Pols, maybe you guys should Photoshop up a picture from Game of Thrones.  It's starting to feel like the more appropriate metaphor.

  6. Progressicat says:

    Lol, and apparently Coffmangate and Tommy Tanc have blown up KLZ AM too.

  7. BlueCat says:

    “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. – See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/72758/coffmangate-update-nothing-changed-coffman-still-in-serious-trouble#sthash.qip31zf4.dpuf

    Why would an alleged extramarital affair just "come up" in the context of legal liability for the party?  Why should such an allegation be part of a discussion about supposedly failing to honor job offers at all? This makes it very difficult to believe that House is lying about being threatened with exposure and suits and that Cofffman and Co. are going to be able to clear all this up with proof of how completely legit and not at all questionable this meeting was at some as yet to be determined future date instead of days ago or right now.

    I no longer believe there is the slightest possibility that this didn't go down substantially as House has described and as Coffman, Tanc and the rest have completely failed to convincingly counter.

  8. marklane1351 says:

    When lawyers want dodge questions they say, "We cannot comment on current or potential legal procedings In this case people don't want to talk about a controversy..

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