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June 09, 2016 03:07 PM UTC

Jon Keyser's Forgeries: The Post-Perp Walk Question Remains

  • by: Colorado Pols
Jon Keyser.
Jon Keyser.

Last night, 9NEWS aired a jailhouse interview with Maureen Moss, the petition gatherer accused of forging dozens of Republican voter signatures for petitions on behalf of Jon Keyser’s U.S. Senate campaign–what’s been arithmetically determined to be a sufficient number of forged signatures to account for the extremely small margin by which Keyser qualified the ballot in the First Congressional District.

Unfortunately for Keyser and the professional signature gatherers his campaign hired to get him on the ballot, Moss did little to clear them of ongoing questions about how her obvious forgeries were submitted by the campaign as valid signatures.

In fact, she may have made it much worse.

“I have forged signatures, yes,” Moss said.

Prosecutors allege from Feb. 24 through March 31, Moss submitted at least 34 forged signatures to her employer, Denver-based Black Diamond Outreach, which then submitted them to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser’s campaign.

Jefferson and Arapahoe County prosecutors worked with Denver deputy district attorneys for a unitary prosecution in Denver District Court…

After Jon Keyser’s on-camera meltdown when confronted about alleged forged petitions by Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger in mid-May, the campaign belatedly switched messages from repeating the words “I’m on the ballot” to distancing themselves from the people and companies they hired to conduct the petition drive. It’s a defense that would have been far better for Keyser if he had had the presence of mind to offer it immediately–instead of going into hiding for days followed by that disastrous first appearance. Obviously, the apologists would say, Keyser’s campaign didn’t know this lady was forging signatures. Right?

Well, as Maureen Moss tells us from jail and her former employers corroborate, that’s not so simple. At all.

Arrest records say Moss’s employers “noticed something fishy with the M’s” on her petitions “approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the campaign.”

…Black Diamond Outreach told investigators they weren’t “able to fire her after Ms. Moss denied twice, she didn’t do anything wrong, so she continued collecting signatures for the Keyser campaign.” [Pols emphasis]

Moss was fired May 11, the day after media reports surfaced indicating at least some signatures were fake.

Do you understand what is being admitted to here? Keyser’s signature gathering outfit detected Moss’ fraud halfway through the campaign. We shouldn’t have to remind readers that this was really obvious fraud, with Moss making no attempt to change up her handwriting or anything else to make these forgeries appear unique.

And yet the Keyser campaign took her word that these obviously forged signatures were genuine.

Herein lies the problem. Keyser’s campaign barely submitted enough “valid” signatures to qualify for the ballot, only clearing the margin of sufficiency in CD-1 by 20 signatures. We know now that the Secretary of State does not verify petition signatures in the manner that mail ballot signatures are verified. We didn’t know that until this scandal broke.

But we’d bet money that Black Diamond Outreach knew.

In a situation where you know you are very tight on the margin of signatures needed, and you know the Secretary of State doesn’t check petition signatures for forgery, and you’re faced with a petition gatherer who has obviously forged petition signatures you know will probably pass muster…

Sorry, folks. The questions will not end with Maureen Moss’ perp walk.


14 thoughts on “Jon Keyser’s Forgeries: The Post-Perp Walk Question Remains

  1. You'll never know if this is true and it doesn't matter. This is a witch hunt. Moss committed the crime and Keyser knew nothing about it.

      1. I actually think keyser is the victim here.  I also think he is as dumb as a box of rocks fot the way he handled that reporter. I would have told him I intend to sue the petition firm and the forger to put them out of business .  And I would have done that the first time he called.  There is such a thing as felony stupid and keyser is guilty of that.

      2. How can he deny it, and how can Keyser deny it? It's 100% true. Why didn't the petition collection firm just cross out the signatures they felt were forged? Isn't it smarter for them to err on the side of caution and let the Sec. of State office or "substantial compliance" via a court ruling sort this whole thing out? On a petition for a liquor license in Fort Collins, the applicant can cross out suspected invalid entries with a red pen. This isn't rocket science, here. They could have fired her since it was before the signatures were to be turned in and hire someone in her place to get as many signatures as possible. This system is ripe for abuse, and the reality could also be that these firms know how to work the system with what flies and what doesn't. None of this changes the fact that despite all of this, Keyser's first response was, "I'm on the ballot".

    1. Whether Mr. Keyser knew about it is, in the first instance, irrelevant because no candidate should be on the ballot who doesn't have enough valid lawful signatures. At the moment, its obvious Mr. Keyser never had enough valid signatures in the first congressional district and therefore should never have been on the primary ballot. 

      Second, Black Diamond admitted to the investigators that it questioned Moss' "M's" when she was gathering signatures but didn't pursue their suspicions based on the lame explanation that she denied any wrong doing. One would think, the Black Diamond managers are experienced signature gathers and would exercise their own independent judgment as to whether the signatures were forged on the petitions Moss' carried. Of course, they were hired by Mr. Keyser to gather sufficient signatures to put him on the ballot and they knew as their work progressed that they barely had enough total signatures in the first congressional district. That raises a question about Black Diamond. They were suspicious about Moss' petition signatures so did they simply push those suspicions aside because they knew they needed her signatures to qualify Mr. Keyser and did they ever discuss this situation among themselves or with Mr. Keyser?

      Finally, the third issue. When Marshal Zelinger  from Channel 7 broke this story, I believe Mr. Keyser said his campaign checked the signatures on the petitions two or three times before submitting them to the Secretary of State. Who checked his petitions and did they speak with Black Diamond or Mr. Keyser about the petitions Moss carried and, if they did, what was the nature of those conversations? 

      1. When Democratic groups gather petition signatures, we usually note to the Secretary of State which ones we consider to be suspicious and then allow government to do its work. Either that wasn't done here, or it was done and the Secretary of State's office refused to act on the information. Both are plausible, and any hint that warning signs were ignored should be followed for indications of scandal.

        Keyser's only fault is that he should have stepped out of the race once it became clear that he only made the ballot because of the forged signatures. Well – that, and running a horrible campaign aside from his ballot problems.

    2. Awkward dilemma: Keyser either knew or didn't. I'm willing to go along with Moderatus and agree he didn't know initially. But we then have to wonder WHEN he learned of the problems and what he's willing to do. The response of "I'm on the ballot" and assuming the identification of the problem was an attack from partisans supporting Bennet shows he still didn't know the full extent of the problem. When he eventually DID know something, he relies on the technicality of the challenge being outside the time limit to say "I am on the ballot."

      Over a month into the scandal and Keyser still has not explained the full extent of the problem and has not said what he intends to do about it. Just the characteristics for a politician designed to irritate many: "I'm not responsible, I couldn't find anything out, I'm not responsible, it's a problem from my opponent, I'm not responsible, it could be a problem but I'm not going to notice there was a lack of managerial competence to supervise basic work, I'm on the ballot and you should vote for me."

      1. If Keyser ran his campaign like previous Republican US Senate candidates, this would not be an issue. Other campaigns did a combination of volunteer and contracted petition carriers – but every one of the petition carriers were checked for voter registration before they were even given a petition. Added to that, the campaign staff (as in Keyser's responsibility) checked every petition to look for inaccuracies, including fraudulent signatures (they're easy to spot), and when questions arose, those petitions were NOT notarized (with a legal seal which must be one the document but apparently SoS Wayne Williams relaxed those rules). So bottom line is, Keyser is negligible because of his choices in hiring his campaign team petitioner contractor who subcontracted the work.

    3. Moddy, how, precisely, do you know that "Keyser knew nothing about it"?  Frankly, I tend to agree with you, knowing how petition gathering works, but I can also admit that I don't know one way or the other if Keyser knew.  More importantly, this is not a witch hunt.  This is a significant criminal investigation that relates to how Keyser gained access to the ballot.  I'm not suggesting he did anything wrong.  But I am saying that how he has addressed this situation reflects extremely badly on his character.  I know lots of candidates in his situation would have done the honorable thing and taken themselves off the ballot as a selfless act of protecting electoral integrity.  That would be noble, and a testament to that candidate's character.  Keyser has done the opposite, and demonstrated bad character.  Hoist with his own petard.

      1. It's a GOPer thing:

        Moddy's ignorance . . . 

        Keyser's ignorance . . . 

        Moddy's ignorance of Keyser's ignorance . . . 

        Moddy's ignorance of Keyser's knowledge . . .

        and, Moddy's knowledge of Keyser's ignorance . . .

        Ignorance abides!

  2. Relax, Modster. If the only way that Team Keyser could come up with enough signatures is via forgery, whether he knew about it or not (let's say not, OK?) his chances of winning the nomination and going on to win the Senate seat are zilch anyhow so…… nothing for you to worry your little head about.

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