Republican Attacks on Health Care Blamed for Increase in Rates

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado health insurers have asked state regulators to approve rate increases for health insurance plans averaging about six percent in the individual and seven percent for small groups, according to data released today by the Colorado Division of Insurance.

That’s less of a price increase than last year’s uptick but still bad news for consumers, say progressive watchdogs, who blame Republicans for driving up health insurance rates by attacking the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, and by blocking state laws that could have stabilized prices.

“For a change, most Coloradans aren’t facing massive hikes in their health insurance premiums for next year,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) in a news release. “This really shows the strength of the Affordable Care Act, that despite ongoing GOP sabotage, Colorado’s insurance premiums are more stable this year. However, Coloradans are still struggling to afford their insurance after big rate hikes last year. Coloradans will still see a range of proposed premium changes ranging from -2.64 percent to 21.6 percent in the individual insurance market depending on their insurer and plan.”

In recent years, rural regions of Colorado saw the biggest increase in health insurance premiums. But the rate of such increases appears to have slowed.

“Consumers in the Western and Mountain regions of the state won’t be hit by double-digit increases this year. In fact, they’ll see Anthem asking for a small decrease in their rates,” said Fox. “Even so, considering last year Anthem requested a rate increase of over 30 percent, affordability is still a big concern for Coloradans in these areas. We could have seen more and larger rate decreases this year if it weren’t for the ongoing GOP sabotage creating uncertainty.”

Next year, seven companies in Colorado will be offering insurance plans through Connect for Health for individuals. They are: Anthem (as HMO Colorado), Bright Health, Cigna Health and Life, Denver Health Medical Plans, Friday Health Plans, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Rocky Mountain HMO.

These are the same same companies that sold insurance to on the individual market last year in Colorado, and as in the past, all counties in Colorado will have at least one on-exchange company selling individual health plans.

In total, sixteen companies will offer insurance in Colorado, including those firms that offer group plans.

Kaiser, with the bulk of the individual market enrollments through Connect for Health Colorado, has requested a 7.49 percent increase, Bright Health a 9.7 percent increase, Friday Health Plans 7.5 percent. Rocky Mountain HMO has requested 5.69 percent, and Cigna is asking for a 8.76 percent increase for their plans.

“I’m very pleased to see that we kept the same seven companies selling on-exchange plans,” said Interim Colorado Division of Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway in a news release. “Last year we worked hard to keep them in Colorado and I think that work is reflected in their decisions for 2019.”

ColoradoPols Meetup:

I’m going to post this here as well as the meetup thread. The reservation is for 2 pm, for 8 people (if you didn’t RSVP, We’ll squeeze you in, anyway) at the Lowdown Brewery, 800 Lincoln St., Denver. See you all there.

 

Colorado Week in Review: 7/13/18

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.

Stapleton Admits Forgetting to Disclose His Wife’s $30K Income, As Required by Colorado Law

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

Over a month ago, the Colorado Times Recorder first reported that Walker Stapleton appeared to have left Jenna Stapleton’s $30,000 salary off his personal financial disclosure (PFD) form, even though candidates like Stapleton are required by law to disclose any income generated by their “spouse.”

Stapleton didn’t respond respond to my request to explain the lapse, but yesterday Stapleton’s campaign manager Michael Fortney told ColoradoPolitics’ Joey Bunch:

Fortney: “When this was pointed out to us, our campaign updated the necessary paperwork within the rules.”

It actually took Stapleton’s campaign over two weeks to update the disclosure form. See it here.

I pointed out the apparent breach of Colorado law on June 6, and Stapleton’s campaign didn’t fix the problem until June 22, the day after the Colorado Times Recorder filed an official complaint about Stapleton’s disclosure stumble, as part of an explanation of the SOS’ new rules for enforcing campaign finance laws.

Stapleton filed a new personal financial disclosure form listing the Harmes C. Fishback Foundation as a “source of income” with “Jennifer Stapleton,” who’s its executive director, being the “recipient.” The Fishback Foundation is Staplton’s family’s $1.4 million foundation.

Jennifer Stapleton is now also disclosed on Stapleton’s list of “all offices, directorships, and fiduciary relationships held by you, your spouse, or minor child(ren) living with you.”

Fortney told Bunch that Stapleton did not break any laws because he did not “willfully” leave Jenna Stapleton’s income off the disclosure form and corrected the mistake within 30 days.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office declined to weigh in on the matter, informing me in a July 3 dismissal of my complaint that the district attorney would be responsible for enforcing any crimes broken by Stapleton under Colorado’s Public Disclosure law.

Stapleton has yet to respond to my request for an explanation of why Jenna Stapleton was omitted from his disclosure forms, going back at least as far as 2012. Was his lawyer responsible fro the lapse? Fortney? Was Stapleton not aware of his wife’s 30K? If this wasn’t willful, then what happened?

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 13)

“God Save the Queen” — and the rest of us — from President Trump. 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’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin takes on a new wrinkle after a dozen indictments of Russian military leaders by special prosecutor Robert Mueller today. From CNN:

The Justice Department announced indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election against 12 Russian nationals, accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks.

All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in “their official capacities.”

DOJ says the hacking targeted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with the intention to “release that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment does not name any American citizen.

A 2016 Republican congressional candidate also appears to be caught up in asking for information from the stolen documents.

 

Front page of “The Sun” in Britain.

► President Trump is busy burning bridges in England today. As CBS News reports, Trump is scrambling to undo his own criticism of British Prime Minister Teresa May:

President Trump said U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is “doing a fantastic job” as British prime minister, and even said he apologized to her Friday morning before their meeting, after an interview published Thursday highlighted his criticism of her handling of Brexit.

“I think she’s a terrific woman,” he told reporters at a joint press conference Friday at the country estate of the prime minister, Chequers. The president also called the relationship between the U.S. and U.K. the “highest level of special.” But Mr. Trump still thinks, as he told The Sun tabloid, that May’s Conservative Party rival Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.

According to Mr. Trump, he also did not criticize May and that reports to the contrary were “fake news.”…

…On the day before the news conference, the British tabloid The Sun published an interview with Mr. Trump in he said Johnson would make a great prime minister, and Britain’s trade relationship with the U.S. could face turbulence if May follows through with what’s known as the so-called “soft” Brexit blueprint. The president made the comments ahead of meetings with May and Queen Elizabeth.

 

As Aaron Blake writes for the Washington Post, Trump is denying comments that anyone can hear for themselves:

At a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain on Friday, Trump claimed that a newspaper interview that quoted him criticizing May’s Brexit and trade strategies was “fake news.” “I didn’t criticize the prime minister,” he said. He went on to suggest a recording would vindicate him.

The recording exists. And it completely and utterly contradicts Trump’s claim.

 

A total of 35 “Unaffiliated” candidates filed signatures to make the November ballot in Colorado.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Colorado GOP Successfully Sues Wayne Williams to Place State House Candidate on Ballot

(Election laws are apparently completely pointless — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a brief hearing Tuesday, a Denver district court judge placed a Republican state house candidate on Colorado’s November ballot.  The judge ordered Secretary of State Wayne Williams to add the Alamosa Republican to the ballot after the candidate and party officials missed a series of  deadlines for filing information required of all state office seekers. The ruling is being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Denver District Court Judge Ross Buchanan ruled that despite the weeks-late filing of multiple forms, Alamosa rancher Scott Honeycutt and the Colorado Republican Party “substantially complied” with state election law.

In its June 25 lawsuit seeking ballot access for Honeycutt, the Colorado GOP didn’t argue that Williams’ office did anything wrong by keeping the rancher off the primary ballot.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 12)

Here’s reason #9,437 why former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin should have never been anywhere close to the levers of power in this country. 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 currently rampaging through Europe, but he may be coming to Colorado sometime soon to stump for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton. In the meantime, back to that Europe trip, as the Washington Post reports:

President Trump reaffirmed U.S. support for NATO on Thursday, after he upended a summit here to admonish leaders and demand they quickly increase their defense spending.

Trump’s ambush jolted the transatlantic alliance, and some diplomats perceived his comments as threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO. But Trump later declared in a news conference, “I believe in NATO,” and, as he prepared to depart Brussels, he reiterated that the United States is committed to its Western allies.

“I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They are going to up it at levels never thought of before.”

NATO member nations committed in 2014 to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024, though only eight countries will reach that goal this year. It was not immediately clear what specific new commitments were made here. Trump said that leaders responded to his demands by agreeing to reach the 2 percent goal soon.

Well, at least the United States (probably) isn’t withdrawing from NATO.

 

President Trump has arrived in England after wrapping up his NATO rants, and he claims to be fine with the large protests being planned for his visit. As BBC News reports:

Mr Trump and his wife Melania landed at Stansted on Air Force One at 13:50 BST before a helicopter took them to the US ambassador’s residence in London.

He is due to meet Theresa May, who is seeking a post-Brexit trade deal – days after he said the UK was in “turmoil”.

Extra security is in place to police a number of protests but Mr Trump said he thought Britons “like me a lot”.

Yes, Britons love Trump. Why, that giant balloon of a baby Trump is merely a sign of admiration!

The Guardian newspaper has more on Trump’s U.K. visit:

Sandwiched between the psychodrama of his confrontation with his Nato allies, and the amour of his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, there was a chance that Donald Trump, a president who thrives on controversy, might treat his interlude in England and Scotland with indifference.

At one level, a visit bordering on the normal would be mission accomplished for Downing Street, but at another, this visit matters far more to the UK than to the president. Britain needs to register with a president so inattentive to America’s historic ties, and above all hope the instincts of a self-confessed “stable genius” do not lead him to trash the Brexit deal that Theresa May is struggling to sell to her party.

Judging by the inferences behind his remarks at his freewheeling press conference in Brussels, Trump is going to struggle to constrain himself. Saying he had been reading a lot about Brexit in recent days, he repeatedly hinted that he thought May was not delivering what the people had voted for in the referendum. He also drew parallels between his own election and Brexit, saying they were both born out of a revolt against migration. The clear implication was that he was the standard bearer for a global populist revolt.

Downing Street can only hope that by the time he holds a joint press conference with Theresa May on Friday they can find a way to instil some discipline into the Great Disruptor.

Yes. SO much love.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is making a slobbering fool of himself as he works overtime on trying to parse the words coming out of the mouth of President Trump.

 

► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton selected Rep. Lang Sias as his Lieutenant Governor running mate on Wednesday, capping off a wild couple of weeks in which Stapleton’s campaign apparently didn’t understand that they were supposed to select a running mate within seven days of the June 26 Primary Election. Stapleton’s selection of Sias marks the first time that a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado has failed to select a woman as a running mate. 

9News has more on Stapleton’s LG announcement.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Lang Sias Move Could Change Top Senate Race

Christine Jensen.

Walker Stapleton’s decision to tap Arvada Rep. Lang Sias to be his running mate at the top of the Republican ticket in 2018 may lead to a significant domino effect that could change the makeup of at least one big legislative race in Jefferson County.

Sias was running for re-election in HD-27, where he would almost certainly have won in November in what has proven to be a reliably-conservative district in recent years. But now that he is running for Lieutenant Governor, Sias can’t still be on the ballot in HD-27. Republicans will need a new candidate for that House seat.

Sias’ departure from the race in HD-27 only makes this seat marginally more competitive for Democrats, but the bigger impact could be in nearby Senate District 20. State Rep. Jessie Danielson is the Democratic candidate in SD-20 who is running to succeed term-limited Democrat “Unaffiliated” Sen. Cheri Jahn; Democrats have generally fared well in this Wheat Ridge/Golden/Arvada district, but SD-20 is always among the most competitive State Senate races in the state because of its voter registration makeup, and it is again a top target for both parties in 2018. The Republican candidate here is Christine Jensen, a longtime resident who lost out to…wait for it…Lang Sias when a Republican vacancy committee needed to replace Rep. Libby Szabo in 2015.

It makes plenty of sense for Jensen to seek the HD-27 Republican vacancy once again, where she would be the favorite to waltz into office in November instead of running as a slight underdog in SD-20. Jensen would also be a better ideological fit in HD-27; she is probably a bit too conservative for the Senate district. This is similar to how Sias managed to salvage his political career after multiple losses in successive elections (Sias lost a GOP Primary in CD-7 before dropping successive State Senate bids, first to Democrat Evie Hudak and later in a Republican Primary for the same seat by Laura Woods; Democrat Rachel Zenzinger unseated Woods in 2016). Had Sias not made it through that 2015 GOP vacancy committee, he would not be in a position today to be Stapleton’s running mate, so there’s no shame in Jensen following a similar path.

If Jensen seeks the vacancy in HD-27, Republicans would have to scramble to find a new candidate in SD-20. This probably isn’t an ideal scenario for Senate Republicans, but it’s a pretty easy call for Jensen.

 

Jason Crow Reports Massive Fundraising Haul

Democrat Jason Crow and family

Democrat Jason Crow continues to put up impressive fundraising numbers in his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) in CD-6.

According to a press release from Crow’s campaign, the candidate pulled down more than $1 million in donations in just the second quarter of 2018:

Today, Jason Crow, a decorated former Army Ranger, father, veterans’ advocate and candidate for Congress in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, announced that he raised $1,003,588 in the second quarter – including over $630,000 in this reporting period. The total represents the most contributions any candidate in CD-6 has ever received in the second quarter. [Pols emphasis] Crow, who has pledged to not accept a dime of corporate PAC money, raised 95% of those funds from individual donors.

Crow will end the quarter with $1,295,458 cash on hand. He has raised $2,263,140 to date from nearly 7200 unique individual donors.

“We’re going to win this race because the grassroots energy in this district is ready for a new generation of servant leadership,” said Crow. “Coloradans are ready to tell Mike Coffman that you don’t need corporate Super PAC dollars to win a campaign. You just need the better ideas and the willingness to put people first.”

To put these numbers in perspective, consider that Coffman’s campaign has raised just more than $2 million for the entire 2018 cycle.

Mesa County GOP Leader Compares Congresswoman to the Predator

(Stay classy! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The second vice chair of the Mesa County (Colorado) Republican Party shared a Facebook post last week comparing California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who’s one of the country’s leading African American women, to the alien beast in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s  famous 1987 movie, Predator.

The second vice chair, Mark McAllister shared the meme without comment, and did not respond to efforts to reach him through email and a call to the Mesa County GOP chair, Laureen Gutierrez.

Gutierrez declined an offer by the Colorado Times Recorder to comment on behalf of McAllister, who was elected to his GOP leadership position in Mesa County, in southwestern Colorado.

Waters is a past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the founder of the Black Women’s forum, which has over 1,200 African-American members.

Unlike some news sites, the Colorado Times Recorder (CTR) will call someone a racist if they make a racist comment and refuse to talk about it.

Under these circumstances, the racism speaks for itself. And racism is evident in the above meme, which was obtained by a source.

The Colorado Times Recorder is committed to exposing racism and bigotry in our state.

(more…)

Wildfire relief and more ways to fight back this week (July 9)

This week, thousands of our fellow Coloradans are dealing with the effects of massive wildfires burning across the state. Hundreds of homes and tens of thousands of acres in Colorado have been destroyed, and more “red flag” fire weather this week means more of our neighbors will suffer.

In times of need, Coloradans don’t ask our neighbors about their politics. Front Range liberals and West Slope conservatives see eye to eye when it comes to looking out for each other, and helping to recover from disasters that don’t respect political parties or boundaries. In 2013, when devastating floods struck Boulder County, all of Colorado came to their aid to help those communities rebuild.

That’s the Colorado Way.

Action item #1 this week: chip in to help fire victims and firefighters across Colorado. For the Community Foundation’s Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) to help victims of the 416 Fire in Southwest Colorado, click here. Support the Aspen Community Foundation’s response to the Lake Christine Fire here, and support relief efforts for the Spring Fire near La Veta by giving to the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado and the La Veta Fire Protection District.

Once that’s done, here are more ways to make a difference for the week of July 9:


National Popular Vote – Education Event

National Popular Vote would ensure that the president is the candidate with the most votes in all 50 states. It would align the electoral votes with the popular vote. It would make sure that every vote every where would count. Come and learn more. The person with the most votes should win. Free.

Where: 1471 S Parker Rd, Denver
When: Monday, July 9 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado: Nevertheless We Persist Award

Join us as we present the last of our “Nevertheless, We Persist” awards to Cassie Tanner for her courage as one of the women at the center of Colorado’s #MeToo movement and for speaking out against sexual harassment in the legislature.

Where: 11063 W Ohio Pl, Lakewood
When: Tuesday, July 10 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Know Your Health, Know Your Rights: Denver

We know lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families face unique physical and mental health barriers. One Colorado is hosting an event in Denver to dig deeper into the landscape of LGBTQ health in the state, provide tools for self-advocacy in healthcare settings, and talk with community members to learn more about local issues in accessing care.

Where: Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St, Denver
When: Wednesday, July 11 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Reunite An Immigrant Mom With Her Child

Thousands of families were separated. There is one you can help right now. We are coming together to raise $2,500 bond amount to get a mom out of detention and back with her child, right where they belong. Join us for Happy Hour at Cerveceria Colorado on Friday, July 13th from 4pm – 9pm, for a fundraiser to help parents and children torn apart by family separation. The local brewery will donate 20% of proceeds for the evening to reunite this family.

Miles de familias fueron separadas y hay una que puedes ayudar ahorita. Estamos juntándonos para recaudar $2,500 para la fianza de una madre para poder ser liberada del centro de detención y ser reunida con sus hijos, donde pertenece. Acompáñanos para hora feliz en Cervecería Colorado el viernes 13 de Julio de 4 pm – 9pm para recaudar fondos para ayudar a familias siendo afectadas por la separación de familias. La cervecería donará el 20% de las ganancias de esa noche para las familias.

Where: Cervecería Colorado, 1635 Platte St, Denver
When: Friday, July 13 at 4:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Latino Conservation Week Kickoff Celebration

Join us to start the celebration around Latino Conservation Week! The whole family is invited to participate in fun activities, from a mini “Family Olympics” to multiple guided hikes. Constituents can also learn more about Conservation Colorado’s 2018 Legislative Scorecard to find out if their legislators voted to protect Colorado’s public lands, water, and air this legislative session.

Where: Genesee Park and Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve, Golden
When: Saturday, July 14 at 9:00am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Volunteer with us at Colorado Springs Pride!

Pride season is here! One Colorado needs volunteers at our booth at Colorado Springs Pride on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15, and we would love for you to join us!

Where: America The Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive, Colorado Springs
When: Saturday, July 14 – Sunday, July 15

Click here to RSVP.


Volunteer with One Colorado at Fort Collins Pride!

It is Pride Season! Pull on a One Colorado t-shirt, sign up new supporters of LGBTQ equality, and join in the fun this summer. This year, staff and volunteers will be asking attendees to sign a petition to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy in our state. It’s important that LGBTQ Coloradans, their families, and allies come together to make sure young people are no longer subjected to this discredited practice.

Where: 5821 S Lemay Ave, Fort Collins
When: Saturday, July 14 at 9:30am

Click here to RSVP.


March with PP at Colorado Springs Pride

Join Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado at Colorado Springs Pridefest! Rock your pink & show your support for the LGBTQ community and reproductive rights.

Where: America The Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive, Colorado Springs
When: Sunday, July 15 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado Dunk Tank Fundraiser

Come help raise money by participating in our annual Dunk Tank event with One Colorado. Get these volunteers all wet by tossing your balls at our target.

Where: X BAR, 629 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Sunday, July 15 at 2:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Your Mom’s Green House: A Concert Benefit for Conservation

Boogie Groove Entertainment & Konscious Movement Presents Your Mom’s Green House: A Concert Benefit for the Environment at Your Mom’s House. 20% of Proceeds donated to Conservation Colorado!

Where: Your Mom’s House, 608 E. 13th Ave., Denver
When: Sunday, July 15 at 3:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Slow Food USA: Zero Waste Family Meal

Big events like Slow Food Nations often generate a lot of food waste. What happens to leftover food from parties, scraps from workshops, and unused demos? On Sunday night, we’re inviting you to join an inspired feast of recovered food from Slow Food Nations. As chefs band together for this pre-service style meal, you’ll get to taste the possibilities of cooking with food that may have otherwise been wasted. You’ll be inspired by how delicious leftovers can be!

Where: Larimer Square, Denver
When: Sunday, July 15 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Zero Tolerance For Family Separation

Calling upon the Environmental movement to join us on this walk to bring love and support to our sister in Sanctuary: Araceli Velazquez, who has been living in a church in Sanctuary for 11 months now to avoid deportation and family separation. Migration a natural activity which serves to preserve life, sometimes due to the fact to the damages that have been done to our environments. It is time Earth keepers and Immigrant Justice seekers join forces to protect our Earth and Humanity.

Este es un llamado para el Movimiento de Ciencias y Medioambiental para unirse a caminar con nosotros para traerle amor y apoyo a nuestra hermana Araceli Velazquez, una madre que lleva ya 11 meses viviendo en una iglesia en Santuario para evitar ser deportada y separada de su familia. Migrar, una actividad natural que salva vidas, está directamente relacionada con los efectos de los daños que se han hecho a nuestra medio ambiente. Es tiempo ya de que los protectores de la tierra se unan a los esfuerzos de la justicia para inmigrantes para que juntos protejamos la tierra y la humanidad.

Where: Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver
When: Sunday, July 15 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


We’ll be back next week with more ways to take action. Thanks again!

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 9)

The looonngggg Holiday week(end) has come to an end. For those of you who haven’t really been in front of a screen since June, keep reading for a special “Things You Might Have Missed Because of That Ridiculously-Long Holiday Week” section. 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 expected to announce his nominee for a vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court late this evening. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump said he was “close” to choosing a Supreme Court nominee Sunday after a weekend at his New Jersey golf club evaluating four leading candidates and mulling the likely response of key senators and his core supporters to each prospect, according to White House officials and Trump advisers involved in the discussions.

Over rounds of golf with friends, meals with family, and a flurry of phone calls and meetings with aides, Trump remained coy about his final decision, which is expected to be announced Monday evening from among the four federal judges atop his shortlist: Brett M. Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

“I’m very close to making a decision,” Trump told reporters Sunday afternoon. “Have not made it official yet. Have not made it final.”

He added: “It’s still — let’s say it’s the four people. But they’re excellent. Every one. You can’t go wrong.”

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump said: “I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice.” He indicated he would stick to plans to make the pick public in a 9 p.m. news conference.

As Aaron Blake writes in a separate story for the Washington Post, there is plenty of potential for some late fireworks in Trump’s announcement.

 

► Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen is signaling clearly that he plans to speak out about President Trump — and that it won’t be good news for the Big Orange Man. From CNN:

Michael Cohen, the President’s former fixer and ultimate loyalist, is sending a clear signal to President Donald Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that “the truth is not you(r) or your client’s friend,” according to sources with knowledge of Cohen’s thinking.

Two sources familiar with Cohen’s thinking say he has “hit the reset button” and is continuing his commitment to speak the “real truth.”

In particular, the same sources say Giuliani is wading into dangerous territory when he asks Cohen to “tell the truth” about the Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Russian meddling in the election.

 

► Republicans have a new message for the 2018 election that involves being sad that social media companies don’t tolerate fake right-wing news. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) tries on the tinfoil hat and finds that it fits quite nicely.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

SOS: Not His Job to Decide if Stapleton Broke Campaign Finance Rules

(Theater of the absurd — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

To show how the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) new campaign finance rules work, I filed a real-life complaint last month alleging that Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton broke Colorado law by not disclosing his wife’s $30,000 salary.

But the secretary of state says I messed up, because the SOS isn’t responsible for enforcing the law I think Stapleton broke.

During my vacation, in a detailed response to my complaint, the SOS didn’t say whether Stapleton was guilty or innocent of failing to disclose his wife’s 30K, which she earned as director of Stapleton’s family’s foundation.

Instead, I was told that the “district attorney,” not the secretary of state, is responsible for enforcing the law against someone “who willfully files a false or incomplete disclosure statement.”

The Colorado SOS’ Campaign Finance Manager Stephen Bouey wrote me that the SOS doesn’t enforce Colorado’s Public Disclosure law—only the “Colorado Constitution Art. XXVIII, the Fair Campaign Practices Act, or the Secretary of State’s Rules concerning Campaign and Political Finance.”

The SOS wrote me:

“Section 7 of the Public Disclosure Law states that any person ‘who willfully files a false or incomplete disclosure statement, amendment, or notice that no amendment is required,’ is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine of $1,000 to $5,000. Allegations concerning violations of this law carry criminal penalties that are under the jurisdiction of the district attorney, not the Secretary of State.”

I’m not a lawyer, but I’m confused, because Colorado’s Fair Campaign Practices Act, which the SOS does enforce, states that a candidate for governor “shall file a statement disclosing the information required by section 24-6-202 (2) with the appropriate officer, on a form approved by the secretary of state, within ten days of filing the affidavit required by subsection (1) of this section.”

As I see it, Stapleton didn’t file the “information required,” because he left out Jenna Stapleton’s $30,000, so he broke the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

But the SOS doesn’t see it that way:

“Failure to timely file a [Public Finance Disclosure] is a campaign finance violation. But failure to disclose required information on a PFD concerns the Public Disclosure Law, not campaign finance law. The complaint does not allege that Stapleton failed to timely file his PFD or his updated PFD, and the Secretary of State has not imposed a late filing penalty.”

The SOS went on to tell me that the Public Disclosure Law does indeed require a state candidate to list his spouse’s income. So, bingo, at least we all agree I had that right!

Again, I’m not a lawyer, so I need to figure this out, but I noticed something that might be relevant.

To break the law, it looks like Stapleton has to “willfully” omit his wife’s income.

It seems plausible that he just forgot, either because 1) Jenna’s Stapleton’s 30k amounts to grains of sand in the dunes of Stapleton’s wealth or 2) his campaign’s legal team is incompetent. Or a combination of the two.

Either way, the law-breaking wouldn’t be willful. But once he’s been informed of the omission, and he fails to correct the mistake, is he now “willfully” breaking the law? The SOS told me it contacted Stapleton about my complaint, so now he presumably knows about it.

In any case, the email I got from Bouey was titled the “Final Agency Decision” regarding my complaint, and I received it within 10 business days after I received notice of the receipt of my complaint, as promised under the new SOS rules.

It stated:

“This email serves as notification under Secretary of State Rules Concerning Campaign and Political Finance, Rule 18.2.4(b)(1), that the complaint has been dismissed. A copy of the agency decision is attached to this email.”

The SOS’ rules lay out a detailed appeal process, and I’ll explain these in my next blog post after I decide whether to appeal. Stay tuned.

Republican Nominee for House District 18 Drops Out… Again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Conrad Swanson of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Jillian Likness, the GOP nominee for HD 18, has withdrawn her candidacy just ten days after making the ballot, citing a health condition.

“Due to the demands and my current health condition, I do not feel that I can give my district 100% to win this seat,” Likness said in a statement. “I am extremely saddened by this decision and it was not made easily; but I will support the Republican nominee that will be selected at the upcoming vacancy committee meeting.”

Some context for this breaking news- this very same situation occurred in 2016. For the second election in a row, the Republican nominated by the party to represent HD18 has dropped out prior to the general election.

Two years ago, Republican Sonya Rose won the nomination at assembly, but by mid-August she decided she couldn’t devote the time required to the campaign and she withdrew. The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins covered the subsequent vacancy meeting to select a new candidate.

Speaking from a lectern, Rose nominates local land surveyor Cameron Forth for the post. His previous political experience includes running for Congress in Idaho as an independent a decade ago*.

“I don’t even know anyone in this room,” Forth says to the assembled local Republicans when he accepts the nomination.

Hutchins went on to report that two other attendees were also nominated, Al Loma and Pat McIntire. Forth won the vacancy vote and became the new nominee, losing handily to the popular incumbent, Rep. Pete Lee (D – Colorado Springs).

(more…)

Colorado Week in Review: 7/6/18

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.