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July 12, 2017 2:20 pm MST

Inauspicious Start for Colorado SOS Candidate

  • by: Colorado Pols
Jena Griswold, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State

Democrats have at least four candidates vying for Attorney General, and another four hoping to be the Party’s nominee for Congress in CD-6. Republicans have four or five candidates for State Treasurer now that Polly Lawrence has made her intentions known. Everybody and their mother is running for Governor.

Until today, the one high-profile race in 2018 that had yet to attract more than one candidate was for Secretary of State, where incumbent Republican Wayne Williams had been sailing along all by himself. Democrats now have a challenger for Williams, as the Denver Post reports:

A Democratic candidate for the state’s top elections job is calling Donald Trump’s voter fraud panel “a sham commission” and blasting Secretary of State Wayne Williams for his “rash decision” to comply.

“We need to call the commission what it is and be very careful about how we are dealing with the commission,” said Jena Griswold, a former voting rights attorney for the Obama campaign and member of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration.

Griswold, a 32-year-old from Louisville, filed paperwork Wednesday to challenge the Republican incumbent in the 2018 election.

And who, you may ask, is Jena Griswold? Let’s go back to the Post story for the answer:

Griswold’s passion for elections law blossomed when she joined the 2012 Obama campaign’s team of voter protection attorneys. She later served as Hickenlooper’s Washington, D.C., liaison, working to help get federal emergency recovery dollars after the devastating 2013 floods.

Now she works as outside counsel to a company she wouldn’t name [Pols emphasis] and works on public policy issues as part of her firm, Griswold Strategies.


There are a lot of tough questions in politics. “Who do you work for?” is not one of them.


9 thoughts on “Inauspicious Start for Colorado SOS Candidate

  1. Kind of funny that someone with that little regard for disclosure chose to run for Secretary of State.  Reminds me of a guy who ran for Sheriff in Wyoming while he was in the witness protection program.

    Self-awareness does not go hand-in-hand with people running for public office.

  2. The notion that declining to name one's clients on demand is somehow nefarious is more than a little silly, but since 1983 or so I haven't been able to take anyone named Griswold seriously. I see that name and automatically hear:

    I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well, I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. You're gonna have fun, and I'm gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we're gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your assholes!

  3. Sort of ironic that my recollection of someone named "Griswold" comes from the Supreme Court:  Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), is a landmark case in the United States in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution, through the Bill of Rights, implies a fundamental right to privacy.

    Surely this Colorado Griswold deserves a bit of privacy, too.

    By a 7–2 majority, the Supreme Court concluded that the Connecticut statute was unconstitutional.

    Justice William O. Douglas, writing for the majority of the court, recognized the right to privacy, even though not enumerated in the Bill of Rights, is found in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional protections, such as the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment, or the freedom of association clause of the First Amendment. The right to privacy is seen as a right to "protect[ion] from governmental intrusion."

  4. Any candidate for Secretary of State of Colorado will be haunted by the conflict-ridden ghost of Scott Gessler.

    Gessler infamously tried to keep working at his old election law firm, which had clients and cases having to do with campaigns and election law, while serving as Secretary of State.  He protested that he had to do it because $68K a year was just not enough money.

    He also tried to charge a trip to an election law conference to the petty cash fund of the Sec State office, and got nailed for it.

    So Griswold, or any other candidate for this office, must reveal clients and employment and be squeaky clean – no conflicts of interest, no possible ethics violations. If her client has a case having to do with voting rights or election law in Colorado, that probably needs to be put out on the table.

  5. Not an inauspicious start in the least. Cool it on the hater-aid, friends. 

    Jena will answer the tough questions as she goes along. Outside of that – impressive resume. I look forward to her campaign (even from here in California). 

    Wayne is my friend and I think he's done a great job. That said – all officials should have a great opponent. If Jena gets the nod, I think she would make it a solid race. 

  6. Under Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct (the rules that regulate attorneys) 1.6(a), "A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by [other exceptions not applicable here]."

    As such, her client may not have authorized disclosure of the representation.  Of course, it would be nice if the client did so to avoid this sort of situation, but she's meeting her ethical mandate under the rules if the client did not.

    1. Who can ever forget the shit show that ran in Colorado Senate race in 1996 over some of Tom Strickland's firm's clients….

      Then again, if a presidential candidate can refuse to divulge his tax returns and win a majority of electoral votes, then maybe Griswold can decline to disclose.

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