Local GOP Operatives (Still) Can’t Get Their Facts Straight

In response to contemporary political events both nationally and here in Colorado, Republican message operatives have started off the week…well, badly. We’ll take just a brief moment to correct two laughably inaccurate opinion pieces from the last 48 hours–the first being a column defending GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, penned by 2013 Colorado Senate recall spokesperson Jennifer Kerns:

They say numbers don’t lie.

Then neither does Donald Trump when it comes to illegal immigration.

While Donald Trump continues to make waves with his recent comments regarding illegal immigration, FBI crime statistics and other data reveal an interesting revelation: Donald Trump was right.

GOP spokesperson Jennifer Kerns.

GOP spokesperson Jennifer Kerns.

No doubt Donald Trump is looking for (and most likely paying for) defenders in the wake of his highly controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants during his campaign launch speech. But as our readers know well from the 2013 recalls and subsequent tall tales about marijuana “crack babies,” Jennifer Kerns is not really a devotee of, you know, accuracy.

As she amply demonstrates defending Trump:

According to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement report provided to Congress, just 1,000 illegal immigrant criminals tracked by ICE “had amassed nearly 88,000 convictions among them including 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions, and 16,070 drunken- or drugged-driving convictions.”

Folks, this statement is factually ridiculous. The report Kerns links to in truth says that of some 36,000 undocumented immigrants released by ICE, 1,000 re-offended. The 88,000 figure was for the original offenses committed by this much larger group (and keep in mind that many convictions involve several offenses). The truth is, this is a much smaller rate of recidivism than that of the general American public–a study by the National Institutes of Justice found that among released prisoners in America, fully 67% of prisoners were re-arrested in three years, 56% of them within the first year. That’s rather worse than 1 in 36.

In short? Jennifer Kerns is absolutely, utterly full of shit. Either she misread the report she cited, or she didn’t care if she got her facts right. Judging from her previous work, we suspect the answer is both.

Jonathan Lockwood of Advancing Colorado.

Jonathan Lockwood of Advancing Colorado.

Our second example of conservatives screwing up their most basic facts comes from Advancing Colorado, a relatively new conservative front group operated by Koch-funded activist Jonathan “Stop Being Poor” Lockwood. From a press release yesterday, lamenting the Colorado Supreme Court’s refusal to take up a case challenging the 2009 FASTER road and bridge fees:

“The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to not review the case is disappointing,” said Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood. “This decision shows how important it is for us to defend the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, because without it we would have little to no protection from government using us as unlimited ATMs. The more that government seeks to exempt itself from TABOR, the more concerned Coloradans should be.”

In 2009, Gov. John Hickenlooper created the CBE through the “Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act” (FASTER)… [Pols emphasis]

Now, we could spend some time deconstructing Lockwood’s vacuous argument about how the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is the only thing stopping Big Bad Gubmint from turning you into an “unlimited ATM.” After all, that hasn’t happened in the states that don’t have TABOR, which if you haven’t heard is, well, all the other states. To be honest, we’re not sure what exactly Lockwood means by that at all.

But one thing we do know is this: John Hickenlooper wasn’t governor in 2009. And we feel like we can stop reading right there.

Bottom line: Colorado has emerged as a critically important swing state. Large amounts of money and human capital flow into our state every election cycle now as Colorado has become a competitive battleground at every level, from school boards to the presidential race. And we consider this overall to be a very good thing.

But please, please make sure the people you hire are not clueless.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Au contrare, I'm completely fine if they want to keep parachuting in overpaid idiots.

  2. Moderatus says:

    Let him who is without sin cast the first stone, Colorado Pols.

    • BlueCat says:

      Pretty sure ColPols is without the sin of knowing when who was guv when in recent times. If they had any doubt about one from the past pretty sure they'd bother to check. Weak tea, modster. Once again, you've got nothing but whining.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Moderatus, as a fellow conservative, I'll offer you this.  "…..lamenting the Colorado Supreme Court's refusal to take up a case challenging the 2009 FASTER road and bridge fees…….."  Exactly how are our roads and bridges supposed to be maintained, especially since the Federal Highway Fund is in process of completely running out of money? I wouldn't mind hearing Mr. Lockwood's answer to that question. I'm not holding my breath waiting.

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        Three words, two hyphenated…..market-based solutions.

        Read Moddy’s lips: no new taxes (or users’ fees).

      • Davie says:

        Oh I'm sure Mr. Lockwood could come up with plenty of solutions to raise money — raise the sales tax on anything wealthy Republicans wouldn't dream of buying — used cars, used clothes, charge a tax on rent payments, oh, and naturally, a surtax on payday loans!

        See — money is falling from trees to maintain our roads if you just give people enough incentive to not stay poor!

      • Moderatus says:

        We could stop the irresponsible expansion of social program giveaways and fund what matters to a free society?

        • BlueCat says:

          By social program "give aways" I suppose you mean feeding children, treating poor people who get sick, providing child care, job training, housing assistance stuff like that? We kind of think those things are important to a free society and also save us lots of money. But don't take it from a liberal. Check out conservative Republican Utah where they've discovered housing the homeless, a free give away, saves everyone money and actually leads to people getting jobs and becoming self sufficient. See Kansas for how well your ideal works.  They put into practice every screwy cut/austerity/government shrinking thing your side believes works and they can't even afford to keep their public schools open for a full term.

          Turns out, those "give aways" are actually investments with good returns and without them everything goes to hell pretty quick. Turns out conservative economics really is voodoo garbage.

          • MapMaker says:

            The "border fence" would do at least as much good if it were placed around Kansas.

            The Dickensian ideal is being realized by our neighbors. Mudlark, tosher and 8 year old factory workers are becoming youth job descriptions. For conservatives (ie. Moderatus and AC but not you, CHB) people begging and dying in the streets is a good thing.

            As far as investment in education goes, it's against conservative best intrests. Uneducated people vote for the Republicans of the world.

            Social programs for businesses that pollute our environment and send our industry and jobs overseas are just fine, however.


  3. Denver Yankee says:

    Jennifer Kerns has been a frequent on-air guest of the KLZ Liberty Lineup (aka The Teabagger Troika).  With their welcome departures, her platform in Colorado is severely diminished.  Good riddance.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    Nice job, Pols.

    Lockwood claims that he's "not cashing any checks from Generation Opportunity", and that the "Kochs don't pay Advancing Colorado's bills",  but then if you have direct deposit, you don't have to cash checks. Also, Advancing Colorado has no expenses other than staff salaries, and minor office and website expenses – its address is a residential Denver apartment.

    Lockwood worked for the Charles Koch Institute in 2014, was Generation Opportunity's Exec Director from 2014-2015 (GenOp is almost totally funded by the Kochs). Before that he worked for Compass Colorado, (lobbies and supports Republican and conservative causes) and Coalition for Real Education Reform (CRER – which worked  to defeat Amendment 66) and Free Colorado, which helped fund the recalls in 2013. Before that, he worked for Mike Coffman as a legislative aide.

    Advancing Colorado's Board includes now-unemployed "Liberty Lineup" talk radio host Ken Clark, Republican Study Committee (legislative "think tank") Director Richard Bratten, and Lockwood. So if it's not pure Koch-funded, its leaders are coming from conservative,extremist,Republican groups.

    Advancing CO (AC) is probably at least partly Koch-funded, since its messages are pure Koch – the anti-Obamacare message is the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which is a Koch group. The message to close the Export Import bank is a Koch message, high priority right now, and it may be a factor in the next time Republicans try to hold the government hostage by threat of shutdown. Keeping TABOR in place is a Compass Colorado and Independence Institute / Heritage Foundation priority. The two local issues – the red lights bill and the FASTER fees – are probably Lockwood's own priorities to gain grassroots support, by coming out against "Big government" and "Higher taxes".

    AC has applied to be a 501c4 nonprofit, which would mean that it wouldn't have to disclose donors or make tax returns public, and donations would not be tax-deductible.  So we may not ever, unless Citizens United is amended or reversed, find out the full truth about the funding of these dark money groups.

    But inferring from the issues and promoted messages, and that its executive director has spent the last two years being paid from the Koch brothers, it's fair to call Lockwood a "Koch-funded activist".




  5. Duke Cox says:

    But please, please make sure the people you hire are not clueless.


    Kind of hard to do when the people doing the hiring are just as clueless….

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