Ken Buck Comes Crawling Back To The Big Lie

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

One of the more surprising developments in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election was the attempt by Colorado Republican Party chairman Rep. Ken Buck to debunk the false allegations of election fraud which underpinned now ex-President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the result. In early December, as the misinformed anger that would boil over into insurrection on January 6th was building, Buck went so far as to convene a virtual town hall attended by hundreds of local Republicans in which Buck and Republican county clerks assured the party faithful that the election was accurate and secure–at least in Colorado, even though our all-mail ballot election system tabulated in large part by Dominion Voting Systems hardware amounts to everything Trump baselessly blamed for his defeat in other states.

After Rep. Buck unexpectedly came to the defense of Colorado’s election system in the face of Trump’s denials, he was criticized by Trump loyalists for his choice of fact over partisan fiction. A few weeks later, Buck announced his decision to not run again for the job of state party chairman, and as of today both of the frontrunners in the race to succeed Buck in that job are campaigning on the Big Lie of a stolen 2020 election.

Well folks, sometime between early December when we praised Ken Buck for showing integrity and today, something happened to Buck’s backbone:

In a turnabout so jarring it will give you whiplash, the 2020 elections that Ken Buck defended last December are now something we don’t want to repeat! And even though most of what Buck is warning about above is already law in Colorado–you know, the same law Buck defended–it’s suddenly wrong to apply those standards uniformly across the country? Everybody knows that Republicans are mobilizing against HR1, but Rep. Buck wasn’t obligated to open his mouth and provide a receptacle for his waiting foot.

Our disappointment is genuine. It was one of the best things Ken Buck did in his whole career.

And now Buck has flushed that goodwill, and the credibility that came with it, down the toilet.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 2)

Happy Birthday, Gorby! Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader and a great ’80s movie villain, turns 90 years old today. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

We’re not out of the Coronavirus woods just yet, people! From The Washington Post:

The global number of new coronavirus cases rose for the first time in nearly two months, the World Health Organization said Monday, blaming the surge in infections on circulating variants and premature efforts to lift public health restrictions.

Cases over the past week jumped in every region except for Africa and the Western Pacific, the U.N. agency said, after declining for six weeks straight. In the United States, a steady drop in new cases last month also appeared to be leveling off and there are fears it could reverse course amid yet another wave of infections.

And now, the good news: More than 75% of Colorado educators and childcare workers should receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week. Colorado is also expected to receive its first allotment of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the next couple of days.

Finally, back to some less-good news: Colorado officials think at least 800 people have contacted COVID-19 twice, but accurate data is hard to assemble.

 

► And now, your state legislature update:

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, Democratic lawmakers are considering a package of legislation to give tenants more power in dealing with landlords:

Likely to be piled into at least five separate bills, their proposals include creating a new state eviction moratorium that possibly runs into 2022; changing eviction court policies to give tenants more time and flexibility to resolve cases; and limiting fees for late payments and breaking leases.

Elsewhere, a safe storage gun bill has made it through its first committee hearing.

Legislation to remove the statute of limitations for child sexual assault crimes made it through the State Senate.

Democratic leaders in the State House are opposed to legislation that would allow for the privatization of Pinnacol Assurance, which handles workers’ compensation insurance for many public workers.

Westword is tracking all the weed bills.

Republican lawmakers who pressed ahead with a ludicrous school voucher bill have significantly hurt their ability to have this discussion for years to come.

 

The New York Times previews President Biden’s efforts to pass a big infrastructure package in Congress:

President Biden’s two immediate predecessors had ambitious goals to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, but both left office having made little progress in fixing the nation’s bridges, roads, pipes and broadband. President Donald J. Trump announced so many meaningless infrastructure weeks that the term became a running joke of his administration.

As a candidate, Mr. Biden went further than either Mr. Trump or President Barack Obama by promising to pass a multitrillion-dollar package intended to create jobs and help the United States compete with China. And if anything, his first month in office, in which a power crisis in Texas left millions of people in need of water and electricity, has underscored the urgency of upgrading the nation’s aging structural underpinnings.

But while the goal of addressing the United States’ infrastructure is bipartisan, the details are not. That includes how much to spend, what programs count as “infrastructure” and, most important, whether to raise taxes to pay for it.

You can probably just skip over the part in the story where politicos ponder the possibility that Republicans will do anything helpful on improving our nation’s infrastructure.

 

According to Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the big COVID stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives last week includes more than $400 billion dollars for funding abortions in America. If Boebert’s math is correct — and it most assuredly is NOT — this would be enough money to allow every woman of childbearing age in America to have 10 abortions.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Tuesday Open Thread

“It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail.”

–Lech Walesa

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Sure, Let’s Push a $663 Million Voucher Bill

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

Colorado Republicans aren’t plotting much of a 2022 comeback at the moment, in large part because they are still obsessed with promoting The Big Lie that Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election instead of the guy who has been living in the White House for almost two months now. The favorites to become the next Chair of the Colorado Republican Party are in agreement about the power of this fallacy and are openly running on their commitment to an election fraud narrative that simply doesn’t exist.

Denial has been a consistent theme for the Colorado GOP. After Democrats crushed Republicans in the 2020 election cycle, the second consecutive drubbing for the GOP in which its top-ticket candidates lost statewide by massive margins, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean stammered: “We hear all of this talk about how blue Colorado might be getting. I don’t believe it for a second.” Obviously, it doesn’t really matter if McKean “believes” that Colorado is a blue state. The math is clear.

But this commitment to denying reality is digging Republicans into an ever-deeper hole now that the State Legislature is back in session. Late last week, the House Education Committee rightfully killed a School Vouchers bill sponsored by Republicans that was so bad it should never have seen the light of day. House Bill 21-1080, “The Nonpublic Education and COVID-19 Relief Act,” sought to enact a private school tuition income tax credit in Colorado…at a cost of $663 MILLION DOLLARS!

Legislative Council Staff “Fiscal Note” for Republican voucher bill.

 

Colorado’s total General Fund budget is about $12 billion; roughly 20% of this amount is allocated toward K-12 education funding. According to Legislative Council Staff, this voucher bill would “reduce General Fund revenue by $662.8 million annually.” You don’t need an accounting degree to understand how much this would devastate Colorado’s ability to pay for…well, for pretty much anything.

The prime sponsor of the voucher bill is Rep. Mark Baisley (R-Douglas County), but 12 other House Republicans signed on as co-sponsors — including McKean. This bill should never have been drafted in the first place, but after the Fiscal Note became available, Republicans should have dropped it like it was on fire. A school voucher bill was never going to go anywhere in a Democratic-controlled legislature, so the only thing Republicans accomplished by moving forward with HB21-1080 was to give voucher opponents a $663 million talking point that they can use for the next decade.

The lingering question here is about how much McKean was involved in the bill’s introduction. Baisley’s turd was too horrendous to allow into a committee hearing, and any political leader with half a brain would have figured this out right away — or at least demanded that the sponsor go back to the drawing board.

Either McKean truly didn’t know better, or he was powerless to stop such ridiculous legislation from advancing in his own caucus. Neither answer is good news for Colorado Republicans.

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GOP Chair Candidates Fight Over Party’s Wreckage

Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter published a useful in-depth look this weekend at the candidates running to succeed Rep. Ken Buck as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who participated in a candidate forum last Thursday night in the town of Hudson about 30 miles northeast of Denver in Weld County. As Wingerter reports, of the five contenders nominally in the running the real choice for Republicans has effectively narrowed to the current vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown versus notorious former Secretary of State Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler.

As for any rational discussion about what has happened to the Colorado GOP in recent years, leading to the least amount of power in the state since FDR was President? You’re not going to find it from either of the frontrunners:

[Jonathan] Lockwood was the only candidate to say unequivocally that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Two other candidates, Rich Mancuso and Casper Stockham, said it was stolen. Two others, Colorado GOP vice chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown and former secretary of state Scott Gessler, said or suggested it may have been. When pressed by the debate moderator to show evidence of a stolen election, none did… [Pols emphasis]

Gessler and Burton Brown verbally sparred on several occasions. Burton Brown criticized Gessler for installing Dominion Voting Systems — the Colorado election software and hardware company that was a frequent target of baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and has filed numerous defamation lawsuits — when he was secretary of state.

Gessler went after the current state of the Colorado GOP, of which Burton Brown is vice chair.

“If you want the same lack of creativity, if you want the same lack of initiative, if you want the same problems in the Republican Party, then keep the same people,” Gessler said.

Although vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown agreed with Gessler in denial about the outcome of the 2020 elections, we were somewhat favorably surprised and impressed by Burton Brown taking responsibility in this forum for the disastrous failed 2019 recall attempt she personally initiated against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial. That misguided campaign played a large role in helping discredit the backlash over the GOP’s losses in the 2018 elections, and the fact that Burton Brown can admit today it was a mistake is a sign of at least some amount of political maturation on her part.

Although Gessler is generally considered to be the frontrunner in the race to be the next chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, Gessler’s long fixation with discredited claims of election fraud may be giving Republicans who would like to see the party move on from Donald Trump some discomfort. Do Republicans really want to spend the next two years relitigating the 2020 elections, or should they focus on recovering some respectability in 2022? With both frontrunners believing (or at least preaching) the Big Lie of the stolen 2020 election, the chances of honest lessons being learned to avert another electoral catastrophe in two years are not good–but Gessler’s lack of credibility after fixating on this false scapegoat for defeat for years is a matter of record. That being the case, there’s an argument that Burton Brown is better suited to making the pivot Republicans so desperately need.

Either way, it’s clear at this point that Colorado Republicans will not be turning over any new leaves. This is a party held together by a false narrative, seeking answers that confirm their own biases rather than solve their problems.

Democrats should be very pleased by this.

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Dirty Jokes About “MeatIn Day” Write Themselves

Damn the triglycerides!

Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on the latest tempest in an Instant Pot at the Colorado Capitol, a budding kerfluffle between Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association fronted by Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of CAFO Country over Polis suggesting that a little less meat in Coloradans’ diets might be desirable:

Gov. Jared Polis has issued a proclamation naming March 20 “MeatOut Day,” and it’s a decision that is causing outrage among some in livestock organizations and rural Colorado counties…

The state doesn’t have a problem with people who want plant-based diets. But the national perception is that Colorado is against agriculture, [Sen. Jerry] Sonnenberg said. That includes a recent announcement by a Hereford (cattle) association. Sonnenberg said the association’s board is planning to vote on moving from the National Western Stock Show to a livestock show hosted at the same time in Oklahoma City. The association, according to Sonnenberg, said Polis’ proclamation for MeatOut Day was “the last straw.”

“That’s unacceptable,” Sonnenberg shouted in the Senate Friday.

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R).

CBS4 Denver gave Sonnenberg’s sound and fury over “MeatOut Day” a generous portion of airtime:

Sonnenberg says words have consequences especially when they’re the words of the governor.

“We can’t have leadership in this state throw the number two industry in this state under the bus…that’s unacceptable!!”

It’s not the first time the governor, whose partner is vegan, has snubbed the beef industry. Sonnenberg recalled how Polis plugged Burger King’s meatless burger when it came out, even sending a bunch of them to the Department of Agriculture.

For the record, Gov. Polis’ proclamation of “MeatOut Day” does not call for the elimination of meat from the diets of Americans, which for many of us is a nonstarter. As for reducing consumption of meat in the world’s fourth-highest per capita meat consumer, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that would be both ecologically and medically preferable. Either way, even if some Americans make healthier dietary choices for one day, there’s still going to be a strong demand for all the meat Colorado’s meat industry (just one segment of the state’s diverse agriculture industry) can churn out.

Sonnenberg noted comments made by Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, who name-checked Colorado’s capital city in his State of the State address on Feb. 1. “The folks in Denver turned their back on the ag industry,” Stitts said. “They wouldn’t let them have their major national cattle show, because they insisted on keeping their state locked down. That put the stability of the U.S. beef industry in danger.”

We didn’t hear from Sonnenberg whether Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma had found a buyer for all that useless hydroxychloroquine he stockpiled, but Stitt is not exactly a credible authority on managing the COVID-19 pandemic–and now we’re talking about lockdowns, not “MeatOut Days,” and we see this is just another opportunity to grind the same old political axes.

As for “MeatIn Day,” the Cattlemen’s Association’s brilliant comeback to “MeatOut Day?”

The middle school boy in your family knows what to do (see title).

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Lauren Boebert: Alt-Facts Word Salad At CPAC

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) calls bullcrap at CPAC in Orlando this weekend.

The New York Post reports from Orlando, site of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where Republicans from lowly rank-and-file to ex-President Donald Trump have converged to lick their wounds and plot revenge after last year’s electoral defeats–and freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is shining brightly as a fresh luminary in the freak kingdom:

Freshman firebrand Congresswoman Lauren Boebert drew cheers at CPAC Saturday after saying she was no fan of the continued security around Washington, D.C. — and “Fort Pelosi.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we start quartering soldiers in the committee hearing rooms,” Boebert said during a gun-rights panel at the annual GOP confab.

After Rep. Boebert exhorted her hundreds of thousands of social media followers to come to Washington D.C. on January 6th, to engage in what Boebert vowed would be “some of the most important days in American history,” then challenged the metal detectors set up because some members of Congress are worried about being shot by other members, complaining about all that extra security at the Capitol is…bold! It’s not the first time we’ve wondered whether Boebert is being audaciously or just cluelessly hypocritical. But as evidence of the latter, as Newsweek reports, from here the discussion only grew less coherent:

On Saturday, Boebert continued to attack Democrats during the CPAC panel by stating that they “don’t want you to be able to protect yourself, they don’t want you to have freedom of speech, and they don’t want you to have freedom of religion.”

“They are the party of ‘no,’ and we are saying ‘no’—we are saying a big ‘hell no’ to all of their noes,” Boebert added. [Pols emphasis]

Plot this with us, readers. The real “Party of No” is the party Lauren Boebert says “no” to. But if you’re saying “no” to the “Party of No,” aren’t you actually saying “yes?” What about when you’re saying “hell no to the noes” of the “Party of No?” This is why you never use double negatives, let alone quadruple negatives, when the goal is for listeners to understand what you’re trying to say.

On one issue, however, Boebert is crystal clear:

Self-aware or not, Lauren Boebert and the reality the rest of us mutually acknowledge have parted ways.

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Back to School, Back to School…

It was right around March 13, 2020, when students across Colorado stopped most in-person learning because of the Coronavirus pandemic. One year later — literally almost to the day — a significant number of students will be returning to classrooms full time. While many Colorado school districts had already been providing in-person classroom instruction to elementary school students, the older kids are finally getting their number called.

The Jefferson County School District, which regularly trades places with Denver Public Schools as the largest school district in Colorado, announced today that middle- and high school students are going back to the classroom:

We will return to full in-person learning for grades 6-12 in a phased approach beginning March 15 through April 5. At many of our schools, the ratio of students choosing the remote learning option compared to hybrid enables us to increase the numbers of students in classrooms.

Click here to read the full announcement from Jeffco Schools.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of decisions in other large school districts, including Douglas County in the South Metro area and the Poudre School District in northern Colorado.

What say you, Polsters? Are we ready to be sending all students back to classrooms, or should we be waiting until the new school year in August? Cast your vote after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (February 26)

Friendly reminder: 2021 is NOT a leap year. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As The Denver Post reports, a loosening of pandemic-related restrictions is just around the corner:

Jefferson County will loosen its COVID-19 restrictions — allowing restaurants and event spaces to increase their capacities — starting Friday morning, but Denver will have to wait after new coronavirus cases ticked up in the city again this week.

Denver is currently at Level Yellow, the third stage on the state’s dial framework of public health restrictions. To move down to Level Blue under the relaxed standards announced in late January, the city would have to average fewer than 100 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people, per day, for a week.

The city flirted with that line in the days following Valentine’s Day, but cases rebounded slightly in recent days, according to data from the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. As of Wednesday, Denver’s average was 104.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city is “very close” to moving into Level Blue, which he described as a step toward revitalizing its arts and sports scenes. He urged residents to continue wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings, to help keep new cases down.

 

► Let’s catch up on news from the state legislature!

Colorado lawmakers are taking a proactive approach in trying to prevent major power outages like those seen in Texas earlier this month.

Lawmakers are considering a bill to prevent pet stores from selling puppies and kittens.

Sides are already gearing up for a bill to limit the THC potency in marijuana sold in Colorado…even though the bill hasn’t yet been introduced formally.

Alex Burness of The Denver Post considers why popular policies die strange deaths when lawmakers convene.

Colorado Newsline previews the transportation infrastructure battle coming to the State Capitol.

 

CNN reports on what looks to be a huge moment for Democrats and President Biden:

(The $1.9 trillion COVID relief) bill, which the House of Representatives is expected to pass Friday with Democratic votes, has the symbolic weight and financial power to define what Biden hopes will be the post-pandemic period as it aims to quell the virus and trigger a rebound from the economic ruin in its wake. That remains true despite the Senate parliamentarian ruling Thursday that a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour infringes the budgetary process known as reconciliation that Democrats plan to use to pass the package with a simple majority. The decision was a blow to progressives but could ease Democratic divisions over the package and make it easier to pass…

…The plan’s mammoth size — more than twice as big as the Great Recession stimulus plan that Biden managed in the Obama presidency and nearly half the cost of the annual federal budget — hints at the enduring political shadow it will cast.

The measure is intended to significantly beef up the vaccine drive that will hopefully end the pandemic and to provide funds for remodeling schools to improve ventilation and social distancing to get millions of kids back into class. It would also use the power of government to alleviate short-term economic pain — for instance by granting $19 billion to state and local governments to cover back rent and utility payments — and on a more permanent basis, to share the benefits of the US economy more equally.

Republicans can (and will) complain about the relief bill, but they do so at their own peril: Americans view the bill as one of the most popular pieces of legislation in recent history.

 

Here’s a headline from POLITICO that would have been accurate at any point during the last 3-4 years:

Via POLITICO (2/26/21)

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Poll: 57% Of Colorado Republicans Win The Darwin Award

Darwin Award contestants throughout history.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines now being administered by the thousands daily at long last in Colorado shows a stark partisan divide in a newly-completed poll–more so, to be frank, than we would have expected despite the well-earned cynical presumption many of our readers no doubt harbor:

Getting the coronavirus vaccine in Colorado may depend on a person’s political party affiliation, with a new poll showing Republican voters are far less likely to get inoculated than their Democratic and unaffiliated counterparts.

Magellan Strategies found that only 55% of registered voters in Colorado who haven’t been inoculated yet want to receive a vaccine when it becomes available to them. The share rises to 89% among Democrats and 57% among unaffiliated voters.

Only 29% of Republicans, however, said they’d get a coronavirus vaccine, according to the poll. Meanwhile, 57% said they would not get inoculated while 12% said they were undecided.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:

When asked, “How concerned are you that you or someone in your family will become infected with the coronavirus?” 32% of Republicans said they were either “very” or “somewhat” concerned, compared to 89% of Democrats. When respondents were asked whether they planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine, 29% of Republicans said yes, compared to 88% of Democrats.

Magellan Strategies CEO David Flaherty said the results show these public health matters “have become a political statement.”

Public health officials in Colorado and beyond are desperately trying to convince people that the vaccine is safe, and that broad buy-in is the only clear way out of the pandemic. Nine percent of respondents said they hadn’t yet decided whether they’re comfortable being vaccinated.

Although there’s a clear relationship between not being concerned about the pandemic to begin with and refusing the vaccine to prevent infection, it’s somewhat more difficult to understand the reluctance of Republicans to accept the COVID-19 vaccine after former President Donald Trump hyped the forthcoming vaccines relentlessly while trying to not lose the 2020 election. Is it possible that more Republicans would be lining up for their shots if Trump had kept the White House?

That’s a hell of a way to make life-and-death medical decisions, but we can’t rule it out.

Because vaccinating enough of the public to achieve herd immunity is the key to fully reopening the economy, it’s a maddening reality the same people who immeasurably worsened the pandemic over the last year by downplaying its severity and defying best practices to reduce the spread, resulting in the United States having the most infection and death from COVID-19 of any nation on Earth, are now posing the biggest obstacle to putting this pandemic in the rear-view mirror for good.

We’re going to beat COVID-19. But at every step, our nation’s response to this deadly disease has been hobbled by the politically-motivated willful ignorance of one side. The net effect of this has been, ironically, to expose that side to disproportionate risk. How many Republicans died needlessly because it became an article of faith to not take COVID-19 seriously?

This is a movement truly leading its adherents over the cliff.

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The Vile Inanity Of Lauren Boebert

UPDATE #2: And after all that hullabaloo, Rep. Lauren Boebert is the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation to not vote on the Equality Act:

No matter what side of this issue you’re on, your time has just been wasted.

—–

UPDATE: Colorado Democrats led by Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada volley back hard:

Statement from Colorado Legislative LGBTQ Caucus: “We, the Colorado Democrats LGBTQ Caucus, strongly condemn the hateful and dangerous words of Congresswoman Boebert. Her words hurt people, propagate dangerous tropes, and cause mental distress to those she berates. When leaders like Congresswoman Boebert use their position of power to fuel tropes about trans people, a group facing discrimination, violence, and poverty all over the globe, they exemplify why we need The Equality Act now.

“In her speech, Congresswoman Boebert incorrectly stated that this bill is willing to lay down the rights of millions of Americans, especially women. The truth is that the Equality Act protects and restores the rights of millions of Americans, especially womxn and children. We, the Colorado Democrats LGBTQ Caucus, stand with the Equality Act, because Trans Lives Matter, BIPOC Trans Lives Matter, and trans children deserve to live safe, healthy lives free of fear and hatred.”

Statement from Representative Brianna Titone, D-Avada, the Chair of the LGBTQ Caucus and the Second Transgender Woman Ever Elected to a Statehouse: “Colorado has come such a long way from when we were deemed the ‘Hate State’ in 1992. Congresswoman Boebert’s words seek to bring us back. Coloradans deserve to be shown respect and dignity from Congressional leaders, but she has instead attacked children and endangered the lives of trans kids in Colorado and in every community in our country. Congress must pass the Equality Act, and everyone who claims to stand with the LGBTQ community should condemn the congresswoman’s dangerous remarks.”

—–

Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

AP reports via the U.K. Daily Mail on debate in the U.S. House over the Equality Act, legislation that would establish discrimination protections for all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification–a bill that would update federal law to be consistent with Colorado’s own robust anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws on the books for years:

The Democratic-led House is poised to pass a bill that would enshrine LGBTQ protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws, a top priority of President Joe Biden, though the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

The Equality Act amends existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics.

While this legislation is expected to clear the narrowly Democratic House, the “Q-some Twosome” freshmen Republicans in Congress, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, are doing everything they can to fill the debate over protections that are settled law in Colorado with wildly inflammatory misinformation about transgender people in particular:

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican who’s in the past peddled the QAnon conspiracy theory, said at the morning press conference that allowing trans women to play sports with cisgender women would lead to lost opportunities and even injuries for the latter.

‘Is Kamala Harris going to apologize to the girl who would lose her athletic scholarship to the boy who outplays her? Will Joe Biden tell the parents who gets her skull crushed, how fair that is? Will Nancy Pelosi please explain to our daughters why boys pretending to be girls are leering at them in the girls’ locker room?’ Boebert said.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who also appeared at the press conference, has spent the past day in a symbolic fight with her Congressional neighbor, Rep. Marie Newman, who has a trans daughter.

In a floor speech yesterday, Rep. Boebert warned ominously of girls in locker rooms being accosted by “confused men trying to catch a peek.”

First of all, the reference in this speech to an incident of domestic violence, the details of which we do not know, is hypocritical in the extreme after both Boebert and her husband faced mutual domestic violence charges as documented by the New York Post back in January. It would take more audacity than we possess to go there with that kind of hypocrisy on our own conscience (assuming, of course, the existence of one).

The more important point here, though we’re not specifically aware of Lauren Boebert having run for office on a platform of gutterball transphobia, is that this kind of over-the-top bombast appears to characterize Boebert’s approach to every single issue. There’s no having a civil dialogue about LGBTQ discrimination with Boebert, it’s always going to devolve into a contrarian shouting match defined by the most lurid terms Boebert can reach for. Just like there’s no rational discussion possible from Boebert about climate change. Or tax policy. Or health care. Or guns. Or…well, you know, anything.

If you’ve ever known someone like this, you know how exhausting it can be to deal with.

Now imagine serving in Congress with that person.

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Colorado GOP Won’t Be Out-Crazied by National Republicans

Colorado is a blue state. As we’ve written many times in this space, there is simply no denying the results of the 2018 and 2020 elections in our state: Democrats won bigly and Republicans lost equally, uh, hugely.

But if you thought Colorado Republicans might do a little soul-searching and try to figure out a way to reverse this trend, you’ll be interested to know that the local GOP is all aboard the “election fraud” crazy train that has been crisscrossing red states in America for the past couple of months. Since Republicans don’t seem to know how to get more people to vote for them, they are actively working to figure out ways to make it harder for people to vote in general.

Kyle Clark of 9News recently discussed nonsense Republican claims of voter fraud in relation to a dumbass bill introduced — and quickly killed in committee — by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument):

Meanwhile, the top two contenders to become the next Chair of the Colorado Republican Party are STILL OPENLY RUNNING on the idea that Donald Trump really won the 2020 Presidential election, facts be damned.

From the new Axios Denver newsletter:

Top leaders in the Colorado Republican Party are doubling down on the baseless idea that voter fraud cost President Donald Trump the 2020 election. [Pols emphasis]

Republican state lawmakers cited the potential for fraud as the reason they introduced a handful of bills that would make it harder to vote.

The top contenders for Colorado GOP chair, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and current party vice chair Kristi Burton Brown, are advocating for a recount of the 2020 vote and review of the Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Colorado.

Why it matters: The Colorado GOP is embracing the same debunked claims of a stolen election that helped propel a mob of Trump supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Gessler has already had to find a new email provider after MailChimp cancelled his account for repeatedly spreading the evidence-free claim that the 2020 Presidential election was rife with fraud.

Clockwise from Far Right: State Sen. Paul Lundeen, State GOP Chair hopeful Kristi Burton Brown, former SOS Scott Gessler, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert

Nationally, the fraud rhetoric will be on full display this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida; the keynote speaker is none other than former President Trump himself, which is problematic for any Republicans trying to establish a post-Trump political identity. As POLITICO notes, GOP contenders looking ahead to 2024 are finding that you can’t spell “Republican” without “Donald J. Trump”:

“There isn’t a Trump lane. There’s a Trump Turnpike with multiple lanes and multiple people,” said Chris LaCivita, a veteran GOP strategist who most recently headed the anti-Biden super PAC Preserve America.

Conversations with more than a dozen Republican consultants, strategists and officials depict a party over which Trump exerts an irresistible gravitational pull, pointing to his continued strength in polls and the megawatt energy he generates among the GOP grassroots.

Trump’s grip on the Republican base and his effect on the minds of White House hopefuls is so total, they say, that the path to the GOP nomination is best defined by the degree of loyalty to Trump — to the point where party operatives reach for elaborate metaphors to best convey the extent of his influence.

Both Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are scheduled to speak at CPAC on Sunday. [Side note: Former Congressman and multi-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is also speaking at CPAC for some reason] Boebert has not wavered from her claims of election fraud — though it wasn’t a concern in her district, apparently. Buck, on the other hand, has vacillated on the topic depending on the day he is asked; it would be no surprise if he repeated lies about 2020 election fraud in his speech on Sunday.

Trump’s insistence that the 2020 President election was stolen led directly to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Trump’s role in stoking that insurrection made him the only President in American history to be impeached TWICE, though Senate Republicans were too weak-willed to do anything about it. You would think Republicans would be well-served by not trying to draw attention back to Jan. 6, but the GOP base is not so easily sated.

Republicans have plenty of other problems heading into 2022, including trying to explain their open embrace of white supremacy, but their stubborn refusal to stop talking about something that didn’t happen will keep them tethered to minority party status for the foreseeable future.

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Arizona Senator: Screw Those Pesky Voters

Arizona state Sen. David Gowan (R).

This week in a Colorado Senate committee, as readers know, a Republican bill to substantially roll back our state’s highly successful mail ballot election system was defeated in a 4-1 bipartisan vote. Freshman GOP Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa joined majority Democrats to reject this highly ill-conceived “solution in search of a problem” bill. Given that Colorado’s election system is both highly popular with voters and proven to be safe and accurate over the course of multiple election cycles, introducing this bill made very little political sense. If anything, the bill’s purpose and swift demise only highlighted once again the profound lack of credibility in Republican allegations of election fraud, both here and in other states.

But as Howard Fischer reports for the Arizona Daily Star today, there are other states, especially those where the election was closer than it was here, where the GOP’s sour grapes over 2020 resulted in something much worse:

Facing some blistering criticism and the possibility of harming Republican reelection efforts, a Southern Arizona lawmaker has pulled the plug on a proposal to let the legislature override the choice of voters for president.

Sen. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said his SCR 1006 simply recognizes that the U.S. Constitution gives lawmakers the ultimate power to choose electors. What his proposal would do is actually allow them to exercise that authority by requiring a special legislative session after every presidential vote to “investigate the results” and decide what result to certify.

It’s one thing to engage in vote suppression by restricting ballot access, early voting times, and other such tactics that are unfortunately fairly common in states that purposefully game their election systems for partisan advantage. But building in a process requiring the legislature to consider overriding the vote in a presidential election, as Arizona Sen. David Gowan proposed, would normalize the possibility of that occurring–which would open the door to state legislatures doing this whenever it suits them politically.

And that would be the end of American democracy, folks:

Alex Gulotta, state director for All Voting is Local, said there’s no factual basis for the proposal. Instead, he said, it “helps perpetuate the big lie” that the 2020 election was somehow stolen. And pointed out that nothing in SCR 1006 requires lawmakers to cite any cause or reason for replacing the judgment of a majority of voters for their own.

“The will of the people is replaced by our new overlords,” Gulotta said. [Pols emphasis]

While it’s a relief to see that this bill was allowed to die by its sponsor after its extremely negative political implications were apparently communicated by fellow Republicans, it’s very important that every American take note of the fact that such a manifestly undemocratic piece of legislation was introduced at all. There is no evidence in Arizona or any other state substantiating the claim of election fraud sufficient to change the outcome, which means there is no rational basis for creating a process to overturn election results.

If you’re willing to take this extreme step for no good reason other than your candidate lost, American democracy may just not be your thing. You’re entitled to your opinion, but your moral authority to hold elected office is pretty much forfeit.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 25)

Snow day! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Coronavirus news!

Governor Jared Polis is “thrilled” at the news of a potential third COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson.

Employees at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley will finally start receiving COVID vaccinations (no thanks to Cory Gardner).

As The New York Times reports, COVID rates at nursing homes across the country are declining much faster than in other populations.

 

► Congresswoman Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary, has committed to visiting Grand Junction, the new home of the Bureau of Land Management. As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

Haaland told Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday that she will visit Grand Junction as she weighs whether to keep the headquarters there or return it to Washington, D.C.

“I will look forward to consulting more on this issue with you and I understand that we absolutely need to make sure that the staff members are — that we have a full team there at BLM,” Haaland said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

After years of bipartisan lobbying by Colorado politicians and Grand Junction business groups, the Department of the Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move its headquarters to the Western Slope city and expand its presence at other non-D.C. offices, including one in Lakewood.

About 87% of the agency’s D.C.-based employees quit in response and environmental groups accused then-President Donald Trump of dismantling the agency that oversees the nation’s public lands. Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, also a Democrat, have long supported the headquarters move and both said Wednesday that they welcome Haaland’s visit.

 

What’s going on at the State Capitol? Glad you asked…

The Colorado Sun reports on efforts in the state legislature to give sexual assault survivors more time to file suit against their abusers.

Westword takes note of four ridiculous pro-gun measures being introduced by Republican lawmakers.

Fox 31 Denver looks at legislation meant to hold careless drivers more accountable.

CBS4 Denver reports on legislation that would ban the use of high school mascots that may be insensitive to indigenous populations. CBS4 Denver also reports on a plan to create a “Health Service Reserve Corps” modeled after the National Guard.

Denver7 reports on three bills related to “woofs” in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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What History Will Record In The End (Hopefully)

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

It didn’t get much press–and that’s a thing we need to talk about–but last week, Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet announced they are signing on as sponsors of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: the first legitimate attempt at a comprehensive immigration reform package since 2013’s Gang of Eight negotiations (which also included Sen. Bennet) led to the passage out of the Senate before dying in the GOP-controlled House:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet today joined over twenty of their Senate colleagues and dozens of members of the House of Representatives to introduce the bicameral U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. The comprehensive immigration reform bill is modeled after President Biden’s bold, inclusive, and humane framework for the future of the United States immigration system.

The legislation would provide millions of hardworking, undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, including Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) recipients, and essential workers who have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic; prioritize family reunification and keeping families together; and bolster the country’s long-term economic growth. The bill would also equip the country to responsibly and effectively manage the border with smart and effective investments, address root causes of migration that force people to leave Central America, and restore the United States’ commitment to human rights.

“For decades our broken immigration system has stifled our economy, undermined our security, and violated our country’s proud heritage as a nation of immigrants. We’ve seen this failed system play out in particularly horrific fashion over the last four years as families were ripped apart and children were housed in cages,” said Hickenlooper. “Today’s bill represents a comprehensive approach to tackling this challenge once and for all, including a much-needed, fair path to citizenship along with smart investments to effectively and responsibly manage our borders. It signals a new day in aligning our national values with our immigration policy.”

If passed into law, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would go considerably beyond the failed 2013 immigration reform bill by providing a three-year path to citizenship for green card holders, immediate green cards for “DREAMers,” and temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants already in the country with good records. It keeps families together in the U.S. during immigration proceedings, and clears visa backlogs for students and needed workers. It funds citizenship and English language instruction. And yes, it has money for border security as well–the smart kind, not the dumb wall-based variety.

But as we said at the beginning, buzz about this new ambitious proposal has been surprisingly lacking here in Colorado despite the active participation of both of the state’s U.S. Senators. One reason for this may be that finding the Republican Senators necessary to go along with any comprehensive immigration reform package is going to be difficult–likely more so than in 2013. In 2013, 14 Republicans joined with unanimous Senate Democrats to pass the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by a lopsided 68-32 margin. If the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 gets to President Joe Biden’s desk, it’s almost certain to do so with less Republican crossover support simply due to the rightward drift of that party in the meantime.

Another reason we unfortunately suspect Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper are not getting the credit they deserve for being part of this campaign, however, is local intra-Democratic politics. After Hickenlooper’s easy primary victory in 2020 and perhaps in anticipation of an underdog primary challenge against Bennet in 2022, there seems to be some reluctance to acknowledge politically positive developments involving our two Senators when they occur–and a great deal of focus on miscues that, while deserving of criticism, are just not of the same magnitude as the good they’re trying to do.

That’s a mistake. And in the event Bennet and Hickenlooper do get comprehensive immigration reform passed after all these years of trying, they’ll have both thanks and a few apologies coming.

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Amber McReynolds Might Get to Can Postmaster General

Amber McReynolds

Amber McReynolds, the former Director of Elections for Denver and the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, is apparently set to receive an interesting nomination from President Biden. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden will nominate a former U.S. Postal Service executive, a leading voting rights advocate and a former postal union leader to the mail service’s governing board, according to three people briefed on the nominees, a move that will reshape the agency’s leadership and increase pressure on the embattled postmaster general…

…If confirmed, the nominees would give Democrats a majority on the nine-member board of governors, with potentially enough votes to oust DeJoy, who testified Wednesday before a House panel that his new strategic plan for the mail service included slowing deliveries.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was being grilled today by the House Oversight and Reform Committee about his plans for dealing with delivery problems and economic issues facing the U.S. Postal Service.

As Paul Waldman writes in a separate column for The Washington Post:

To refresh your memory, DeJoy, a Republican mega-donor with no experience in the USPS, was appointed to lead the agency in the spring of 2020, despite having been beset by allegations of abusive practices at his business, conflicts of interest and potential campaign finance law violations. This came after President Trump had spent years attacking the Postal Service.

DeJoy quickly took steps, supposedly in the service of cost-cutting, that had the effect of slowing down mail delivery. You probably noticed it.

While the president does not directly appoint the postmaster general, DeJoy was selected by a Republican-dominated Board of Governors, and his selection was understood as being in tune with Trump’s venom for the USPS — a complicated story in itself that may have its roots in Trump’s burning jealousy of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, which uses the USPS extensively to send packages.

Biden can not directly fire DeJoy, but a new Board of Governors could certainly make a change at the top of the USPS. McReynolds is a registered “Unaffiliated” voter but would likely work with a new Democratic majority on the Board of Governors to find a replacement for DeJoy.

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Boebert Calls Bullcrap On Colorado’s Public Lands

Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline reports that although long-sought legislation to extend protections to hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in Colorado is moving ahead hopefully in 2021’s narrowly Democratic Congress, freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert wants nothing to do with this hippie crap:

First-term Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert told members of a key House committee on Tuesday that she hadn’t been consulted on H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. Introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, the latest version of H.R. 803 is a package of eight public lands proposals including the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act and the Colorado Wilderness Act.

Together, the two bills would establish new or permanent protections for more than 1 million acres of federally-owned land across Colorado, the vast majority of it in Boebert’s 3rd Congressional District. Boebert has consistently opposed both proposals.

“This bill is being rushed through with no committee hearing, no committee markup, no witness testimony,” she said while testifying as a witness in a virtual hearing of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. “Public land decisions should be made with local collaboration and input, or at the very least the member who represents the affected district.” [Pols emphasis]

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reports, the central problem here appears to be that nobody talked to Boebert about the bill–which is further evident from her apparent lack of understanding of what the bill does:

[Rep. Diana] DeGette told the rules committee that the acreage covered in the Colorado Wilderness Act has almost all been managed as wilderness study areas since the 1980s, and a recent poll showed two-thirds of people on the Western Slope support increased wilderness…

Boebert cited the concerns she said she has heard about DeGette’s measure from county commissioners first as a candidate and now in Congress.

“I believe that my election shows the polling in my district. [Pols emphasis] They understand that I was there to advocate for multiple use on public land,” she said.

Notwithstanding the perennial objections of Republican local elected officials, the additional protections in these bills are in fact very popular among Boebert’s constituents in CD-3. This is also not a new proposal by any stretch–Rep. Diana DeGette has been trying to pass the Colorado Wilderness Act since 1999, and the CORE Act has similarly been a bone of partisan contention for years. As for Boebert’s election in 2020 serving as a barometer on this or for that matter any nuanced political issue, that’s just silly–but if Boebert wants to go there, let’s start with how she held the seat for Republicans by a smaller margin than Scott Tipton ever did.

There’s nothing unexpected here, there was never a doubt Boebert would be a reliable vote for the oil and other extractive industries that wield tremendous influence over Republican politics on the Western Slope. But as an advocate for the industry, Boebert is simply not effective with her colleagues. And the blowback Boebert faces for opposing a large majority of Coloradans on the issue of protecting public lands outweighs the benefits of publicly grandstanding against them.

Perhaps the only upside to all of this for Boebert is that as long as we’re talking about her opposition to protecting Colorado’s public lands, we’re not talking about grifting or insurrection.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 24)

You had better find your snow boots; the Front Range is looking at a big snowfall later today. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The United States surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, but as The Associated Press reports, good news is on the way:

COVID-19 vaccine makers told Congress on Tuesday to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the coming month after a rocky start to inoculations, and the companies insist they will be able to provide enough for most Americans by summer.

By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine doses, up from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.

“We do believe we’re on track,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said, outlining ways the company has ramped up production. “We think we’re at a very good spot.”

That’s not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, that’s expected to get a green light from regulators soon. The Biden administration said Tuesday that it expects about 2 million doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.

Here’s more from CNBC on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is believed to be effective with just one dose.

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Coloradans could see more vaccine availability next week:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed the state is expecting to move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan “on or around March 5,” but didn’t offer any details about whether everyone in that phase would be eligible at the same time.

“Providing accurate and accessible information around vaccines and vaccination is a priority for Colorado and we will continue to do so as we prepare for the upcoming phases,” a representative of the state health department wrote in an email.

Gov. Jared Polis has said that a new phase will start when about half of eligible people in the previous phase have received the vaccine.

Check out The Denver Post story for more information on the next round of eligibility for vaccines. CBS4 Denver has more on a recent hearing in Congress about vaccine availability chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver).

Elsewhere, health officials in Jefferson County say they have reached a goal to vaccinate more than 70% of the county’s population of adults over the age of 70.

 

Back in December 2020, Colorado Pols first told you about an unusually-large reimbursement check that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wrote to herself in what appeared to be a blatant violation of campaign finance rules. The story has only gotten worse for Boebert since then, and this week her campaign made a clumsy attempt at re-explaining the questionable reimbursement. As Justin Wingerter explains for The Denver Post:

On Monday, Boebert’s campaign filed an amended report to the Federal Election Commission, reiterating that Boebert received $21,200 on Nov. 11 but claiming it was a reimbursement for mileage, travel expenses and hotel stays. Mileage accounted for $17,280 of the reimbursements, the campaign says…

…Boebert’s reimbursements and the Post’s reporting led to complaints this month with the FEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics, neither of which has said it will investigate. Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, said Boebert’s amended report does not affect their FEC complaint that was filed Feb. 8.

“These expenses should have been disclosed in her December 3, 2020, report,” Kuppersmith said. “Either she didn’t keep the required mileage logs, or her treasurer didn’t ask for documentation before he reimbursed her for all of these expenses. The Boebert campaign has proven that its FEC reports are unreliable, so the FEC should properly audit the campaign to determine where else they may have failed to comply with the law.”

Colorado Public Radio, Fox 31 News, and Colorado Newsline have more on Boebert’s amended filing, which also claims reimbursements for Uber rides.

 

A State Senate committee killed a legislative attempt by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) that sought to make it MORE difficult to vote in Colorado. Republican Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa joined with Democrats in snuffing out Lundeen’s dumb bill.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Investigate, Please: Boebert Reimbursement Scandal Deepens

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter has more in a new story this afternoon:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign has publicly acknowledged that a prior campaign finance report — which raised ethical red flags and led to multiple requests for investigation — was inaccurate. Still, the campaign defended a large payment to the congresswoman…

Boebert called the controversy “much about nothing” and said it was generated to distract from Reps. Ilhan Omar and Maxine Waters, two Democratic congresswomen who have paid family members with campaign funds.

In the weeks before amending her campaign finance report, Boebert defended her own mileage reimbursements. She told radio station KHOW on Feb. 10 that she “absolutely” had documentation that showed she had driven the miles she was reimbursed for.

It’s time to release that documentation. All of it.

And make copies for when investigators ask for it too.

—–

The ongoing controversy you read about here first over an unusually large reimbursement paid out from Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign funds in November, coming justt after Boebert paid off almost the same amount in accumulated liens on her restaurant in Rifle, took a problematic turn yesterday after the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reported that Boebert has amended her mandatory Federal Election Commission filing on this reimbursement:

Donors buy, Lauren Boebert flies.

This would appear to directly contradict Boebert’s previous contention that she had driven over 30,000 miles in just a few months on the campaign trail in 2020, as the Colorado Times Recorder’s Jason Salzman reported on Feburary 10:

Following up on information first uncovered by ColoradoPols, The Post calculated that Boebert needed to have driven 38,712 miles during the 2020 campaign to justify the reimbursement, and The Post and CPR were unable to figure out how she could have reached that number of miles. They analyzed Boebert’s travel schedule and other public information…

Boebert said, “I drove tens of thousands of miles all throughout the district. I was somewhere new every single day.”

“I am doing the work of the people. I had to make those connections. And really, I under-reported a lot of stuff,” she added.

She said she and her campaign driver, now a co-worker, put “more than 30,000 miles” on her vehicle. [Pols emphasis]

Here we have Rep. Boebert claiming less than two weeks ago that she did indeed drive the exceptional number of miles she reimbursed herself for, specifically stating she drove “more than 30,000 miles” and justifying this figure in part by citing the closure of I-70 during wildfires last summer. But now she’s told the FEC that the reimbursement wasn’t just for mileage–but also for hotels?

It looks to us like Boebert may be having, you know, trouble justifying that check! The complaint filed against Boebert with the FEC earlier this month alleges that Boebert did not keep itemized expense records, and Boebert has refused to provide a detailed accounting of her expenses to inquiring press since this scandal broke. Huffington Post’s Ryan Grenoble:

Boebert’s campaign appears to have failed to keep adequate records of the candidate’s expenses and has been unable to substantiate the mileage reimbursement, the complaint alleges. The campaign declined several requests from Colorado media outlets to provide evidence of her travel. [Pols emphasis]

And now, Boebert is changing her story. At this point, it’s definitely time for a full-scale forensic investigation to get to the bottom of what happened here. Between the large sum of money Boebert pocketed, the suspicious timing of her “mileage reimbursement” relative to paying off her accumulated tax liens, and now the shifting explanation of what this reimbursement was even specifically for, there’s just no way we can continue to take Boebert’s word for any of this.

This scandal has progressed from “not passing the smell test” to stinking to high heaven.

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500,000 Dead Americans, Zero Apologies From Colorado GOP

Having officially passed the tragic milestone of half a million Americans dead, we can say with certainty today that the COVID-19 pandemic was not a “psyop.”

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams got it wrong:

“I’m going to rant just a bit,” wrote Reams on Facebook. “I understand that nobody wants to catch Coronavirus but statistically, even if you catch it you’re likely to be just fine. [Pols emphasis] What I’m concerned with is our Country catching a huge case of socialism. We (our government) has self imposed an economic crash in the name of saving us from a virus and now they are offering the “solution” through money that isn’t really available; let’s call that debt. If you read the attached article, examine what is being suggested and ask yourselves if this is makes sense. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather take my risk with the virus then socialism.”

So did Reams’ buddy, Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck:

Fauci and his team insisted that the best-case outcome for the virus was between 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities stemming from the coronavirus. But that was before the number was revised down to 75,000. And, that was before it was revised down again to 60,000. Surely, more revisions are to come… [Pols emphasis]

Play this nine infuriating seconds of video:

 

Remember former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville downplaying the threat in the most offensive terms:

Describing the metro area’s stay-at-home order as “outlandish and outrageous,” leading to a “gestapo-like mentality,” Colorado’s Republican House leader vowed Wednesday to fight it, ignore it, and continue doing his job.

“It’s completely insane,” said Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock this morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, as first reported by 9News. “I think we have — what? — something like 40 people, maybe it’s 80 people, somewhere in that range, who have actually been hospitalized…” [Pols emphasis]

And a joke now ex-Sen. Cory Gardner told last August that did not age well:

“My 8-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ He says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’ [Pols emphasis] Now, he picked that up somewhere or heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him,” Gardner told a laughing crowd.

If we had the time and inclination, we could write a book just about Republicans in Colorado who made tragicomic fools of themselves by disregarding the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning of the crisis. Had these politicians only endangered their own safety, recounting their stupidity in hindsight would involve more comedy and less tragedy. Unfortunately, it is this willful disregard for public health and safety for the purpose of election-year posturing on the part of Republicans that has led directly to the United States suffering more illness and death from COVID-19 than any other nation.

None of them have said they were sorry. Most of them never will. As a nation we may be too numbed and fatigued to be outraged. But everyone who scoffed at this possibility owes an apology now that this once-unthinkable death toll from COVID-19 is a reality.

At long last, have they no shame?

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