TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Veteran political reporter Lynn Bartels is taking a buyout offer and leaving the Denver Post and journalism after 35 years. Colorado is better off because of her dedication to political reporting.
► The Aurora Theater Shooting Trial concluded on Tuesday after 49 days. The 12-person jury begins deliberations today on whether or not they agree with the defense’s argument that alleged killer James Holmes should be declared not guilty be reason of insanity. If the jury agrees with the insanity plea, then Holmes will be remanded to a state mental hospital; if the jury finds Holmes to be guilty, the case moves to a sentencing phase where jurors will discuss the death penalty.
► Colorado’s Republican Congressional delegation is going bananas over a foreign policy deal between the U.S., Iran and five other nations. Many, many Republicans immediately jumped to condemn the Iran deal — even if they admittedly hadn’t even read it yet.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is going to have to address the Coffmangate elephant in his room at some point
► The Pueblo County Republican Party is firing on no cylinders. Embattled Party Chair Becky Mizel, a key figure in the Coffmangate Scandal, resigned late Monday because of internal disputes over the finances of the Pueblo GOP. As KRDO Pueblo reports, the Pueblo GOP is bouncing checks and has launched an investigation into potential financial improprieties:
Several Pueblo County Republican leaders have ordered an audit of the party’s finances amidst allegations that the party’s former treasurer, Jeff Fogg, mishandled the party’s money.
Acting party chair Victor Head announced during the GOP’s monthly meeting on Tuesday that the party’s bank transactions and accounting records have been submitted to an independent auditor. Last week, party leaders said financial irregularities surfaced after a check bounced. Brian Mater, a member of the party’s advisory committee, along with Head investigated the incident and found several discrepancies.
Party leaders said they uncovered several other returned checks, large cash withdrawals and deposits, and expenses that didn’t appear to be connected to party business. They also found the county’s bank account had been moved among multiple banks and found bank transactions that had not appeared in financial reports.
► Surprise! According to a new cost estimate, construction costs for three parking complexes at the still-under-construction Aurora VA Hospital will cost three times more than expected: A whopping $180 million for a bunch of car holes.
► As expected, state Senator Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) was unanimously approved by the Democratic caucus to replace Sen. Morgan Carroll as Senate Minority Leader. Carroll resigned her leadership post earlier this month in order to focus on her campaign for Congress in CD-6.
► Vice President Joe Biden will visit Colorado on July 21 to discuss the economy.
► Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) is getting national praise for her work to move legislation called the 21st Century Cures Act.
► The Pentagon is getting closer to open acceptance of transgender soldiers, which is big news for one particular service member at Fort Carson.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Conspiracy theorists in Texas — including Gov. Greg Abbott — are worried that the U.S. military is out to get them. Or perhaps the United Nations. Or maybe NATO.
► If you should ever have the misfortune of spending time in a Mexican prison, you might ask for the same cell that once held escaped narco boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. Just take care not to fall into the giant hole in the shower.
► Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is threatening to take Congress hostage once again unless he gets what he wants (aside from more attention). From Politico:
Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday raised the prospect of blocking a must-pass highway bill because the measure could be used to revive the Export-Import Bank, which expired at the end of June.
Cruz, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, vigorously opposes the bank, which helps some U.S. exporters sell their goods overseas. At a news conference with other conservative GOP lawmakers and outside groups Wednesday, Cruz vowed to use “any and all procedural tools” to stop an Ex-Im reauthorization, particularly if it were attached to the highway bill later this month.
Remember the good old days, when Senators drafted legislation to tackle their pet issues rather than hijack everything else?
► Famous person Donald Trump is meeting with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz today so that they can discuss what it will be like to not be elected President.
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