Walker Stapleton on PERA Reform: Eight Years of Zilch

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

Long periods of inactivity occasionally interrupted by pointless platitudes.

If you were going to summarize Republican Walker Stapleton’s history with his self-professed signature issue of PERA reform, this is about where you’d end up.

As Brian Eason writes for the Colorado Sun, Stapleton has spent the last eight years as State Treasurer talking about the importance of reforming PERA (the Public Employees’ Retirement Association) but rarely bothering to actually do much to support his rhetoric. This won’t likely come as much of a surprise to anyone who is even remotely familiar with Stapleton, but the details are still pretty damning:

“Everything I said about the need to fix this problem seven or eight years ago I think has been borne to be true,” he told The Colorado Sun in an interview. “I’m proud of the fact that I was right on a lot of the things that I said were wrong.”

But when it came time to actually fix it? Stapleton — by his own admission — was largely absent from the public debate. [Pols emphasis]

By his own admission…

By Stapleton’s own admission, he wasn’t even conscious when lawmakers were voting on the most significant piece of PERA legislation (SB12-200) in the last decade. This is a direct quote from Stapleton via Colorado Public Radio:

“I was not physically even at the legislature. I think I was asleep by the time they finally passed the deal.”

It’s been pretty clear for awhile now that the Republican nominee for Governor is not a good candidate, but Eason’s story reinforces a more fundamental problem voiced by Democrats and Republicans alike: Walker Stapleton just doesn’t show up, and he’s not really interested in arguing otherwise. His legacy at the State Capitol is an empty parking spot.

Stapleton’s poor attendance as State Treasurer has been well-documented. Eason’s story in the Colorado Sun is different in that it takes a more focused look at Stapleton’s “involvement” with the one cause he has championed above all others:

In the fall of 2017, he trashed the board’s plan in interviews and editorials. In December, he offered suggestions of his own. But in the spring of 2018, when lawmakers set about to craft the final product, he went uncharacteristically silent.

He wasn’t at the negotiating table when the bill was drafted. Nor did he testify publicly on the measure, as he’d done on pension-related bills in years past.

“At the time it was really hard to tell whether he was a critic of what was being proposed or whether he was supporting it,” said Terry Campbell, PERA’s lead lobbyist.

Largely absent” will be the inscription on Stapleton’s political gravestone. 

Lang Sias Dedicated To Backing Trump Now And Re-Electing Him In 2020

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Republican Party’s candidate for lieutenant governor apparently backs Trump not only now but also in the 2020 election.

State Rep. Lang Sias (R-Arvada), who’s Walker Stapleton’s running mate, became a “new member” of a Facebook group called “MAGA Trump Colorado” last week, according to a Facebook post obtained from a source.

MAGA Trump Colorado describes itself as “dedicated to supporting President Donald Trump and committed to his reelection in 2020.”

“Let’s work together to fulfill his vision of making, and keeping, America great,” states the group’s Facebook page.

Recent posts on the MAGA Trump Colorado website show bigotry to Muslims and hostility toward people of color generally.

For example, one post states, “WHY WOULD ANYONE BELIEVE THAT ISLAM CAN BE PART OF A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY.”

Another post states, “AS A WHITE PERSON, I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF MY SKIN BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLAINED FOR DECATES ABOUT BEING JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF THEIRS.”

Stapleton’s campaign did not return an email to confirm his MAGA Colorado membership and seeking to know if Sias 1) was aware of the bigotry on the MAGA Trump Colorado site and 2) would consider withdrawing his name from the site.

Another question for Sias that went unanswered: Is there anything Trump could do, or information that could be revealed, that would stop Sias from voting for Trump again, as Sias is apparently committed to doing?

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Brian Watson, GOP Treasurer candidate: “Teachers just collect government checks.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Brian Watson, candidate for Treasurer of Colorado, is kind of a jerk. He demonstrated that recently in a Club 20 debate with his Democratic opponent, Dave Young,  captured on video by Colorado Education Association. Dave called out Brian Watson for owing nearly a million dollars in unpaid taxes and loans for seven years: “How can you manage our state’s finances if you cannot manage your own?,” Dave Young asked.

Watson replied, ” I’m so glad you asked that question. Because while you were a junior high math teacher, collecting a check from the government, which you have done your entire career, <snip>, we job creators were on the front line.”

Watson is a “job creator”? He’s a real estate developer, and pledges that he won’t take a salary if elected to the Legislature. (Hint: he plans to moonlight at Northstar Commercial Partners, the company he founded, which owns buildings all over Colorado. Watson doesn’t need a treasurer’s $68K a year salary )

Watson, like Trump, loves debt, and spins his deadbeat history as a net positive:

I’ve restructured complex debt….I’m battle – tested

But since Watson has a history of unpaid taxes and liens, Watson has been a net drain on the economy. He finally paid off his business debts right before the Republican primary in 2012. The contractors who had to wait for payment, or had to write off debts, were probably unimpressed by Watson’s “battle testing”.

Can you say, “Conflict of interest”?

As Treasurer, Watson would be making decisions and helping to make policy that would directly impact his company’s bottom line. For example, included in Northstar’s portfolio of buildings are several renting to charter schools in Colorado. As Treasurer, Watson’s business stands to profit by renting to charter schools, which are generally taxpayer-supported public schools, while he continues to work at his real estate investment company – just like the current Treasurer, Walker Stapleton, who continued to collect a $150,000 salary consulting  at Sonomawest , / Stapleton Acquisitions), all while “moonlighting” as Colorado’s Treasurer.

At least, if elected, Watson could take a lunch break at one of the buildings his company owns near the Capitol.

For a longer , higher quality video of the two Treasurer candidates debating, see the Aaron Harber show, Parts 1 and 2.   I’ve highlighted their statements about PERA below.

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Tailhook Scandal Resurfaces for Stapleton Running Mate Lang Sias

Walker Stapleton (left) introduced running mate Lang Sias at the Wings Over the Rockies Air Museum in Denver on July 11, 2018.

As John Frank reports today for the The Colorado Sun, Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Lang Sias played a not-insignificant role in the infamous Tailhook scandal of the early nineties. We’d encourage you to read the entire story for yourself, but we’ll try to summarize the key points here as best we can.

For those of you who don’t remember the Tailhook scandal (or were too young to recall the story, or maybe not even alive yet), let’s pause to recap. Tailhook was a major national story at the time and remains one of the biggest black marks in the history of the American military. The name stems from “The Tailhook Association,” a private organization for Navy pilots that held an annual “conference” in Las Vegas that brought 5,000 current and former aviators together for a drunken bacchanal. The most disturbing accounts include multiple allegations of sexual assault – women were reportedly forced to walk a hallway called “the gauntlet,” where they were groped and fondled – as well as reports of prostitutes performing sex acts on military members in front of an entire room full of people.

To understand how out of control the Tailhook parties had become, consider this line from a Department of Defense (DOD) report in 1993: “Investigative activity to date has confirmed more than isolated instances of men exposing themselves, women baring their breasts, shaving of women’s legs and pubic areas, and women drinking from dildos that dispensed alcoholic beverages.” [Pols emphasis]

As Frank explains for The Colorado Sun:

In total, a Pentagon report determined that 117 officers were implicated in one or more cases of assault, indecent exposure or conduct unbecoming an officer and 51 additional individuals made false statements during the investigation. “Furthermore, several hundred other officers were aware of the misconduct and chose to ignore it,” the investigation concluded.

In 1997, William McMichael published a book about Tailhook titled “Mother of All Hooks,” that included extensive detail from testimony made to DOD investigators and plenty of references to Sias. In 1991, Sias was a naval pilot with the VAF-83 squadron, also known as “the Rampagers.” Sias was not disciplined for his involvement with Tailhook, though the scandal essentially ended the career of his commanding officer, Robert Stumpf.

Now, here’s how all of this becomes a problem for Sias:

In order to reach the Tailhook Conference, Sias and Stumpf flew in an F/A-18 jet from a naval base in Florida to a military airfield in California that was a few hours drive to Las Vegas. We don’t need to explain why taking a military jet to a giant party is a bad look. Sias and Stumpf shared a room at the Las Vegas Hilton, where the parties took place. Sias was among those in attendance when a pilot received oral sex from a prostitute in front of a room full of people – an incident that later became a focal point of the DOD investigation.

Rep. Lang Sias (R-Arvada)

During the DOD investigation, Sias told officials that he didn’t remember seeing Stumpf in the room when another pilot was with the prostitute. Stumpf later admitted to being in the room, which didn’t do much for Sias’ credibility.

Fast-forward 27 years, and Sias remains pretty tight-lipped about the entire incident. As Frank reports for The Sun:

But Tailhook is a topic Sias is not willing to discuss in detail. In an interview this week, The Colorado Sun asked Sias at least nine times in a 17-minute interview about what he saw at Tailhook, but Sias refused to directly answer each time. Instead, he repeated iterations of the same line.

“I was never accused of doing anything wrong ever by anybody at any time,” he told The Sun and its television partner, CBS4. “You’ve seen my records, and there’s no way that I would have the fitness reports that I have … if there were any blemishes on my record.”

Okie, dokie. What about the fact that Sias flew a fighter jet across the country to attend the Tailhook “convention”?

Asked about the flight three times, Sias eventually told The Sun: “I think we behaved appropriately, and I think that’s documented in the record.”

Um…sure. And what about Sias claiming that he didn’t see Stumpf at the party?

In an interview with The Sun, Sias declined to address the apparent inconsistency. “I would simply say the record and the facts stand for themselves,” Sias said. “If I had said something that created a conflict or otherwise was illegitimate on my part that would have been reflected in my record.”

According to Frank, Stapleton’s campaign knew all about Sias’ involvement with the Tailhook scandal when he was tapped to be Stapleton’s running mate in early July.

The Great Colorado (Pay)Backfire

For most of the last eight years, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton — the Republican nominee for Governor in 2018 — has used “The Great Colorado Payback” as an excuse to get his goofy mug on television for a few weeks every spring. It’s a nice little perk for a politician looking to run for higher office; you basically get to stand in front of a camera and tell Coloradans how to collect money they didn’t know they were owed.

There’s never been much of a downside to this arrangement…that is, not until Stapleton managed to find one. Because Stapleton has been so inept in his job as State Treasurer, the Great Colorado Payback program is in complete disarray.

And that’s how Stapleton ends up with a starring role in a brutal negative TV ad like this one from “Good Jobs Colorado”:

Staple-thusiasm! Sterling, CO Edition

The Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) cracks on the above photo from the Sterling Journal-Advocate, featuring GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton and a precious two attendees at Stapleton’s campaign stop in the northeastern Colorado town Monday:

Walker Stapleton’s enthusiasm gap can be summed up in one photo. When he visited Sterling, Colorado, on Monday, he drew in a whopping two people—an elected Republican official and a Republican candidate—to hear his ideas for Colorado.

Despite not doing his job and missing from work for weeks at a time while campaigning with fringe right-wing figures like Tom Tancredo, Stapleton isn’t getting his voters all that excited. Likely because his real base consists of his special interest donors.

“If Walker Stapleton hasn’t realized he’s in trouble by now, this photo should make things crystal clear,” said Democratic Governors Association Deputy Communications Director David Turner. “Everyday Coloradans aren’t buying what Walker Stapleton is selling them. He’s probably a bit more comfortable when he’s surrounded by the likes of Tom Tancredo or his special interest donors.”

For the record, that’s Jane Bauder, a candidate for Logan County commish and Josh Sonnenberg, chair of the local Republican Party. As for why nobody else showed, reports the J-A?

A planned northeast Colorado business roundtable at The Grill @ River City was short on attendees; according to Josh Sonnenberg, president of the Logan County Republican Party, several businesses in Sterling were affected by loss of Internet service Monday and that likely prevented business people from being able to break away.

We’ve been to Sterling, and “the internet was down” doesn’t seem like a very good excuse for why nobody showed up to Stapleton’s campaign event there. Logan County is about is safely Republican as it gets, and sugar beet harvest season isn’t until October.

So in the absence of a better explanation, we’re forced to agree that Stapleton just isn’t a draw.

And, well, yes, Tom Tancredo probably would be.

Andrews Deleted Tweet About Stapleton Due To The “Hysteria” It Was Causing

(Smashing choice of words – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews created a mini-frenzy on Twitter yesterday, when he wrote that Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor, told a luncheon crowd of 20 “faith leaders” that Stapleton would be “pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom.”

“I saw this thing spiraling away unproductively, the way it happens so often on Twitter, and I thought, I have better things to do with my time and better ways to support my preferred candidate for governor,” he said, adding that he knows there are screen shots of his Tweet out there. “I wanted to do my small part toward sanity and civility and pull the plug.”

“What I wrote was that Stapleton told us he is pro-life, pro-family,” he said, “and pro-religious freedom. I’m saying that if someone were to ask him today, ‘Is that so?’, he would treat it as a shrug: ‘Everyone knows that’s so.'”

While that’s generally true, the details about Stapleton’s positions on those topics aren’t fully known.

For example, he’s said he’d be a “pro-life governor,” and will protect the “born and unborn.”

But he wouldn’t tell a television reporter if he’d sign legislation making abortion illegal or harder to get in Colorado.

That’s a question that’s salient given the U.S. Supreme Court’s shift to the right and likely move back from protecting abortion rights.

“I was having words in my mouth,” said Andrews. “Stapleton was having words put in his mouth. I didn’t want to put Stapleton and his campaign team in a position of having to answer to some spittin’ match that Andrews started.”

“I’m proud of the photo [of himself and Stapleton that accompanied the Tweet],” he said, saying it was the “follow-on hysteria” that bothered him.

Who Will be Colorado’s Next Governor? (Round 4)

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton

We forgot to post our weekly poll on the Governor’s race on Monday, so here it is. Tell us who you THINK is going to win the race for Governor.

Remember, we’re looking for your best educated guess on the outcome of this race, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of the race are (or are not) changing as Election Day nears. For previous results, click Round 1Round 2, or Round 3.

Who gets to move into the Governor’s Mansion in January? Will it be Democrat Jared Polis or Republican Walker Stapleton?

Who Will Be the Next Governor of Colorado?
Jared Polis
Walker Stapleton
View Result

Local Media Shreds RGA’s Latest BS Ad

A new-ish ad running from the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) (above) attacks Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis for allegedly “not paying taxes” for a number of years, and stashing funds offshore in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Not paying one’s fair share of taxes is a common allegation made against wealthy political candidates on both sides, sometimes quite damagingly (see: Romney, Mitt).

But in Rep. Polis’ case, as the Denver Post’s editorial board did a surprisingly good job explaining yesterday, it’s a warmed-over hit job with no factual basis:

The television ad makes it sound like Polis has used clever accounting tricks, specifically off-shore accounts that shelter money from the IRS, to avoid paying federal income taxes.

The Denver Post’s reporters have never found evidence of such behavior in Polis’ lengthy financial disclosures required by Congress or in the tax documents he voluntarily disclosed when he ran for Congress in 2008. [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Post’s Jon Murray reported that in the four years spanning 2001 to 2005, Polis reported “a net loss of income.” Murray noted that in other years “Polis paid more than $18.4 million in income taxes on more than $120 million in adjusted gross income.”

As for the ad’s juicy claim that Polis stashed money in the Cayman Islands? The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning joins in the debunking:

As for any “offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes,” a Polis campaign spokeswoman pointed to reporting from 2008, when Polis acknowledged holdings in a company that also maintained a fund in the Cayman Islands for international investors, but said he never had any money in the Cayman fund.

During his run for Congress in 2008, Rep. Polis disclosed all of these financial details–documenting the growth of his personal fortune as well as the years in which he didn’t owe taxes due to investment losses. There was heavy scrutiny of those disclosures by Polis’ opponents in that race, and news reports that validated Polis’ version of all these uncontroversial events.

There’s been tremendous turnover in local media in the ten years between Polis’ run for Congress and his bid for governor, but the RGA made a big mistake in assuming nobody would remember that these details in Polis’ financial history had all been disclosed and questions resolved back in 2008. It’s another case of political operatives knowing an allegation is false, making it anyway, and counting on the new allegation getting more attention than the debunking. Call it “post-truth” politics, which have become the norm in the era of Cory Gardner and Donald Trump.

What we’re seeing here, much like the local media’s revolt against Walker Stapleton’s false ads in the primary or a similar case in 2016 where false and racist attacks against now-Sen. Rachel Zenzinger were audaciously recycled by Republicans–not to mention yesterday’s bizarre “black is white” botched attack on Democratic AG candidate Phil Weiser–is the knowing deception becoming too brazen for even the most complaisant voices to tolerate.

At long last, “post-truth” politics appears to be backfiring in Colorado. That’s a welcome development.

Get More Smarter on Monday (September 10)

Shana Tova, friends. 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.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Journalist Bob Woodward, whose reporting on Watergate helped end the Presidency of Richard Nixon, says that he has never seen an administration as disastrous as the one occupying the White House today. From CNN:

“I’ve never seen an instance when the President is so detached from the reality of what’s going on,” Woodward told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in a Monday interview, adding: “This has not been treated seriously enough. Some of the things Trump did and does jeopardize the real national security.”…

…One of the two reporters primarily responsible for a series of stories detailing corruption at the highest level of the Nixon government and a man who has spent the last four decades reporting and chronicling how each successive president since Nixon has dealt with the immense challenges of the office, is now suggesting that what he saw in the Trump White House is unlike what he’s seen before.

That’s a big deal — especially because it confirms much of the daily reporting that has come out of this White House since Trump became President 19 months ago.

Meanwhile, Trump is trying hard to dispute the idea that his administration is a runaway train. As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN:

Donald Trump is making an aggressive effort to stem the crisis of authority afflicting his presidency at a critical moment.

With midterm elections looming, he’s facing new questions about his fitness for office, and he’s hunting a hidden rebel within his own camp.

The President took immediate steps to address the situation on Monday, hitting out at Bob Woodward’s new book, which, along with an op-ed by an anonymous senior official in the New York Times, presents a devastating picture of his performance…

…Typifying the sense that what would once seem absurd now counts for normality in this White House, Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday offered to take a lie detector test to prove he was not the author of the op-ed which assailed Trump for “half baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless” leadership.

 

► As Blair Miller of Denver7 reported late Friday, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton — who would like Colorado voters to promote him to Governor — doesn’t seem to show up at his current job very often:

Logs of keycard and access code usage at the private doors of the Capitol, which can only be used by state employees and lawmakers, show that Stapleton hasn’t used his keycard or access code once during his second term in office, which CSP confirmed was the case. [Pols emphasis]…

…Stapleton’s campaign spokesman, Jerrod Dobkin, sent Denver7 the following statement: “As the Colorado State Patrol confirmed, Walker uses the south entrance to enter the Capitol.” However, CSP did not confirm that Stapleton uses the south entrance, only that it was possible to use the public entrances without a keycard if a state employee ID is shown. [Pols emphasis] Logs from 2011, when Stapleton used his keycard, shows he almost always used the entrance on the south side of the building.

In short, there are no records of Stapleton going to his office in the State Capitol at any time during his second term as State Treasurer. That’s not good.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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It Worked! Right-Wing Base Loves Stapleton For Appearing With Tancredo

(Remember, you’re not the only audience – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Political observers were left scratching their heads last week over why Walker Stapleton, who’s  Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor, would appear at a fundraising event with former Congressman Tom Tancredo, whose views on undocumented immigrants (kick them out), Mecca (bomb it), abortion (ban it) and much more don’t align with the swing voter sensibility that most rational candidates aim to mimic in a general election like the one coming up in November.

One explanation: Stapleton has no prayer of winning the general election if his GOP base voters, including the ones who love Tancredo, aren’t enthusiastic about Stapleton. And Tanc is an enthusiasm magnet for the GOP base.

This could explain not only why Stapleton wrapped Tancredo in a tighter embrace last week but also why Stapleton told a radio host again a couple weeks ago that he’d like to campaign with Trump here in Colorado. He said the same thing in June.

If Stapleton’s intent was to fire up his base, it appears to have worked, according to the right-wing focus group of Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden, radio hosts on KNUS 710AM’s afternoon show.  They approved!

“I give Walker Stapleton a ton of credit,” said Hayden, a former Denver TV reporter. “He did not back down one iota. You know, Tom introduced him, gave a great speech…. Congratulations to you, Walker Stapleton!”

Hayden’s advice: Let Tancredo “go out to every event. They need a cheerleader type to rev people up.”

Boniwell, who’s been described as the id of Colorado’s Republican Party, was impressed by the Tancredo-Stapleton event, but he predicted that Stapleton will lose in November.

“It’s over, you know, basically,” said Bonniwell, who’s also the owner of the Glendale/Cherry Creek Chronicle.

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“Balancing” Absentee Story Goes Badly For Stapleton

Walker Stapleton.

Denver7’s Blair Miller took a deep dive Friday into one of many controversies being argued out in the Colorado governor’s race. For years since Republican nominee Walker Stapleton was elected Treasurer, it has been persistently rumored that Stapleton’s personal attendance at his office inside the Capitol is very poor. This was long known anecdotally, but was then apparently validated back in 2014 by official key card records indicating he rarely shows up. Stapleton pushed back hard against that allegation, saying he used another secured entrance where the card wasn’t needed.

Since 2014, Stapleton apparently “solved” the problem by never once using his key card:

Logs of keycard and access code usage at the private doors of the Capitol, which can only be used by state employees and lawmakers, show that Stapleton hasn’t used his keycard or access code once during his second term in office, which CSP confirmed was the case. [Pols emphasis]

While several state officials and employees said they typically used the private entrances, several said they also used the public entrances and flashed their state ID badges to the troopers at the door to get inside without keycards or access codes. CSP said that was “not uncommon.”

Since Stapleton knew his attendance could be tracked in this manner, the motive for completely abandoning the use of his keycard is obvious–to conceal his attendance record.  The response to Miller from Stapleton’s campaign is less than ideal:

Stapleton’s campaign spokesman, Jerrod Dobkin, sent Denver7 the following statement: “As the Colorado State Patrol confirmed, Walker uses the south entrance to enter the Capitol.” However, CSP did not confirm that Stapleton uses the south entrance, only that it was possible to use the public entrances without a keycard if a state employee ID is shown. [Pols emphasis] Logs from 2011, when Stapleton used his keycard, shows he almost always used the entrance on the south side of the building.

So this week, Colorado Democrats took another approach to proving Stapleton’s absenteeism:

Camp Stapleton is very upset about this too, and they say there’s a perfectly good excuse. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, the nine thousand-word response to these photos of Stapleton’s empty parking space had better be good!

The point here is not to unduly hype what remains a smallish issue among so many up for debate in this election. But as Blair’s story notes, Stapleton’s campaign has been hammering on the fact that Democratic nominee Jared Polis has missed a little over 5% of roll call votes since being elected to Congress. Polis’ absences are a matter of record, and a higher percentage this year makes sense given that he’s running for governor.

It’s as simple as being able to take what you dish out, and that’s a recurring problem for Stapleton.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 7)

Take THAT, glass ceiling. 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.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Trump is flipping out over that anonymous Op-Ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday afternoon. On Friday Trump said that the Justice Department should try to identify the author because it is a national security concern, but as the Washington Post writes, “It is unclear what law he believes was broken.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the White House has identified 12 potential suspects who might have authored the Op-Ed.

Who do you think is the author of the infamous Op-Ed? Cast your vote in our poll.

 

► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is suing Purdue Pharma L.P. over the company’s marketing and distribution of the dangerous painkiller Oxycontin. This will be a big issue in the race to succeed Coffman in November; Republican candidate George Brauchler has been reluctant to say much about the opioid epidemic because his campaign is heavily-funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

 

► Hey, look: Tom Tancredo’s support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton is becoming more problematic by the day. It turns out that making racist public comments isn’t very helpful for Stapleton. Whodathunkit?

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Stapleton, Tancredo, Racism–And One Disastrous Interview

This morning, former congressman and controversial supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, Tom Tancredo, went on the Peter Boyles Show to address the recent controversy over a fundraiser Tancredo headlined for Stapleton’s campaign. Tancredo’s high-profile support for Stapleton has turned seriously problematic after local reporters questioned Stapleton’s repudiation of his own family ties to the Ku Klux Klan, noting that Tancredo is a past board member of the white nationalist organization VDARE.

So who did Tancredo bring on the radio to vouch? The founder of VDARE, Peter Brimelow!

Which, as you’re about to discover, was a very large mistake:

Here’s the transcript of the two separate clips of audio playable above:

BOYLES: But I want to ask you a principled question, first: Before either of those media outlets smeared you, did any of them ever call you and want to talk to you?

BRIMELOW: Oh, no! Of course not! They never…

BOYLES: That’s my point! There! I rest my case! Tommy…

BRIMELOW: What they do, Peter, is they rely entirely on the Southern Policy Law Center–which, of course, is a racket, you know–it’s in the business of frightening out all the Jews into giving large amounts of money [Pols emphasis] by turning up those Neo-Nazis roaming around. And it’s raised close to a half a billion dollars, doing that. And so they need to find neo-Nazis around. And if they can’t find any, they make it up.

[…]

TANCREDO: He took over my seat–the Sixth Congressional District–promising to be a strong, strong supporter of the positions I had taken on immigration. Well, that lasted until–of course–redistricting and he lost a little bit of Republican support, and all of a sudden he turned…

You know, it’s one thing to say, “Well, let’s be judicious,” but not be a complete chameleon.

BRIMELOW: Tom, that’s still a 70% white district, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not–he doesn’t really have to cuck so hard. [Pols emphasis]

It shouldn’t be necessary to remind readers and listeners that Brimelow was–we assume–trying to refute the allegation that VDARE is a racist organization. As you can see, that goal was not accomplished! It’s extremely difficult to imagine how Stapleton can let this go without some kind of response–that is, unless it’s true that Stapleton is counting on voters who align with Tancredo to win and dares not alienate them.

But for anyone trying to hold together the farce of Stapleton hugging Tom Tancredo and “condemning racism of all forms” at the same time, this is the end of the road.

Stapleton Won’t Say If He’d Sign Bills Making Abortion Illegal Or Harder To Get in Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor won’t say if he’d sign legislation making abortions illegal or harder to get in Colorado.

“I’m not going to get into a bunch of hypotheticals on a particular piece of legislation. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. We’ll see what happens in future,” Walker Stapleton told CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd last week.

But Boyd’s hypothetical question isn’t so hypothetical now, with the U.S. Senate poised to add Trump’s conservative nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, paving the way for the gutting Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion rights in America.

In the absence of Roe, state governments would be free not only to pass laws outlawing abortion outright but also to put roadblocks in place to restrict access to abortion.

Such legislation didn’t land on Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk, but here are three examples of bills that were promoted by anti-choice Republicans in the Colorado legislature just this year:

This bill would have banned abortion in Colorado by defining life as beginning at conception

This bill would have forced a women not only to have a vaginal or abdominal ultrasound prior to having an abortion but also to wait 24-hours before having an abortion after she informs a doctor that she wants one.

This legislation would have stopped the use of a method of abortion used for 95 percent abortions performed during the second trimester.

Those bills aren’t hypothetical, but would Stapleton sign them if they landed on his desk?

He won’t say, but Stapleton told Boyd he’s a pro-life Republican, who believes that life begins at conception. Such a belief would align him with anti-abortion activists who oppose some forms of birth control, which could potentially destroy fertilized eggs, or zygotes. But Stapleton told Boyd his anti-abortion stance includes exceptions for rape, incest, and to save a mother’s life.

During a speech to state Republicans in April, Stapleton vowed to protect the “born and unborn.” He’s said he’ll be a pro-life governor.

Stapleton’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, is pro-choice, saying that he would not ban any abortion, even late abortions, because “this is a very personal decision for a woman.”

“It’s between her conscience, her god and her doctor… in no way, shape or form should it be the government’s decision to tell a woman what to do with her own body,” Polis told Boyd.

“This is a more real threat than ever before,” Polis told a group at Planned Parenthood, according to CBS4.