Univ. of Colo. Regent Heidi Ganahl Uses Far-Right Social Media Sites That Allow Bigotry & Misinformation

(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.

 

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Pro-Trump Rally at Colo Capitol: China Rigged Election, U.S. Will Wage War

(Looks chilly – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

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Brauchler Promotes Vote Fraud Video & Doesn’t Reject Guest’s Claim of Fraud in Colo Elections

(Not under oath – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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 publicly debunked 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.

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Jenna Ellis: From the Rockies to the Swamp

(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.

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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.

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Adams County GOP Also Refused to Certify Already-Certified Election Results

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.

Adams County Republican Chair JoAnn Windholz

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.

Lobbyists Who Joined Gardner and Mickey & Goofy Could Be Seeking Access to Another Character: Donald

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

Neville Laments & Stokes Division Among Statehouse Republicans

(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.”

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Judging Gardner’s Legacy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Written by Madeleine Schmidt & Erik Maulbetsch

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.

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Colorado Republicans Fundraising on Fraud Allegations

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

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Conservative Group With Ties to the CO Republican Party Is Fundraising to Sue Journalists

(Sounds very American – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown giver her “Conceptual Framework” presentation of FEC United’s Law & Policy Center

FEC United, a conservative group working closely with the Colorado Republican Party, is fundraising to sue journalists for “unequal treatment.”

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.

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El Paso GOP Filed Police Report Claiming Thefts of Financial Records, Then Lost Interest in Solving the Case

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Presumably they have their top men working on it.

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.

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Complaint to Senate Ethics Committee Alleges Gardner’s Tele-Townhall Violated Rules

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

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FACT CHECK: Gerber Says She Isn’t “a QAnon” But She’s Promoted the Conspiracy Theory

(Who? Me? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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 Recorder reported 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.

Cory Gardner Totes a Fishing Pole, Not a Gun, in NRA Political Ad

(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.

This opinion column first appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder.

Conservative Group Behind Deadly “Patriot Muster” Rally Working Closely With Colorado GOP

(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.

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Senior Trump Campaign Advisor John Pence Stumps With Colorado Republicans

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.”

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Colorado Republican Women’s Group Leader Defends Proud Boys

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.”

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Cory Gardner’s Zoom Room Appears to Include Book by Racist Extremist David Horowitz

(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.

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QAnon Child-Abduction Conspiracies Impede Colorado Efforts To Stop Actual Human Trafficking

(Not harmless – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

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In Shift, Gardner Now Says He Blocked Garland Because He ‘Disagreed with the Selection’

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.”

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Boebert Poses With Sign Linking Her to QAnon

(Bad product placement – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

While attending her own fundraiser hosted by a Sandy Hook truther, Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert posed with a yard sign linking her to the QAnon conspiracies.

Pueblo County Patriots Mona Demicell, an enthusiastic QAnon believer, took the photo and shared it on Facebook.

The sign reads “NO to QAnon. NO to Insanity. NO to Boebert.”

It is located on the front lawn of a neighbor’s house near last week’s fundraiser in Pueblo.

Demicell routinely expresses her support for both Boebert and QAnon conspiracies on Facebook. In a July 9 post, she shared a QAnon post and added the hashtags, “#LaurenForColorado” and “#SilentMajority.”

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State Senate Candidate Lynn Gerber Is Latest CO Republican To Support QAnon

(QAnon takes the ‘burbs! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lynn Gerber, Colorado GOP candidate for SD19

Another Colorado Republican state legislative candidate has joined the ranks of public QAnon supporters.

Over the summer Lynn Gerber, who is running for a senate seat in Jefferson County, posted a pair of conspiracy videos, one of which is QAnon-branded propaganda.

QAnon conspiracist groups have grown so rapidly and promote such extreme disinformation that last year the FBI labeled them a domestic terror threat.

Several other Colorado Republican candidates have shared QAnon-linked conspiracies on social media, most prominently Lauren Boebert who is running for the 3rd Congressional District, but also Gerber’s fellow statehouse candidates Samantha Koch and Vanessa DeMott.

On June 30, Gerber shared a QAnon video titled “COVID 911: The DEEP STATE Insurgency,” which compiles a myriad of conspiracies.

“This is the perfect tool to clear up any doubt as to those who still don’t ‘trust the plan,'” reads the post. “POTUS has been ten steps ahead of all the DEEP STATE actors and their attempt to throw the world into chaos and bring in their dream of the NEW WORLD ORDER. They can’t stop what’s coming. Q. Patriots Are IN control. #WWG1WGA #QAnonArmy.”

The breadth of the disinformation contained in the video is staggering. It claims the COVID-19 pandemic, which at the time had killed 130,000 Americans, is both a hoax and yet also a man-made biological weapon created at the orders of former President Obama and the Democrats in order to sway the election. It goes on to assert that Democrats orchestrated George Floyd’s murder in order to launch nationwide protests, inverting the actual timeline of events- a classic conspiracy feature.

Facebook fact-checkers flagged the post as false information, linking to a thorough debunking memo by the Lead Stories FactChecker site.

“Is the COVID-19 pandemic a conspiracy manufactured by ‘Deep State Democrats’ and the ‘mass media’ to disrupt, even rig, the upcoming presidential election in a bid to topple Donald Trump?” states the memo. “And did the coronavirus provide the perfect cover for the mass racial justice protests since the death of George Floyd after being knelt on for nearly nine minutes by a Minneapolis police officer? No, there is no evidence to support any of this.”

Gerber shared the post on June 30. Facebook’s fact-checkers debunked it less than 48 hours later. Nevertheless, it remained on Gerber’s page for more than five weeks; it wasn’t removed until sometime after Sept 11.

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Boebert Deletes Her YouTube Account Where She Subscribed to Multiple QAnon Channels

(Q*Bert Q-overup – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Story by Jason Salzman, Colorado Times Recorder

Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert has apparently deleted a YouTube account where she had subscribed to receive videos from multiple QAnon channels.

She’s also apparently deleted her personal Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Alex Kaplan, a researcher with Media Matters for America, first pointed out on July 1 that Boebert apparently subscribed to receive the QAnon content on YouTube.

Kaplan’s tweet about Boebert’s QAnon subscriptions, which show that she was apparently following QAnon, came just after she said, “I don’t follow QAnon.”

Boebert first tried to distance herself from QAnon, saying she wasn’t a follower, the day after she won the June 30 Republican primary, when numerous stories about her upset victory reported that she’d once said, as first chronicled by Right Wing Watch in May, that she hopes QAnon is real. QAnon is a widely condemned conspiracy, built largely around the idea that government workers are out to undermine Trump to prevent him from exposing a child sex trafficking network run by Democrats and Hollywood celebrities.

RELATED: Boebert Still Embraces ‘Deep State’ Conspiracy Theory that Gov’t Workers ‘Appear To Be Undermining’ Trump

Kaplan reported that Boebert’s apparent YouTube handle, “Boebert0477,” matches a handle she apparently used to use on Twitter. Multiple entities tweeted to her at the Boebert0477 account.

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Boebert Accepting Endorsement of Conspiracist Group Gun Owners of America at Pueblo Event

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican CD3 candidate Lauren Boebert poses with militia members in front of her restaurant in Rifle.

The far-right Gun Owners of America (GOA) group is endorsing Lauren Boebert for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district at an in-person event in Pueblo this Saturday. GOA is a fringe pro-gun group that, like Dudley Brown’s National Association for Gun Rights, has sent fundraising emails asking for money to defend Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse.

The group also has a history of promoting extremist conspiracy theories. Following the Aurora theater shooting in 2013, GOA issued a press release offering founder Larry Pratt’s availability to discuss the possibility that the massacre was a false flag attack orchestrated by the federal government. As Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy reported at the time,

“[GOA President] Pratt believes the timing of Holmes’ rampage, which left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, seemed designed to coincide with the upcoming negotiation of the United Nations Small Arms Treaty. A press release sent out to radio bookers on Tuesday advertising Pratt’s availability noted that, ‘In an article posted at The New American…one expert even outlined a theory that Holmes didn’t act alone, but was possibly ‘enlisted’ to carry out his violent act.” Pratt, the publicist stated, was free for interviews on Holmes’ ‘impeccable’ timing.’”

GOA Vice President Erich Pratt (Larry’s son) and Boebert will appear together at Saturday’s event. The announcement praises the upstart candidate while noting her inexperience.

“Lauren Boebert may be new to the world of politics, but she’s not new to defending the Second Amendment,” Pratt said. “I look forward to her standing up to the anti-gun likes of Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the halls of Congress.”

The announcement also credited Boebert for her primary victory over Scott Tipton, whom GOA had endorsed in previous cycles.

“While she’s new to the field of public policy, she’s no shrinking violet. Lauren shocked the political world when she defeated the sitting incumbent in the primary – something which hasn’t been done in this state for almost 50 years!”

Boebert isn’t the first Colorado Republican to appear with Erich Pratt. GOA’s December 2014 newsletter featured a photo of Pratt and Gardner together following Gardner’s election to the U. S. Senate. GOA has endorsed numerous Colorado Republicans over the years, including Congressman Ken Buck and Cory Gardner in his campaigns for the U.S. House as well as U.S. Senate. In a May 2017 release, GOA featured a Gardner quote celebrating their work together. Gardner called the group “a fierce defender of the second amendment” that “provided invaluable support as we worked to bring a new generation of leadership to Washington, D.C.” GOA’s extreme positions aren’t limited to gun rights. Over the past thirty years the group has supported white supremacists and the anti-government “Christian Reconstructionism” movement. A 2014 Rolling Stone feature noted that GOA “donated thousands to Christian Identity lawyer Kirk Lyons’…white supremacist organization CAUSE (short for the Aryan bastions of Canada, Australia, the United States, South Africa and Europe).”

As noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 1996 GOA founder Larry Pratt was forced to resign as co-chair of Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign after news broke of his 1992 speech at the “Gathering of Christian Men” in Estes Park, an event that featured Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic Christian Identity zealots and other extremists. The event is widely considered the birthplace of the current anti-government militia movement.

Boebert is an enthusiastic supporter not only of gun rights, but of so-called “Patriot” or “Three Percenter” militias. She has appeared at events with militia members and has asked local militia members to provide security at campaign events.

A call to the Boebert campaign’s communications director asking if the candidate has any concerns about GOA’s endorsement was not immediately returned. This article will be updated with any response. The event will take place at 3:00 PM in the old K-Mart parking lot on N. Elizabeth Street in Pueblo.

Today’s Denver Anti-Child Sex Trafficking March Rooted in QAnon Conspiracy Theories

(Everybody’s going Q-razy! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The “Q-rilla” at Colorado Capitol anti-shutdown rally in April

Organizers of a planned Friday afternoon march through downtown Denver to oppose child sex trafficking are promoting debunked QAnon conspiracy theories involving a ring of elite Democratic pedophiles.

The sudden rise in anti-trafficking hashtags and memes is directly attributable to alt-right meme factories’ latest attempt to sow disinformation. New York Times reporter Kevin Roose documented the digital deception campaign earlier this week, noting:

The idea, in a nutshell, is to create a groundswell of concern by flooding social media with posts about human trafficking, joining parenting Facebook groups and glomming on to hashtag campaigns like #SaveTheChildren, which began as a legitimate fund-raising campaign for the Save the Children charity. Then followers can shift the conversation to baseless theories about who they believe is doing the trafficking: a cabal of nefarious elites that includes Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francis.”

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