Markey stomps Musgrave

from the Denver Post

Betsy Markey’s congressional campaign on Monday countered accusations she violated conflict-of-interest rules, presenting documents that show she both divested her interest in and resigned her leadership role in technology firm Syscom Services in 2005.

So Betsy presented documentation that she had removed herself from ownership of and employment by Syscom:

Markey’s campaign spent Monday presenting a faxed copy of her resignation letter from the Syscom board of directors and of a stock-transfer certificate divesting her 51 percent interest to husband Jim Kelly. Both documents are dated Nov. 1, 2005.

Musgrave did fire back:

They show she divested nearly a year after she began in Salazar’s office. And Theilman argued divesting to her husband didn’t really resolve the potential conflict of interest.

“The company still belongs to both of them,” Theilman said. “What kind of phony effort is it to resolve a serious conflict of interest by handing the document to the other side of the kitchen table?”

I don’t think that will carry much weight with voters. First off, with a small company like that, there really isn’t any other option for divesture – it’s not like people are lined up to buy it. And shutting it down would end the jobs of everyone working for it.

Second, there is no example of any way in which Betsy provided any advantage to Syscon. Musgrave’s campaign is claiming a problem, but can’t show even a hint of any gain for Markey.

So Musgrave will probably continue to use this, but I don’t see it gaining much traction.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. redstateblues says:

    Then why was the business still listed as “woman-owned” and getting all of the benefits associated with that?

    Any thoughts from Barron X on this?

    • Middle of the Road says:

      the woman-owned designation didn’t have anything to do with contracts awarded to her company.

      None of Syscom’s federal contracts were awarded specifically because of the designation, according to Federal guidelines encourage government agencies to award 5 percent of contracts to woman-owned businesses.

      Still, it’s a good question that deserves an answer from the Markey campaign.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Is they forgot – but don’t want to admit that. And I would prefer that they speak to that, but it’s probably smarter from a campaign perspective to not do so.

      I think from everything that’s been discussed that it looks like Markey handled this well when she got the job with Salazar.

      Betsy Markey may not have been perfect. But my reading of this is she handled this all very much on the up and up.

    • Barron X says:


      The preference programs I’m aware of are:

      8(a), for small businesses owned or controlled by persons who are socially and economically disadvantaged, who have a net worth under $250K, and who enroll in a training and development program;

      SDB, for small businesses owned by persons socially and economically disadvantaged;  

      HUBZone, for small businesses that are located in distressed areas, and 35% of their employees live in such a Historically Underutilized Business Zone;

      Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses; and

      the broader Small Business set-aside.  

      It is rare for a WOSB to get a contract due to that status.  There is no set-aside or sole source on that basis.  

      More likely, something unofficially reserved for competition between WOSB, if done, would be done without being publicly announced.

      I don’t believe Markey’s company won any contracts on that basis.


      • Barron X says:


        nearly all sole source or “not competed” awards are based on personal relationships.  

        Her company’s government business shot up, doubled, in the time she worked in Salazar’s office.  

        She got those contract awards from people who knew her or someone in the company (maybe her husband.)  

        If the Contracting Officer knew that she worked for the Senator, they violated FAR 3.106 by awarding contracts to her company.  

        In my opinion, this is a clear conflict of interest on her part.  

        The “divestment” looks bogus.  

        She could have taken steps to mitigate the conflict, and maybe she did, but if she did, that information is not public.  

        In my opinion, a reasonable person, with the facts that I have available, would find that there was at least an appearance that she traded on her public position for personal benefit.  It appears to be mildly unethical.  But I do not believe it was illegal.  

        It appears that she won some contracts that she might not have won if she didn’t work for the Senator.  

        But unless some other contractor complains that they were cheated by her actions, and the actions of the government contracting official, then I think she will ride this out.  It’s too complex to get a typical voter to pay attention to.  


      • shrubsrock says:

        so max of 10% on 25,000.  Any other agency has a threshold of 2,500 (or is it 3,000?).  These would be technically competitive (if possible at least three bids), while a relationship is usually needed to get on the notification list, 5-7% is more likely.  Surely this isn’t the basis for Musgrave’s commercial, it wouldn’t make for a good nickname, Hundredaire Markey.  Just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

  2. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    a la Laughing Boy and Libertad, right here on Pols.  Coupled with the divestiture that should satisfy Musty.

    Syscom, I renounce thee !

  3. Go Blue says:

    Can’t anyone in the press call it like they see it anymore or have they all gone spineless?

    This is nothing more than a sham distraction Musgrave is using to get away from talking about the fact that she’s been a part of the deregulatory regime that put us in this economic crisis, where the tax payers are squeezed $700 billion for her ideological economic failures. Let’s not forget we also have troops fighting two wars, a failing health care system and an energy crisis.

    Some in the press grow a fucking pair and ask Musgrave why… why the fuck is she wasting our time on this during a time like this.

    • redstateblues says:

      Musty only has two modes: Attack and lie.

      • Go Blue says:

        Markey responds to ‘desperate’ Musgrave ad by filing complaint

        Congressional candidate Betsy Markey has filed a complaint with the Larimer County district attorney’s office, accusing her rival, U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, of running a false campaign ad – a misdemeanor in Colorado.

        The complaint is the latest in the race between Markey and Musgrave for the 4th Congressional District seat.

        The ad at the center of the complaint claims that Markey “got rich on noncompetitive, Haliburton-style government contracts” and insinuates that Markey used her job as a Senate aide to double the number of contracts awarded to the company that she and her husband founded.

        The Markey campaign maintains that Markey is a victim of character assassination and that Musgrave has offered no evidence to substantiate the claims.

        “Marilyn Musgrave is desperately lashing out at this point, hoping beyond hope that anything will stick, and she will be held accountable for this,” Ben Marter, Markey’s campaign spokesman, said Tuesday.

        It’s about time.

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