Rep. Boebert’s now-former intern, Weston Imer, with his mother Laurel on Jan. 5
Citing his family’s concern for his safety, Colorado teenager Weston Imer resigned from his paid internship for Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) after just six days. His brief time as a House staffer was cut short by the shocking insurrection attempt on Jan. 6 and the potential of more violence to come.
The precocious 17-year-old, who chaired the 2016 Trump Campaign’s Jefferson County effort at the age of twelve, and currently co-directs the political training group America First Republicans, announced his “reluctant” resignation on Facebook yesterday. The full video is available here.
He says he unsuccessfully tried to talk his family out of calling him back to Colorado, before acknowledging that being locked down inside the Capitol during the insurrection was “a little scary.”
KDVR-TV in Denver reported on his experience during the insurrection. In the report, he affirms his belief that “Antifa and [Black Lives Matter] BLM” orchestrated the storming of the Capitol in order to “make Trump supporters look bad.”
In addition to the violent insurrection on Jan. 6, Imer said his family’s concern’s included this Sunday’s planned events as well as “ongoing protests” in D.C. Flyers promoting an “armed march on D.C. and all fifty state Capitols” circulated online over the past week, prompting the FBI to issue warning about potential militia activity in Washington across the country.
Numerous militia groups and right-wing activists, including some in Colorado, have since disavowed the proposed protest and told members not to attend. Following the violence at the Capitol, however, authorities are taking substantial security precautions in advance of the inauguration.
(How the madness began – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Activist Joe Oltmann (right) “explains” an election fraud conspiracy theory to co-host Max McGuire (left)
Angered by the Colorado Times Recorder and other outlets’ reporting on his group FEC United, businessman-turned-conservative-activist Joe Oltmann went hunting for proof that several Colorado journalists–including this one–are members of Antifa. During the course of his research, Oltmann insists, he found evidence that a top executive at one of the largest voting equipment companies in the nation rigged the presidential election.
Oltmann hasn’t produced any of his proof publicly, but his doxxing of the Colorado man and his numerous appearances on right-wing media has produced something of note: multiple lawsuits.
Election equipment company Dominion Voting System recently announced it is suing Trump campaign lawyer Sydney Powell for $1.3 billion. This follows a separate personal defamation claim, filed by the Dominion staffer named by Oltmann, against the Trump campaign, Oltmann, and other far-right media figures.
To hear Joe Oltmann tell it, he didn’t go looking for evidence of his Dominion Voting conspiracy theory; he was on a hunt for “Antifa journalists.”
What prompted Oltmann’s quest to expose these supposed far-left members of the press he believes are conspiring with black-clad anarchists?
According to Oltmann himself, it was at least in part the Colorado Times Recorder’s reporting on his group FEC United that led him down the Dominion rabbit hole.
Oltmann first shared his theory on the Nov. 9 episode of his Conservative Daily podcast. Two days later his co-host asked him to summarize his “discovery” of the Dominion Voting Systems employee that he has subsequently accused of rigging the presidential election.
Truth be told I started [FEC United] and so…we had articles that were written about leadership at FEC by Antifa journalists right? People that are involved in Our Revolution which basically wants to–as Kris Jacks says he wants to basically kill people in the street behead people in the street–I mean I kid you not that’s what he said.
So as we’re going through this process I started seeing all these things were written by these activists. They’re not journalists; they’re activists. And so I just started doing research. Obviously, I’m involved in data and researching to find out Antifa members. I wanted to de-mask Antifa members in our society that were walking amongst us with the idea that they wanted to behead or harm other Americans.
So I got access to a phone call and inside of this call there was someone on that call that’s that called themselves Eric, right? Actually, somebody else called them Eric and somebody asked who Eric was and they said, well you know Eric’s a Dominion guy. So as we were walking through this process I didn’t think twice about it because I wasn’t looking for him. Obviously, I did research on him and found out he works for Dominion Voting Systems.
Oltmann goes on to say he didn’t think much of it at the time because he was focused on finding “Antifa journalists.” It wasn’t until he heard from a friend about Dominion Voting’s widespread use that Oltmann says he “put it all together” and started reaching out to the Department of Justice.
The timing of his epiphany matches with the far-right outlets OANN and Gateway Pundit reporting on so-called vote-counting glitches in states using Dominion Voting machines, claims which by Nov. 11 had already been debunked by the New York Times. That fact-checking went unnoticed not only by both Oltmann but also President Trump, apparently, who tweeted the OAN conspiracy theory on Nov. 12.
(Don’t sleep through it – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch)
Rumors of a Republican statehouse leader considering a run for Congress have been circulating the Colorado Capitol for weeks now, but they focused on former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. Now it looks like Neville’s former right-hand man, Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highland Ranch), is also thinking about federal office.
On January 8, someone registered the URL “kevinvanwinkleforcongress.com.” The registration is anonymous and Van Winkle did not respond to multiple phone messages requesting comment, so the Colorado Times Recorder is unable to confirm that the representative or his campaign is responsible for the purchasing the domain. This article will be updated with any response received.
Van Winkle, who served as Assistant Minority Leader under Neville, ran to replace him as leader of the House Republicans when they held their caucus elections last November. He lost to Rep. Hugh Mckean (R-Loveland), considered the preferred candidate of establishment GOP leaders eager to show a shift away from Neville’s far-right philosophy after disappointing election results in 2018 and 2020.
Recently Van Winkle helped organize the Legislative Audit Committee hearing that promoted misinformation and conspiracy theories about election fraud nationally and in Colorado. Van Winkle also promoted the same debunked conspiracy theories on right-wing talk radio, appearing w/ Rep. Dave Williams. The pair of legislators went on the air and asked listeners to sign a petition rife with false information.
Colorado’s congressional districts will be redrawn this year, using data from last year’s Census. Given the state’s surging population, Colorado is expected to gain an additional seat, creating a new opportunity of office. With boundaries as yet to be determined, however, it’s anyone’s guess where the new district will be or what if any partisan lean it will have.
On Wednesday, during the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, newly-elected U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) blocked one of her constituents, former state Rep. Bri Buentello (D-Pueblo). Elected officials ranging from President Trump to a Colorado state senator have been successfully sued for blocking constituents on social media, which violates their First Amendment rights by severing their ability to participate in political discourse.
The tweet that got Buentello blocked pointed out Boebert’s hypocrisy in condemning the violence at the Capitol by listing quotes from Boebert, who recently joked that the Second Amendment was intended for “hunting tyrants,” encouraging the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged. During her speech on the House floor Boebert also claimed the protestors outside the building as her own constituents.
Buentello believes Boebert’s decision to block her is more than an infringement of her First Amendment rights, but also as an indictment of Boebert’s ability to govern. Buentello explained that there is a difference between campaigning and governing.
“The bottom line is that Boebert works for her constituents,” Buentello said. “I should know as an elected state representative and it’s not easy, but it is what I signed up for. And I darn sure didn’t block people or step on people’s First Amendment rights. People showed up at the town hall I held in Otero County and they screamed and spit on me. This woman? This big wannabe cowgirl who carries a Glock on her hip? She can’t even handle Twitter.”
Elected officials blocking constituents on social media has become a contentious topic of debate in recent years, both because of the rise of social media use and because of Trump’s continued reliance on Twitter once he bacame President. General legal consensus and precedent is that social media pages run by the government or by a public official to conduct public business are protected as limited public forums by the First Amendment.
According to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director at the ACLU of Colorado, Buentello may have a meritorious lawsuit against Boebert.
(Consider yourselves Q-tipped – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
“We Are The Storm!” proclaims the digital flyer for tomorrow’s noon rally at the Colorado Capitol to overturn the presidential election, invoking the QAnon conspiracist slogan.
The JeffCo GOP says it was unaware of any QAnon connection.
The event, which baselessly alleges that the presidential election was fraudulent, is being promoted by the Republican parties of Jefferson and Douglas Counties.
Since Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump, the QAnon “Storm” conspiracy has expanded to encompass claims that Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, the largest voting machine company in the nation, rigged the election against Trump.
State GOP chair Ken Buck and several Republican county clerks (though not the DougCo clerk) reject the conspiracy theory, but numerous Colorado Republicans publicly support it. They include the President’s lawyer Jenna Ellis, eight members of the state legislature, and Joe Oltmann, founder of conservative group FEC United. Oltmann’s group and its associated militia, the United American Defense Force, are also promoting the event.
A pair of relatively new pro-Trump groups, Colorado Election Integrity Project (CEIP) and MAGA Drag Colorado, are organizing the event.
CEIP says speakers at the four-hour event include GOP congressional candidate and conservative activist Casper Stockham, porn industry survivor and former madam Jessica Joy, and Minister Amy Everette of Colorado Prays. Additional pastors are also expected to speak.
(Sadly, no surprise here — Promoted by Colorado Pols)
University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl took to social media last week to announce her new side-gig as a conservative columnist for the Denver Gazette. In addition to posts on Facebook and Twitter, Ganahl shared the news on alt-right site Parler, which is known as a haven for far-right extremists, white nationalists, and conspiracy theorists. Some conservatives are choosing to join it and other “alternative” sites because of their belief that fact-checking efforts by mainstream social media platforms are censoring conservative speech.
Founded in 2018 with funding from conservative donor Rebekah Mercer, Parler positioned itself as a right-wing alternative to mainstream social media sites largely not to ban or remove misinformation or hate speech. The result? A site rife with swastikas, racism, and unsolicited pornography.
Ganahl joined Parker back in June, along with many other Colorado Republicans including Congressmen Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn Sen. Cory Gardner, Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert, and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville.
Buck, Boebert, and Neville are all regular users. Gardner appears to have created handles for both his office and his campaign, but never posted to either account. Ganahl’s Dec. 7 post was her eighth post or “Parley” on the site.
A Trump supporter blows a ram’s horn under a pro-militia flag to open the “Stop the Steal” rally on Saturday.
Freezing weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 60 or so Trump supporters who gathered outside the Colorado’s Capitol today to support a group that claims China rigged the election and predicts the U.S. will go to war against the Asian nation.
The rally, is one of dozens of similar events taking place across the country today under the “Stop the Steal” banner. The Denver event is co-branded with the religious right “Jericho March” (happening today in Washington, D.C.) and a pair of pro-Trump groups.
The Supreme Court’s swift rejection of the Texas lawsuit yesterday didn’t dissuade them either, as they are yet again calling for the court to “Stop the Steal,” which appears to mean cancel the election results and order state legislatures to choose new electors.
It was promoted by the brand-new conservative group United States Election Integrity Project (USEIP). Organizer Dave Roach says the group “sprang out of the chaos after the election.” He acknowledged that the group is new (its website URL was registered on Dec. 4) and linked to national interests. He told the crowd that since its inception the group has grown to over 100 members.
Attendees carried Trump and Gasden “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, as well as handwritten “Stop The Steal” and “Stay In The Fight” signs. One waved a Three Percenter militia flag. The group gathered on the lower landing near Broadway. A pair of women heralded the beginning of the event, one playing a bugle and the other a shofer, which is a traditional Jewish wind instrument carved from a ram’s horn.
Addressing the crowd, USEIP’s Roach stated now-familiar claims that the election wasn’t fair and had been stolen from President Trump. He noted that while some Trump supporters have been calling for civil war, he didn’t think that should happen because he doesn’t believe “fellow Americans” were responsible for rigging the election. Instead he blamed China.
After partnering with the new conservative organization FEC United during the election season, Colorado Republicans are now forced to choose sides between their own party’s officials and the conspiracy theorist leader of the grassroots group, Joe Oltmann.
Oltmann appeared on George Brauchler’s radio show and claimed that not only was the presidential election stolen, but that there was “ginormous” corruption and fraud in Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson county elections.
Oltmann was recounting his anger over what he saw as Congressman and Colorado Republican Party Chair Ken Buck’s implicit dismissal of local voter fraud during an “election security” panel discussion with three Republican clerks last week.
“This is the reason why people don’t trust Republican leadership,” Oltmann said to Brauchler. “It’s because they don’t question things, because you can explain it away in an hour, an hour and a half. Right?”
Brauchler, who’s the sitting District Attorney for the 18th District, responded by sharing his experience touring Arapahoe and Denver’s vote centers and said he saw “a significant amount of oversight” that made the election “pretty darn safe.”
Oltmann, who is a paying advertiser of Brauchler’s show, replied with a litany of unsubstantiated but very specific claims about fraud. He even alleged fraud in Colorado’s 2018 election, saying he believed Brauchler actually won the race for Attorney General. Democrat Phil Weiser defeated Brauchler by six points, a margin of over 160,000 votes, in an election administered and certified by Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
“With all due respect George, you’re wrong,” Oltmann countered. “I think you won the election in 2018. I think the amount of corruption that happens in Arapahoe, Denver, Jefferson County specifically is ginormous. And I think that we have to start looking at how they actually have these audit systems so they can do full audits where they took out samples and say, OK, did this person vote for this person, goes vote for this person? But I think that if you do a hand count, especially this year, you will find a drastic change in what is the election results for Jefferson, Denver and Arapahoe County versus what the Scanners 4.0 tabulation system for Dominion shows.”
Brauchler never disputed or questioned Oltmann’s claims, instead returning the conversation to the false allegations of fraud in Georgia he promoted to start the segment. Those claims had already been publiclydebunked in the days prior to the radio show. Brauchler later offered to invite Oltmann back on the show along with former Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, (a Republican who administered his county’s portion of the state’s 2018 attorney general election which Oltmann alleges Brauchler rightly won). Crane has publicly supported Dominion voting machines and the Colorado election process as secure.
(Colorado isn’t sending our best – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
POLS UPDATE: And today, Axios reports, the other shoe dropped:
President Trump’s lawyer Jenna Ellis has informed associates she tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple sources tell Axios, stirring West Wing fears after she attended a senior staff Christmas party on Friday…
Behind the scenes: Ellis showed up to the White House senior staff party in the East Wing on Friday as the guest of Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro and was not seen wearing a mask, according to sources who attended the indoor event.
“She had the nerve to show up at the senior staff Christmas party knowing everyone was furious with her for constantly stirring Trump up with nonsense,” said a senior administration official. [Pols emphasis]
The next free-wheeling Trump “legal defense” presser will be delayed.
Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani & Jenna Ellis (right) making unsubstantiated claims to Michigan GOP lawmakers
While the rest of the country is just now learning about Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, she is already a familiar face for local politicos, talk radio listeners, and of course, Colorado Times Recorder readers.
Following the New York Times’ feature piece on Ms. Ellis last week, this reporter shared a short audio clip of the self-described “constitutional law expert” telling a conservative Christian audience that as a law student she received a “D” in constitutional law and “didn’t understand it.”
Ellis’ statement was part of a Feb. 2019 presentation on “Engaging the Culture” that Ellis gave at an evangelical church in Littleton, but she’s been speaking publicly in Colorado for years.
She first caught the ear of CTR editor Jason Salzman four years ago, during an appearance on a KLZ talk radio show. Ellis mocked the concept of the college classroom as a “safe space,” telling host Dan Meurer that there were no such spaces at Colorado Christian University where she taught as an Assistant Professor. Furthermore, she said she would tear off any safety pins displayed by students in response to Trump’s election victory, and fail the wearer. Ellis apologized for her statements two days later.
In the 2018 state legislative session, Ellis testified in support of a pair of anti-LGBT bills. One would have allowed adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex parents and the other gave business owners carte blanche to violate Colorado’s civil rights law as long as they claimed it was for religious reasons.
Anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) wrote the business bill; Ellis was one of two ADF “Allied Attorneys” to testify on its behalf. The other was Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown.
For the second time in two days, a Denver Metro county Republican party announced that it, “wouldn’t certify” election results that have already been certified. The Adams County Republican Party said Tuesday it will not certify the county election results, despite the fact that its own representative to the canvass board has already signed off on certification.
All three members of Adams County canvass board –Democratic Party member John Myers, Republican Party member Doug Woody, and Clerk & Recorder Josh Zygielbaum– have already signed the certification document, which was then transmitted to the Secretary of State.
This did not prevent the Adams GOP Chair from posting a statement on the party website and Facebook page saying,
“At this time, the Adams County Republican Committee will not certify the election results due to numerous irregularities that have caused serious concerns with the overall operations during the 2020 Election Season.”
The statement went on to enumerate a variety of concerns, including conspiracy theories involved the Dominion electronic voting machines used by Adams and nearly all other Colorado counties.
Reached for comment, Chair JoAnn Windholz acknowledged that Woody, her party’s representative to the canvass board, signed off on certifying the results and “did not find any red flags.” Nevertheless, the former state representative insisted that “the Adams County Republican Committee doesn’t support the 2020 Election results for the reasons listed on our Facebook site. There is considerable concern with the process of the entire election. With that said, the concerns are valid and these concerns call into question how the election was run.”
Windholz’ statement echoes that of the Jefferson County Republican Party, which on Monday announced that it refused to certify its election results, citing the same unfounded claims of fraud involving Dominion Voting software.
Adams GOP Secretary Doug Woody, who signed the certification letter, disagrees.
“Speaking only for myself and not on behalf of the Adams County Republican Party, I can say that I have every confidence that the ballots cast in Adams County were counted correctly, and I would not have signed the certification otherwise,” said Woody via email. “Neither JoAnn nor anyone else in party leadership ever communicated with me as to how I ought to go about my duties on the Canvass Board. While JoAnn and I had a discussion regarding some of her concerns last week (and during which I told her I did not share those specific concerns), I was unaware of the particulars of the letter until after we had completed the Canvass on Monday morning.”
Reached for comment, Clerk Zygielbaum offered the following statement:
“The Dominion Voting System was certified by former Republican Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, and has been used by Adams County without issue or objection from the Adams County Republican party since its implementation in 2016. Secretary Williams issued a public statement on November 17th doubling down on his confidence in the Dominion system. Other than appointing an official member to the Canvass Board, which oversees election certification in the county, the party takes no part in the certification of the election. The county Republican Party’s appointed representative has signed off on the results of the election, indicating the party’s belief that the results of the election were and are accurate and correct. According to state law, this meets the requirement for election certification and these results have been reported the Secretary of State’s office.”
Colorado Secretary of State spokesperson Betsy Hart acknowledged receipt of of the certified results or “abstract of votes” on Tuesday:
The Adams County Clerk and Recorder transmitted to the Secretary of State the official abstract of votes cast certified by all three members of Adams County’s canvass board. Adams County’s certification was unanimous.
Either the leaders of the Jeffco GOP and the Adams GOP don’t understand that that county parties don’t “certify” election results, or they are intentionally promoting misinformation aimed at undermining Colorado’s democratic process. In Windholz’ case, her experience as a state legislator who once authored a bill on election security makes it unlikely she doesn’t understand the existing safeguards.
Joining the Adams and Jefferson County parties in this misunderstanding is another Front Range Republican party, the Douglas County GOP, which announced Tuesday evening that while it certified its own results, it “most vigorously defends the multiple county parties that are refusing to certify election results across the state.”
The combined residents of Jefferson, Adams and Douglas counties number approximately 1.5 million people, or just over a quarter of Colorado’s total population.
While trips to Disney World following hard-fought contests are generally associated with the winners, lame-duck Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) nevertheless spent last weekend in Orlando in what has become an annual tradition of his own: schmoozing with lobbyists at the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
Last year Gardner’s campaign committee and his PAC spent nearly $40,000 at the resort according to Federal Election Commission records. That may sound like a lot to spend on a fundraiser, until you consider that in 2017, tickets to Project West PAC’s “Family Weekend at Disney World” cost between $1,500 and $5,000.
The event is similar to another Gardner tradition, the annual ski weekend at Beaver Creek, for which tickets started at $2,500. Over 70 lobbyists attended that January event, representing a variety of corporate interests, such as oil & gas, law firms, health insurance, transportation companies, and pharmaceutical makers. Even at the minimum ticket price for each of them, the Beaver Creek event would have brought in $175,000. Gardner himself wasn’t able to attend this year’s ski weekend, but it’s believed he did make it to Orlando.
Gardner’s weekend at Disney World actually began last Friday. On an earnings call with investors the day before, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the park was upping its attendance limits by 40%. The park is now operating at 35% capacity, up from the 25% limit it had in place since reopening in July. Two weeks ago Disney laid off 11,350 workers from the Orlando resort.
Florida is experiencing a severe spike in coronavirus cases, reporting over 10,000 new cases and 29 deaths yesterday.
It’s unclear whether the Senator’s recent election loss caused any fiscally conservative lobbyists to withdraw from the fundraiser. And while Gardner may be a lame duck, those who did pony up to eat and play with Cory and Mickey and Goofy are likely more interested in his remaining access to another character: Donald.
(No peace among the losers – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Outgoing House Minority Leader Patrick Neville chose not to run for a second term leading the Colorado House Republicans, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still willing to speak his mind publicly. Whether on social media or talk radio, Neville, who’s never been one to be shy about sharing his opinions, is letting everyone know how he feels.
In the past week he’s called out House colleague Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta) on Facebook and given an on-air interview in which he pulled the curtain back on conservative donors’ attempts to influence Republican political strategy.
Douglas County Rep. Kim Ransom’s re-election to the Joint Budget Committee was one of the caucus’ several contested elections on Monday. She narrowly defeated Soper, who challenged her incumbency on the basis that his law background would make him more effective.
Soper expressed his disappointment on social media in a since-deleted Facebook post lamenting his defeat as a loss for the Western Slope and describing Ransom as a “Denver-metro career legislator.” Soper promised to fight for rural Colorado, even if that means “[battling] the Republican caucus.” He posted his statement along with a picture of himself and Rep. Neville, a choice which angered the former House Minority Leader.
Neville called Soper’s post “outrageous,” and made it clear he supports Rep. Ransom. Addressing Soper, who is 36 years old, as “young man,” Neville, 37, disputed his characterization of Ransom as a “career legislator.” He also noted that in 2018 the caucus spent “major dollars” on legal fees defending Soper (from claims he didn’t actually live in his district) and expressed betrayal over Soper’s statement:
“So much for unity, Matt. We spent major dollars defending you legally two years ago. Now you pull this? I guess we know where you stand now.”
After a decade in Washington as a public official, Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner is going home. The hundreds of judges he voted to approve, however, many of whom are anti-choice extremists, will continue their work interpreting American law for decades to come.
Gardner’s time in the Senate was historically unproductive by the traditional measuring stick of legislation passed. That was never more true than over the last two years, when the upper chamber’s “legislative graveyard” resulted in only one percent of the 15,000 bills becoming law.
On the other hand, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate accomplished one specific task at an unprecedented rate: confirming judicial nominees to the federal bench, with a total of 220 judges, including 53 circuit judges and three Supreme Court justices.
In fact, nearly a quarter of all active federal judges in the U.S. are appointees of President Donald Trump.
Looking at only the appellate and SCOTUS judges, nearly all of these lifetime appointments were selected from lists prepared by the Federalist Society, a far-right legal organization that has only become more extreme during the Trump Administration.
Criteria by which the Federalist Society compiled those judges cover a broad range of conservative policy issues, but none more significant than a consistent anti-choice record.
Colorado Republicans are asking their supporters for donations to investigate election fraud, but apparently only in those races they lost or are still too close to call.
Two days after the election the state party used the still as-yet undecided race for District Attorney in the 18th Judicial District as a hook for donations, warning of “reports of potential fraud taking place across America.”
Arapahoe Clerk Joan Lopez, whose country is within the 18th Judicial District, offered details on the ballot count process and made clear there has been no evidence of fraud locally.
“Arapahoe County is currently focused on the work of the voter ballot cure process, said Lopez. We’re awaiting remaining military and overseas ballots to ensure all votes are counted. In every election, we employ bipartisan teams of election judges at every step of the process, and we welcome watchers from both political parties to observe ballot processing. We have no evidence of fraud affecting the 2020 election.”
On Monday the state party again asked for money, touting Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert’s claims that President Trump has not lost the election.
Texts and emails from the group redirect to a webpage URL titled “Lawsuit” that claims the legal action will be the inaugural project of its “Law & Policy Center,” which FEC is launching with Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown.
The request for money doesn’t specify the grounds or the defendants for the lawsuits, though in addition to “unequal treatment” it mentions “those who attempt to falsify information with the intent to spread fear and hate.” It’s unclear if Brown, who has provided the conceptual framework for FEC’s Law & Policy Center, will be filing this lawsuit herself.
This isn’t the first time FEC United has threatened journalists, either with legal action or with doxxing.
At an Oct. 15 meeting founder Joe Oltmann said he will “put them on billboards.” He went on to boast that if any “didn’t think he has the money to do it, they will run out of money before he does.” Oltmann has stated publicly that he’s going to sue the Colorado Times Recorder.
On Aug. 18, El Paso County Republican leaders filed a report with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) reporting “multiple thefts” of thousands of dollars’ worth of financial records, ID badges, and a laptop computer from their party’s headquarters over the course of a year.
Yet despite having filed a police report of these alleged crimes over two months ago and claiming that the missing documents are “vital to their operation,” party officers still haven’t given CSPD a list of people who had access to the office.
When an investigator followed up on Oct. 5, the party treasurer told him that they’re too busy with the election to provide the information.
The report, filed by El Paso GOP Treasurer John Pitchford and President Vickie Tonkins, also claims that “numerous computer files have been deleted,” presumably from computers or drives that remain in the office.
Furthermore, the report notes: “All check register information prior [to] 3 April 18 has been removed. All financial / bank records prior to 2017 are missing.”
What sort of thief steals old check registers and bank records? Or takes some computer equipment while leaving others, but not before logging on and deleting some files?
The scenario described in the report seems more like political sabotage than random theft, but if so, why aren’t the victims making the search for the culprits a top priority?
Reached for comment, Pitchford declined to be interviewed over the phone and asked that questions instead be emailed. Upon receipt of the emailed questions, he again declined to answer, first stating that “they might be above his pay grade” and then citing the upcoming election as reason for being too busy to answer any questions.
Via Facebook message, Tonkins declined to comment.
A formal complaint filed last week with the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics asks for an investigation into Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s use of unsolicited robocalls to promote a tele-townhall COVID-19 update within 60 days of the election.
Election season limitations on Members of Congress conducting constituent communication are longstanding and well-understood restrictions. However, in March of this year, the Senate Rules Committee waived at least one of the rules Gardner is alleged to have violated in order to permit senators to update people on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exception permits “providing updated information about the pandemic, and providing information about the federal government’s response.” It is intended to allow the transmission of critical pandemic response information, not for senators to tout their accomplishments to voters.
The complaint filed against Gardner, a Republican, argues that between the pre-selected robocalls to voters and Gardner’s talk of politics and non-COVID issues such as listing his bipartisan work with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), the tele-townhall violated Internet Services and Technology Resources Usage Rules 6.2 and 6.3.
Republican state Senate candidate Lynn Gerber took to Facebook over the weekend to dispute reports that she supports the QAnon conspiracy theory.
“Accusing me of being a QAnon is ridiculous, frankly I didn’t know much about it until they said I was one,” wrote Gerber, who’s trying to oust incumbent Democrat Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada.
UPDATE: After publication of this story, Gerber edited the portion of her post addressing QAnon. It now reads:
“Her party accusing me of being a QAnon along with other lies is ridiculous and false.”
Gerber also “loved” a comment from yesterday supporting QAnon, that claims “the rabbit hole goes far deeper than anyone can imagine and it’s scary. …the fact’s [sic] being released about the Russia hoax and the Biden’s is just the beginning.”
Gerber “loved” the main comment and “liked” the reply.
The Colorado Times Recorderreported in September on Gerber’s previous Facebook posts and comments from late June and early July.
On June 30, Gerber shared a QAnon video titled “COVID 911: The DEEP STATE Insurgency,” which compiles a myriad of conspiracies. She shared it with the statement: “Something to listen to!”
Just over a week later on July 8, Gerber shared another QAnon video as a comment on the “Reopen Colorado” page, in response to a post about Larimer County mask orders.
“This is so good,” another commenter replied when Gerber shared the QAnon video.
Gerber deleted her June 30 post sometime in mid-September, but her July 8 comment remains online today.
Below, read Gerber’s full response on Facebook to reports that she follows QAnon:
“The lies about me by powerful people within a party are Typical dirty politics. Money and political power is ruining our Colorado. It is simply wrong how certain individuals abuse their power, and the dark money that comes into our state. Things must change. The division of good people no matter the party is heartbreaking. My hope is that people in my District will look past the lies and do some research. Senator Zenzinger is a politician, fact. She does her best to look good on the outside, but make no mistake she is a politician through and through. I worked with her on animal welfare legislation that went nowhere because of politics. Accusing me of being a QAnon is ridiculous, frankly I didn’t know much about it until they said I was one. We need leaders. I was asked and called to service. I have been serving my community for the last 30 plus years. I will work for the people and the agenda our party is founded on. Fact check people. So vote for a politician or someone who is a common sense voice for the people, the choice is yours.”
Gerber did not respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. This article will be updated with any response received.
(Maybe it’s one of them gun poles — Promoted by Colorado Pols)
An unarmed Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) shows off his fishing pole.
Cory Gardner brought a fishing pole to gun fight.
The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) latest digital ad for Cory Gardner stresses not just that he’s your choice for “defending the Second Amendment” but specifically, “your right to self-defense.”
Pretty standard stuff for a Republican senator with a history of voting solidly with the NRA, and for cashing millions of dollars of campaign checks from the group. It’s one of several Facebook ads the NRA has run on Gardner’s behalf over the past two months, spending about $10,000 per week.
However the ad doesn’t show Cory packing heat, but rather a fishing pole. The NRA and other gun groups advocate for a very broad interpretation of “bearing arms,” but I doubt even the most diehard supporters believe the Second Amendment covers spin rods.
NARRATOR: “Cory Gardner knows your right to self-defense is essential. Vote freedom first. Vote Cory Gardner for Senate.”
The list of Republican campaign ads featuring candidates and firearms is longer that than the ammo belt feeding Rambo’s machine gun, so the NRA non sequitur B-roll video of Gardner begs the question: is it possible that a Republican senator with an “A” rating from the NRA doesn’t have a single image toting a shotgun or hunting rifle?
One can only imagine the response from gun rights activists if a Democratic candidate ran a similar ad.
Given that the narrator specifically mentions the “right to self-defense,” one would think an image of a firearm would make sense.
Unless, of course, the ad is targeting brown trout.
(Filed under “disturbing” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
FEC United, a new conservative political group, organized the Oct. 10 “Patriot Muster” rally in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The event turned deadly immediately after its conclusion when a private security guard hired by 9News to protect its reporters shot and killed a rally attendee who pepper sprayed him.
As the event’s name implies (“muster” means to assemble military troops), the rally was a call to action for armed supporters to gather publicly. FEC United has its own armed group called the United American Defense Force (UADF), led by former Benghazi security contractor John Tiegen. The “defense force” doesn’t use the word “militia,” but it is indistinguishable from other coordinated groups of armed civilians. The UADF is just one component of FEC United’s multi-pronged organization (FEC stand for Faith, Education & Commerce) that has ambitions to be a national political & policy membership organization for the religious right.
Senior Trump campaign advisor John Pence (left) prepares to speak at his first of multiple campaign events in Colorado today.
Senior Trump campaign advisor and Vice Presidential nephew John Pence is stumping for Colorado Republicans’ campaign events today. He joined state senate candidate Doug Townsend at a small front yard event in Denver’s Montclair neighborhood. In his introduction Townsend noted that Pence, “works closely with the White House Office of Political Affairs and the Republican National Committee to organize the President’s political activities.”
Pence spoke in broad strokes about the need to vote Republican, not only at the statehouse level but for Cory Gardner and Donald Trump.
“Your great Senator Cory Gardner needs to be sent back to Washington for six more years,” said Pence. “He’s fighting for common-sense, pro-growth policies. He’s also fighting for the beauty of Colorado. He championed the Great American Outdoors Act- the largest piece of environmental legislation to be passed since the days of President Roosevelt.”
Pence characterized the election in the direst of fundamental terms:
“My uncle likes to talk about how usually elections are about Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, but this election is about whether America remains America. Whether we see the greatness that is this country. Whether we stand for this land of the free because of the brave, or whether we accept the notion that America is systematically this or systematically that.” [He may have meant ‘systemically.’]
He also emphasized “law and order,” and decried the property damage that accompanied some of the widespread protests against police brutality. “There’s a freedom of expression in America,” Pence warned. “There is not a freedom of destruction in America.”
Former Colorado GOP state chair Amy Ollivier with Sen. Cory Gardner at his annual Christmas Party
Former Colorado Republican state chair Amy C. Ollivier, a longtime party insider who now helps lead the state GOP’s “Women in Action” group, praised the Proud Boys in a long Facebook post, calling them “wonderful men” and “great Patriotic Americans.”
Ollivier wrote her post Wednesday morning, following President Trump’s Tuesday night debate statement in which he declined to condemn the hate group, instead saying they should “stand back and stand by.”
The Proud Boys describe themselves as “proud Western chauvinists [who] refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.” In 2018, the Trump administration’s FBI classified the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism.
Evidence of these ties emerged in Colorado in October, when, as the Anti-Defamation League notes, “members of the Denver chapter of the Proud Boys marched with members of [white supremacist] Patriot Front and former members of the now-defunct neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Worker Party.”
(Rate this room or you hate America – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
During a brief virtual interview with a local Colorado Springs news station last night, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) offered viewers a glimpse at some of the books on the bookcase behind his desk. Most prominent among the visible titles is “Take No Prisoners” by David Horowitz, an unapologetic racist ideologue known for his anti-Muslim and racist statements.
Horowitz, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center considers an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist, has proved so offensive in recent years that being seen as associating with him has created problems for corporations and politicians alike.
In 2018 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refused to answer questions about his speeches at Horowitz conferences.
A week later Verizon canceled its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council over the group’s selection of Horowitz as a conference speaker.
“Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals,” a Verizon spokesperson told the Intercept at the time.
In subsequent weeks, AT&T, Dow Chemical and Honeywell both followed suit, dropping out of ALEC due to its association with Horowitz.
A Colorado resident, Horowitz has spoken frequently to Republicans in his home state, including keynoting the Colorado GOP’s 2018 post-election retreat. He’s also a regular speaker at Colorado Christian University’s Western Conservative Summit.
With the majority of campaign events taking place online, elected officials’ virtual backgrounds are receiving considerable scrutiny.
Neither the Gardner campaign nor Horowitz immediately responded to email requests for comment. This post will be updated with any response received.
Horowitz’ offensive beliefs and statements are legion, but here are a few of the worst, most of which were compiled by Southern Poverty Law Center.
QAnon supporter at Denver “Save Our Children” Rally, Aug. 14, 2020
Over the past few weeks, Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline has been very busy. An increased number of callers are reaching out, many of them believing they’ve witnessed perpetrators or victims. The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) is a Denver-based nonprofit that operates the hotline and runs other programs, including training first responders to identify possible signs of trafficking.
During July and August, LCHT fielded double the calls it usually receives. The explanation for this sudden surge in activity, however, wasn’t a new explosion of child trafficking in Colorado, but rather a massive social media campaign by QAnon conspiracy theory groups. Typically, the hotline’s primary purpose is to connect survivors with recovery services such as counseling or legal help. Unfortunately, the increase of conspiracy-induced calls made it harder for the Lab to do the crucial work of helping those people with immediate needs.
“Between the pandemic keeping everyone home and online and the underground nature of the crime, it’s a perfect storm,” says LCHT’s Communications Director Craig Nason. “Conspiracies like these muddy the water, they use elements of truth and they get people to jump to conclusions. The public perception of this crime influences our efforts to address it. So if that public perception is based in these conspiracies, then we aren’t applying our resources as effectively as we could. Myths, misconceptions and conspiracy theories about this crime aren’t new, but this is as loud as we’ve seen the public perception influence efforts to address it.”
Nason rejected the QAnon’s foundational narrative of a global cabal of child sex traffickers.
“We know from our work with survivors, trafficking is rarely tied to a nationwide or even statewide ring. It’s most often someone that the person knows or even a family member who exploits them. So, for example, the imagery online of chained kids bound-up by a man in windowless van who is taking kids off the street is not helpful. We’re not saying that couldn’t ever happened, but most trafficking is much less dramatic.”
Nason also noted that the Wayfair Furniture conspiracy theory wasn’t just a problem here in Colorado, but nationwide.
Ever since refusing to meet with Judge Merrick Garland, whom President Obama nominated to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has insisted his objection to Garland was about the process, not the person. In an interview last week, however, Gardner said his decision to block Garland was because he “disagreed with the selection.”
Watch Gardner here, speaking via video to the 20/20 Growth Cannabis Public Policy Conference III on Sept. 23:
Interviewer: “In February of 2016, you said, ‘The next election is too soon. We shouldn’t appoint a new justice, need to let the American people decide this.’ I can read your exact quote, if you want. But now you’re saying that, it’s September 2020, and it’s not too soon, you’re interested in appointing new justice immediately versus qualified. So I guess my question is, why was February of 2020 — of 2016 — too close to an election but September of 2020 not?
Gardner: Yeah, I think it’s the same standard today that applied in 2016. The Senate majority exercising its advise and consent powers. In 2016, we did not move forward [garbled]. In 2020, I think it’s important we move forward to fill the judge. I disagreed with the selection in 2016. And I’m looking forward to a justice that is qualified, that won’t legislate from the bench, who will uphold the rule of law in the Constitution. So, that kind of a nominee put forward, my advice and consent will be to put that justice in place, just like it would have been in 2016, had that advice and consent been for a justice if admitted, that met and fit that criteria.”