So Much Winning for Victor Mitchell

According to a new…Facebook poll, or something, Victor Mitchell is totally winning the Republican race for Governor.

Screenshot from Victor Mitchell’s Facebook page, 6/20/18

This “poll” is apparently similar to a “Western Journal Poll” recently conduced in South Carolina that appears to be some sort of online survey of Republicans on Facebook. We doubt this “poll” has any sort of relation to the potential outcome in the June 26 Primary, but since the world seems to do everything else on Facebook…

Only Mitt Romney’s Nephew Had The Courage

Mitt Romney’s Nephew.

With the crisis over President Donald Trump’s new policy to separate undocumented children from their parents at the border and house the children in internment-camp like facilities dominating the headlines, last night Republican candidates for governor of Colorado held their final debate before next Tuesday’s primary election. The issue of family separations naturally came up, and as Denver7’s Blair Miller reports, most of the responses were…disheartening:

The first question the candidates were asked was if they support the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. If not, what would they do about it, they are asked?

Victor Mitchell said President Trump was “on the right track” to comprehensive immigration reform but said that the family separation was a “sad outcome.”

Greg Lopez said he “truly believes separating kids from their parents is something we don’t ever want to see.” But he said that parents are putting their children in harm’s way by bringing them to the border knowing they’ll be separated. “I support the fact that we’re following the rule of law,” he said. But he said they should be given the opportunity to understand they could come back legally.

The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul had frontrunner Walker Stapleton’s typically evasive answer:

Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton did not denounce the president’s action. “The last thing anyone wants to see is families broken up,” he said while blaming federal lawmakers for the problem.

Of the four Republicans running for governor, only one had the courage to say what every person with a conscience should have no problem saying loud and clear–Doug Robinson, who our readers know better as Mitt Romney’s Nephew, via Denver7:

Doug Robinson said he doesn’t support Trump’s policy. “This is not who we are as Americans. It’s not who we are as Republicans,” he said. [Pols emphasis] He said that families should be allowed to stay together and the criminal process should be expedited. Robinson said he believes Hickenlooper’s executive order was “political.”

Walker Stapleton said that the “last thing” anybody wants is to see families broken up. But he said he agrees with Trump’s actions. [Pols emphasis] He called for comprehensive immigration reform and said Congress needed to fix the policy.

Robinson is of course not expected to win next Tuesday’s primary, which may have relieved him of the obligation to follow the party line on this issue. And that’s a critical point: even though many Republicans in Washington have at least rhetorically turned against the Trump administration’s child separation policy, the only segment of the American public who supports what is happening here according to polls are base Republican voters. And those are exactly the voters these Republican primary candidates are competing for.

The Republican base has been so heavily radicalized in recent years that a policy like family separations, roundly condemned and seemingly at odds with fundamental American values has a haven of majority support within that party. While federal Republican officeholders blanch at the horrific video coming from the border camps, the Republican base revels in it. And Republican candidates are forced to embrace utterly toxic situations like the present humanitarian crisis on the border–or risk alienating the voters who decide Republican primaries. The winner is then left to explain themselves to a horrified general electorate.

All we can say is good for Mitt Romney’s Nephew–and God help the rest of them come November.

Anti-Abortion Group: Top GOP Candidates for Governor are Dodging Abortion Questions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Campaign for Life, a statewide anti-abortion group, says two leading Republican candidates for governor won’t answer specific questions about abortion.

The silence from the two candidates, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, has led Colorado Campaign for Life to accuse them of being “squishy” on their alleged “pro-life” stand.

In a Facebook post this week, Colorado Campaign for Life asserted Stapleton and Mitchell “mouth Pro-life rhetoric in private” but won’t say whether they believe life begins at conception or whether they support a proposed law mandating women receive an ultrasound and the option of seeing it, prior to having an abortion.

A review of statements about abortion by Mitchell and Stapleton shows that they’ve both signaled their vague support for the anti-abortion cause, even though their campaign websites are silent on the subject.

The “Issues” section of Stapleton’s website, for example, lists “Sanctuary Cities, Retirement, Education, Energy and Land, Transportation, Second Amendment, and Jobs.” Nothing about abortion rights. In a Facebook interview last week, Stapleton said he’d defend the Colorado Constitution’s ban on state funding of abortion. And during a speech to state Republicans in April, he vowed to protect the “born and unborn,” according to the liberal blog ColoradoPols.

Stapleton did not return an email from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking details on his abortion positions.

Mitchell wrote on Facebook last year that Colorado Republicans “should nominate pro-life candidates,” but he reportedly also believes that Roe v. Wade is settled law–a view that’s considered more pro-choice. And he said he doesn’t support more restrictive abortion laws in Colorado, according to a questionnaire he filled out for the Colorado Independent. He contradicted this stance earlier this year when he said he wants to ban late-term abortions in Colorado. Mitchell did not return an email asking for an explanation of this stance.

Two other Republicans in the GOP primary race appear to have hard-line anti-abortion views.

“I believe that only God has the right to take a life, whether in the womb, beginning at conception, or before natural death,” states the campaign website of Greg Lopez, a former mayor of a Denver suburb, on his website. “I am pro-life, without exceptions.”

Another Republican in the primary race, businessman Doug Robinson, has said he voted for Colorado’s personhood amendment, which would ban all abortion, even after a rape. But responding to a questionnaire from the Colorado Independent, Robinson skipped a question asking if he would support more restrictive abortion laws in Colorado.

Surveys show Republican primary voters  to be anti-choice, but with a recent poll showing Stapleton ahead by double digits, his campaign tactics may already be focused on  the general election, where voters overwhelmingly favor abortion rights.

February poll conducted by a GOP consulting firm showed that 47 percent of Republican voters would reject a pro-choice primary candidate.

But polling generally shows Colorado’s general election voters to be pro-choice. A 2014 Pew Poll, for example, found 59 percent of the state’s population wants abortion to be legal in most or all cases.

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for Governor, Round 2

We asked Colorado Pols readers to weigh in on this question last week, and we’ll continue to post these online polls until the June 26th Primary as a way of gauging the perceptions of politically-astute observers (like you) on the state of the race for Governor.

Remember: We want to know who you think will be the winner in this race — not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. Cast your vote below.

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for Governor (Round 2)?
Walker Stapleton
Victor Mitchell
The Nephew of Mitt Romney
Greg Lopez
View Result



June 14, 2018

Governor Candidate Doug Robinson Is “Least Likely to have a Closet Full of Skeletons,” Says Conservative Activist

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a short video endorsement posted on Thursday, conservative activist Laura Carno lists her five reasons for endorsing Doug Robinson for Republican nominee for governor. Her fifth reason:

“Doug is a good, decent man and I love his wife Diane. He is also the least likely to have a closet full of skeletons.

As she is speaking in the video, the hashtag “#ChoirBoy” appears on the screen.

Carno, however, does not explain on camera why she thinks the other Republican candidates for governor, Walker Stapleton, Greg Lopez and Victor Mitchell, are more likely to have as-yet-unknown politically damaging stories in their past.


Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for Governor?

The Primary Election is less than two weeks away, so it’s time for our very wise readers to start prognosticating.

As always, we want to know who you think will be the winner in this race — not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to gauge the current perception of this race through the eyes (and mouse clicks) of politically-astute observers like you, so we’re more interested in your gut feeling than anything else. Vote away!

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for Governor?
Walker Stapleton
Victor Mitchell
The Nephew of Mitt Romney
Greg Lopez
View Result

S360: Polis 34%, Kennedy 23%, Both Beat Stapleton

Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis.

Ernest Luning of the former Colorado Statesman reports on a new poll from Strategies 360 on behalf of the Service Employees International Union’s small-donor committee–showing Jared Polis cruising to victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, but both Polis and principal Democratic challenger Cary Kennedy both ahead of Republican presumed frontrunner Walker Stapleton:

Jared Polis holds a lead over Cary Kennedy atop the four-way Democratic primary to be Colorado’s next governor, but both would defeat Republican frontrunner Walker Stapleton by the same margin, according to a new survey…

The poll of likely Democratic primary voters and likely general election voters also shows that nearly half of respondents consider themselves to be either just getting by or struggling economically — despite the state’s booming economy — and a good share of them haven’t decided how to vote for governor, either in this month’s primary or the November election.

Those voters, the pollsters added, appear to be receptive to candidates who are up front about supporting workers.

Here’s the full memo on today’s poll.

An interesting detail in this poll, obviously germane to the SEIU’s political platform, is the difference in the results between respondents who describe themselves as struggling economically versus those who self-identify as financially comfortable. Among primary voters who are struggling, the race between Polis and Kennedy is substantially tighter with Polis’ lead shrinking to four points. It’s worth noting that the head-to-head matchups against Stapleton are similarly closer among economically struggling voters, which means the question runs deeper than the mere wealth of the candidates.

All told this poll is good news for Polis, good for Democrats in general, and a clear indicator of where the swing votes will be both in the primary election and in November. Colorado’s economy is booming, but not everyone is seeing the benefits. The candidate who succeeds in winning voters who have yet to feel the recovery with a positive vision for their personal futures will have the decisive edge in the race to be the next governor.

Love him or hate him, this is a truth that John Hickenlooper won two terms by never forgetting.

Stapleton Condemns Racism but Some Say He Should Go Further in Addressing His Great-Grandfather’s KKK Ties

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

Swirling on the fringe of Republican Walker Stapleton’s run for governor is the question of how, and if, he should address the fact that his great-grandfather, former Denver mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton, was a leader of the Klu Klux Klan in Colorado in the 1920s.

Benjamin Stapleton’s KKK ties have led community groups and associations to remove “Stapleton” from their names. It’s led one of Stapleton’s GOP opponents to accuse Walker Stapleton of using his family’s vast wealth to try to cleanse his name in the community.

In a vote earlier this year, after a prolonged debate, residents of the Stapleton United Neighbors neighborhood association came seven percentage points shy of the required 60 percent necessary to change their neighborhood’s name to “Central Park United Neighbors.”

Stapleton has mostly avoided comment on the debate about his great grandfather, but last month he told the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins that he’d “leave it to others to opine on what happened in Colorado 100 years ago.”

“I absolutely condemn racism and I’ll leave it to others to opine on what happened in Colorado 100 years ago,” Stapleton told the Independent, a left-leaning publication.

“I think that whoever lives in that community, whoever has a business in that community, whoever is involved in economic development in that community, whoever is involved in nonprofits in that community— that community should decide,” he added.

In this comment, which appears to be his only response to the KKK controversies involving his family, Stapleton stops short of specifically condemning his great-grandfather’s actions or apologizing for them, leading some to question whether his response goes far enough.


Stapleton’s Bogus Ad: Liars Prosper, Cheaters Win

Reporters Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman at 9NEWS have seized in the last few days on a false claim originally exposed by this blog in an ad for GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton. The false statement itself is unremarkable, with Walker claiming to have been the “only” Treasurer in America to support the Trump tax cut bill.

But what has 9NEWS upset enough to run repeated evening news segments blasting Stapleton with the nuclear-option words “lie” and “liar” is not that the ad is false, so much as Stapleton’s obstinate refusal to correct the ad or, failing that, stop showing it. Despite being debunked by every local TV station that runs “Truth Tests” or their own brand of fact checking, this false ad continues to run–and Stapleton defended it to the point of sheer absurdity in the most recent 9NEWS debate.

Last night, Clark voiced his frustration once again as the ad continued to run on his station, explaining to views that the station is prohibited from removing a candidate’s ad from broadcast–and that Stapleton knows he has the upper hand:

I know that more people are gonna see Stapleton’s false claim than will see our fact check. Stapleton knows that too. It’s probably why he doesn’t care he being called a liar. [Pols emphasis]

It’s tough to imagine how he could spell it out any clearer.

During the 2016 elections, a Republican campaign group bombarded the Arvada state senate district now represented by Sen. Rachel Zenzinger with a blatantly false attack regarding a “trip to China on taxpayer money” that never occurred. Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger (now at 9NEWS) exposed the GOP’s refusal to correct the record, including their using copy from fact-checks denouncing the ads in subsequent ads–and the “China Girl” attacks on Zenzinger backfired.

Unfortunately, the story of the failed “China Girl” campaign against Zenzinger is the exception in modern politics, not the rule. Kyle Clark’s observation above that more people will see the lie than will ever see the fact-checking is exactly right, and this allows unethical campaigns to turn lying into a calculated risk with favorable odds. It’s no longer necessary to tel the truth; all you have to do is broadcast your lies more times than they can be mathematically refuted.

The only thing working against this disheartening reality is the occasional fed-up reporter who decides they’re not going to put up with the bullshit anymore–like Zelinger did in 2016, and what Kyle Clark seems to be doing today. In the 2016 general election, there were both more and more diverse voters to listen. In a Republican primary in 2018?

It’s quite possible that all Clark will succeed in doing here is spelling Walker Stapleton’s name right–but it’s worth the effort nevertheless.

Magellan Poll: Stapleton Maintains Healthy Lead in GOP Field

The Republican race for Governor appears to be a two person race between Walker Stapleton (L) and Victor Mitchell

Last week the Colorado-based, Republican-leaning polling outfit Magellan Strategies released the first public numbers in the Democratic gubernatorial Primary that we’d seen in several months. According to Magellan’s numbers from a survey taken May 30-31, 2018, Rep. Jared Polis led closest challenger Cary Kennedy by 13 points among likely voters, with both Mike Johnston and Donna Lynne failing to even reach double digits.

Today Magellan released numbers in the Republican gubernatorial Primary. If these figures are accurate, Walker Stapleton leads the rest of the GOP field by — you guessed it — 13 points! From Magellan:

Treasurer Walker Stapleton currently leads the Republican primary field for Governor with a 13-point lead and 36% support. His closest challenger is businessman Victor Mitchell with 23% support. Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez has 10% support, Doug Robinson has 4% and 27% of likely Republican primary voters are undecided. Among male voters, Walker Stapleton holds a commanding 23-point lead over Victor Mitchell. Among female voters the election is much tighter and within the survey margin of error. Among seniors aged 65 and older, the most dominant and important Republican primary voter sub-group, Walker Stapleton leads Victor Mitchell by 24 points, 47% to 23% respectively.

Victor Mitchell appears to be the only Republican candidate within shouting distance of Stapleton, while Greg Lopez (10%) and Mitt Romney’s Nephew (4%) are likely out of the picture altogether. Lopez can at least console himself with a weekend straw poll victory.

Magellan Strategies, June 6-7, 2018

9NEWS Shreds Stapleton Over Dumbest Lie Ever

Back in mid-May, we were the first observers to note that GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton’s premiere TV spot contained a major false statement: Walker claimed without supporting any evidence that he was the “only treasurer in the country” to support President Donald Trump’s tax bill. As it turns out many Republican state treasurers supported the Trump tax cuts, some of whom traveled to Washington to shill for the law and took other actions well beyond Stapleton’s mere endorsement on paper.

Over the next few days, every local television station in Denver proceeded to call out this false statement, along with other falsehoods and exaggerations in Stapleton’s ad though this was by far the most blatantly false claim. Despite these unfavorable fact-checks, the ad has continued to run unmodified including the false claim that Stapleton was the “only treasurer in the country” to support the Trump tax cuts.

This week, the situation came to a head after Stapleton made an ass of himself at a 9NEWS debate when questioned about the discrepancy. In the aftermath of that performance, outgoing 9NEWS political correspondent Brandon Rittiman has apparently had enough of Stapleton’s unrepentant bullshit:

We rated that claim false in a Truth Test last month. It’s easily disproved because several other GOP state treasurers publicly supported the President’s plan.

We don’t know what Stapleton was thinking when he started running this ad, but we know he knows better now.

In the 9NEWS Republican debate Thursday night, Stapleton acknowledged that what his ad says isn’t true.

What’s more, he said it’s not important that it isn’t true…

And that (see video above) was a big mistake.

We can’t take his ad down, but it’s fair for his opponents to call it a lie.

If Mr. Stapleton doesn’t want to be called a liar, then he should stop saying something he knows is false. [Pols emphasis]

It’s extremely rare for journalists to use the word “lie” or “liar” without qualifications, or as anything other than a verbatim quote. That’s because journalists, rightly or wrongly, consider their role to be to report rather than judge, and leave the question of truthfulness to the viewer. There’s a credible argument to be made that the chronic unwillingness of journalists to aggressively call out false statements contributed to the “post-factual” political environment that facilitated the rise of Trump to begin with.

But not this time. Stapleton is lying, he knows it, and everyone else does too now. At this point it’s truly baffling why Stapleton didn’t just admit the “mistake,” change the ad, and move on with his campaign. But he couldn’t own up to even such an obvious error. He had to double down. He had to defend this pointless lie as not a big deal, and claimed he learned nothing from the experience.

To use any other word than “liar” in this case would simply be a whitewash.

Walker Stapleton Ducks “Colorado Decides” Debate

Last week we wrote up one of our world-famous “Debate Diaries” from an appearance by Democratic gubernatorial candidates at the “Colorado Decides” series sponsored by Colorado Public Television, CBS4 Denver, KOA NewsRadio and KUNC.

“Colorado Decides” held its debate with Republican candidates on Wednesday, and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton was nowhere to be found. Host Dominic Dezzutti was not at all amused, as you can see at the beginning of this clip of highlights posted online by the campaign of Mitt Romney’s Nephew:

Dominic Dezzutti opens GOP debate with long explanation for absence of Walker Stapleton.

DEZZUTTI: Missing from our lineup today is State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. I feel I need to explain why Treasurer Stapleton is not here.

We made our very best effort to work within Treasurer Stapleton’s very busy schedule. We offered three different dates that would allow us an opportunity to present a debate to you, the voters, within the first week of the mail-in ballots being sent out. We made that request the week after the state assemblies in April. The Stapleton campaign declined those dates but offered two dates that would have pushed our broadcast to a full 10 days after the ballots were sent out. After initially declining their offer of those two dates, eight days later I proposed two additional dates in May. After hearing no response, we decided that we would try to accommodate his schedule, and asked if the original debates they offered were still available. We were told those dates were no longer available.

That brings us to our debate today. We’re disappointed that Treasurer Stapleton could not join us, but as you can see, we did our best. In full disclosure, I want to offer that the other seven candidates running for Governor — both Democrat and Republican — all confirmed the single date we offered them within 48 hours of contact. [Pols emphasis]

Walker Stapleton

What is most interesting here is not that Stapleton did not appear on the “Colorado Decides” debate, but that his campaign apparently created so much ill will in declining multiple invitations. Dezzutti’s explanation for Stapleton’s absence lasted more than a minute; “Colorado Decides” was intent on making it clear that they went out of their way to accommodate Stapleton at every turn.

Here’s what Mitt’s Nephew (Doug Robinson) had to say about Stapleton’s absence:

“Where’s Walker? This is the question we all need to be asking, right? I’m not surprised, he doesn’t show up at half of our events. We have worked — all of us — the state, every small town and so on, he’s not there. He wasn’t here on PERA reform. He says he was the voice on PERA, yet this was the biggest thing that was happening to PERA in terms of its reform since 2010. He wasn’t at the board meeting, he told us where he was the night of the debate — he said he was in bed! Himself, he said he went to bed early that night. He wasn’t lobbying the legislators, he hasn’t shown up.”

Stapleton has participated in other debates during this election cycle, and he is still scheduled to appear at a Republican candidate debate at 9News later today. So why the absence here?

First and foremost, Stapleton does not do particularly well in debate settings. His campaign knows this and thus tries to limit his exposure as much as possible. We’ve heard that Stapleton maintains a comfortable lead over his Republican opponents, though no numbers have been released publicly in recent months, so this may also be a case where Stapleton’s advisers think that there is nothing for him to gain by engaging in multiple debates.

If Stapleton becomes the Republican nominee for Governor, he’s not going to be able to dismiss these events as casually as his campaign handled the “Colorado Decides” forum. Perhaps Stapleton’s campaign is more than willing to worry about that problem later.

Most Predictable Endorsement Ever

Back in January, the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board took the unusual step of calling on every Republican gubernatorial candidate not named Walker Stapleton to get out of the race:

If Republicans hope to elect a governor this fall, they need to narrow the primary field and unite behind State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

This editorial, while conveying an unmistakable message, apparently did not constitute a formal endorsement of Stapleton’s campaign. That came Sunday:

The term-limited state treasurer, Stapleton has a proven record of standing up for hard-working Coloradans. His work benefits middle-class families — struggling to provide food, shelter and clothing — and the working poor. Though holding a statewide public office for two straight terms, he is the rare politician who consistently crusades against the “establishment” of decision makers moving in packs.

The Gazette then recites a list of pro-Stapleton talking points that appear to be lifted directly from Stapleton’s recent ads–including claims that have been debunked by fact-checkers, like Walker Stapleton “led the charge” against Amendment 69 (he didn’t) and “led [the] crusade to defeat a $1 billion tax increase” (he didn’t). It seems there’s not much respect at Clarity Media for colleague journalists’ work product.

There’s nothing surprising about the Gazette’s endorsement, of course, but it should be noted clearly for the record how the biggest conservative news outlet in the state, controlled by the state’s foremost Republican kingmaker, has leaned hard into the GOP gubernatorial primary for Stapleton from the very beginning.

And, you know, sometimes that goes well.

In a Second Financial Reporting Lapse, Stapleton Omits $30,000 of Income on his Disclosure Form for Governor’s Race

(Yeah, that’s not good — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton

In a second reporting lapse on a personal financial statement required for his campaign for governor, Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton failed to disclose $30,000 in income from his wife’s job at the Harmes C. Fishback Foundation, which is Stapleton’s family’s foundation.

Colorado law requires state candidates to report not only their own personal financial information, including sources of income and assets, but also that of their “spouse.”

Jenna Stapleton, Walker Stapleton’s wife, is listed on tax documents as the “executive director” of the Fishback Foundation since 2011. Her address on the tax form matches that of Walker Stapleton. In 2016, she earned $30,000 for working 15 hours per week; in 2011, she earned $25,000 for 10 hours of weekly work as a “co-trustee.”

Walker Stapleton omitted Jenna Stapleton’s income not only in his 2017 disclosure for the governor’s race and the last month’s updated version, but it’s also not listed on his 2012 financial disclosure form, which was an update from the 2011 form, and on subsequent updates. Stapleton’s latest disclosure lists 12 sources of income, but the Fishback Foundation is not one of them.

Stapleton’s campaign did not return multiple emails seeking comment on this apparent omission or to explain it. This blog post will be updated immediately, and even removed if necessary, if Stapleton responds with an explanation.

In discussing his financial disclosures with the Colorado Independent, Stapleton said he’s  “taken pride” in comporting himself with “integrity through an ethical code” since entering office.

Reasons for failing to disclose Jenna Stapleton’s income could range from a clerical oversight or poor legal representation to deliberate obfuscation or a belief that $30,000 income is too paltry an amount of money to bother disclosing, amid the ginormous assets that Stapleton has amassed. Such speculation is necessary due to the lack of response by Stapleton.

Regardless, Jenna Stapleton’s income was left off the disclosure, so Stapleton must amend his form or face a possible fine of $50 per day from the Secretary of State’s office or possibly misdemeanor charges and additional fines if he doesn’t comply.

Last month, Stapleton corrected his 2017 financial disclosure document, after the Colorado Independent informed Stapleton that his disclosure form failed to mention a trust, called Rocky Mountain Trust, LLC, that Stapleton says holds his assets in, for example, Wells Fargo, a pubic company, and Sonoma West Holdings, a private one.

“For clarification, all assets listed in my October 2017 candidate financial form are currently owned by Rocky Mountain Trust, LLC, as noted in my 2012 office holder financial disclosure, and are managed by the trustees of the trust,” Stapleton wrote in his May 25 “clarification” to the Colorado secretary of state.

Asked by the Independent in May about his income other than his state paycheck, Stapleton replied that he has “a lot” of passive business investments but said nothing about his wife’s $30,000 annual income.

“Do I have alternate sources of income? You bet I do,” he told the Independent. “And I would say that’s because of my business acumen, which Colorado needs more of, specifically in the governor’s office.”

The Harmes C. Fishback Foundation shows annual revenue ranging from $175,000 to $2 million. Its trustees are Craig R. Stapleton and Benjamin F. Stapleton III.

Among about 75 grants awarded by the foundation in 2016 were: $200,000 to the YMCA of Metro Denver, $50,100 to the University of Denver, $10,000 to Graland Country Day School, $10,000 to the Mizel Museum, $5,000 to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, $3,500 to the Gathering Place, $50,00 to the US Air Force Endowment Fund, $10,000 to Denver Debutante Ball, $5,000 to Step 13, and $5,000 to the Colorado Historical Society, which receives money for the Colorado History Museum or History Colorado.

The foundation’s donations to History Colorado led former Republican candidate for governor Steve Barlock to accuse Walker Stapleton of directing the Fishback foundation to donate to the museum to cover up the Stapleton’s white supremacist roots.

An investigation by the Colorado Times Recorder revealed that History Colorado, in fact, removed references to Walker Stapleton’s great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Stapleton, in its Ku Klux Klan exhibit, even though former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton is one of the most prominent Klansmen in Colorado history. The museum has stated that it has discussed Stapleton’s role in the KKK in Denver and that the accusation that it deliberately omitted mentioning Stapleton’s KKK involvement as a result of a donation is absolutely incorrect.

Corrections: This blog post was corrected to state that Sonoma West is private company, and the museaum’s denial of Burlock’s accusation against History Colorado was also added.


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 5)

Mail ballots are on their way to your home in advance of the June 26 Primary. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is accusing former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of witness tampering. From the Washington Post:

Prosecutors accused Manafort and a longtime associate they linked to Russian intelligence of repeatedly contacting two members of a public relations firm and asking them to falsely testify about secret lobbying they did at Manafort’s behest.

The firm of former senior European officials, informally called the “Hapsburg group,” was secretly retained in 2012 by Manafort to advocate for Ukraine, where Manafort had clients, prosecutors charged.

In court documents, prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III allege that Manafort and his associate — referred to only as Person A — tried to contact the two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps. The description of Person A matches his longtime business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Manafort, 69, has been on home confinement pending trial.

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to consider revoking Mueller’s release while he awaits trial. Manafort has until Friday to respond to tampering allegations.


President Trump is again lashing out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not doing enough to get rid of the Russian collusion investigation. As explains, Trump is throwing Sessions completely under the bus.

The White House is still struggling to figure out how to respond to an obvious lie related to the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump, Jr. and several Russians. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is trying to peddle a narrative that this is all just one silly error, as CNN reports:

Rudy Giuliani denied Monday that the disclosure by Donald Trump’s attorneys that the President dictated a crucial statement on the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting — a reversal from past denials — constituted a lie, instead claiming it was a routine mistake.

“It was a mistake,” Giulani, a lawyer for Trump in the Russia investigation, said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” Monday. “I swear to God, it was a mistake.”

At least Rudy Giuliani is not your attorney.


► Environmental Protection Agency leader and prolific tax-dollar spender Scott Pruitt will be in Denver this week to speak at the annual Western Conservation Summit.


The June 26 Primary Election is exactly three weeks away, which means the attack ads are getting heavy. A total of eight states are holding their Primary Elections today, including California; NBC News runs down everything you need to know.


Get even more smarter after the jump…