Wait, Frank McNulty is in Charge of an Ethics Group?

Frank McNulty

Imagine, if you can, Donald Trump leading a Girl Scout Troop. Or Cory Gardner coaching the high jump. Or Kanye West serving as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

If you think these scenarios might make smoke come out of your ears, then we’ve got something that will really bake your noodle: Republican Frank McNulty is the Executive Director of a new “ethics in government” organization in Colorado. Yes, that’s the same “Ethical Frank” who married a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist during his tenure as Speaker of the House.

As the Denver Post reported on Friday, McNulty unveiled a new secret “nonprofit” organization called The Public Trust Institute (PTI) with the publication of a 189-page report accusing Governor John Hickenlooper of failing to disclose “gifts” of private plane travel and other travel accommodations over a seven-year period. Hickenlooper’s office promptly called PTI’s complaint “frivolous” and “a political stunt,” pointing out that PTI only registered as an official entity with the Colorado Secretary of State on October 10.

You read that correctly: PTI had officially existed for all of two days when the Post reported on its 189-page complaint against Hickenlooper. As David Migoya writes:

McNulty’s new group is designed to “ensure that public officials are generally holding themselves to an ethical level,” he said, noting the group will pursue complaints objectively and without political persuasion.

“In this day and age, since politics slams to the left and right so quickly, we need someone to call balls and strikes from the outside,” McNulty said, refusing to identify the group’s revenue stream or its membership. [Pols emphasis] “The main focus is me and having that outward-facing figure. That’s where we’re comfortable right now.”

McNulty is heading up an “ethics” group that has officially existed for less than a week and refuses to divulge its revenue stream or membership. Seems totally legit.

If you’re not familiar with McNulty, allow us to enlighten you. McNulty is a former lobbyist and legislator who has made his living (somehow) as a Republican political consultant since completing his fourth term in the State House in 2014. He is best remembered for his disastrous two-year stint as the Speaker of the House (2010-12). Republicans captured a one-seat House majority in the 2010 Tea Party wave election year, but thanks to McNulty’s bumbling leadership – both inside and outside the Capitol — Democrats flipped the House into a 9-seat majority just two years later.

According to a brief bio of McNulty on PTI’s website, the former Highlands Ranch Republican “gained firsthand experience of the ethical challenges facing U.S. government systems” during his time as an elected official. This is a curious way to phrase McNulty’s “experience”; the reason McNulty has “firsthand” knowledge here is because he personally crossed every ethical line he could find while regularly engaging in bad-faith negotiations at the legislature.

Here’s a look at some of McNulty’s not-so-greatest hits:

♦ McNulty shut down voting on all legislation late in the 2012 session so that a bipartisan bill legalizing civil unions couldn’t be approved. He also threatened to remove Republicans from committee assignments for suggesting that they supported civil unions;

♦ McNulty skipped numerous working days during the legislative session so that he could attend Republican political strategy seminars across the country;

♦ McNulty rammed through legislation to increase per diem rates for legislators without allowing any testimony;

♦ McNulty literally invented a story about government red tape in order to justify his maniacal budget-cutting proposal. When that wasn’t enough, he made up numbers so that Colorado’s budget would look worse than it was;

♦ McNulty married a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry during his tenure as House Speaker;

♦ McNulty has been at the forefront of numerous shady attempts at rigging the redistricting process in favor of Republicans;

♦ McNulty instructed Republican House candidates to run on repealing FASTER transportation fees in 2010, then absolutely refused to consider the idea once the GOP took majority control of the House. Unsurprisingly, the GOP caucus never forgave him for hanging them out to dry;

♦ McNulty even plagiarized his own opening day speech when he took control of the Speaker’s gavel in 2011.


It’s no exaggeration to say that McNulty’s unethical and unwise leadership cost Republicans their majority in the State House in 2012. While McNulty was re-elected for a final term himself in ’12, his credibility was so damaged that the former House Speaker didn’t even try to run for a caucus leadership position.

The reason we bring all of this up about McNulty is not to bash the guy, but to issue an important warning: If Frank McNulty is associated with a government ethics watchdog group, then you can be damn sure that the group in question is about as legitimate as a $10 Rolex.

“The Public Trust Institute.” Yeah, sure thing.

How Dare You Call Me a Deadbeat Dad, Says Deadbeat Dad

Don Bendell, GOP HD-47 nominee.

As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports, last night featured a debate between the two candidates vying to succeed ousted fringe-right Rep. Judy Reyher in Pueblo’s HD-47. As readers will recall the Republican in this race, Don Bendell, ran into trouble when his three children accused him of shirking his child support obligations for many years:

Republican Don Bendell and Democrat Brianna Buentello were polite in their House District 47 debate Thursday night until Bendell was given the final word and he accused Democrats of running a “gutter-level” campaign by calling him a “deadbeat dad” who avoided paying child support for 17 years…

But here’s the thing: Bendell’s Democratic opponent Bri Buentello reportedly didn’t even mention the story of Bendell’s failure to pay his child support in yesterday’s debate. It’s possible that she talked about it elsewhere, but the example Bendell cited was one of independent groups sending mail into the district–which Buentello has no control over. But it doesn’t really matter, because by bringing this up at the very end of their debate, it’s clear that Bendell is the one who wanted to talk about it.

Only problem? He doesn’t have anything mitigating to say:

“Forty years ago, I got behind in child support,” Bendell told the small audience at Pueblo Community College. “I apologized. I paid it. Plus every penny of interest.”

Referring to campaign mailers from a group called Our Colorado Values that have labeled him “Deadbeat Don,” Bendell said that wasn’t true and blamed his first wife, Linda Bendell, for turning his three biologic children against him when they divorced shortly after he left the Army in 1970.

Those children— Britt, Brenna and Brooke— told The Chieftain they became alarmed when they heard their father was running for office in Colorado.

“He’s not the man he appears to be,” daughter Brooke said.

You see, the reason why there are mailers appearing in HD-47 accusing the Republican candidate of being a “deadbeat dad” is because he was in fact a deadbeat dad. It wasn’t the Democrats who brought Bendell’s failure to pay court-ordered child support to the media’s attention, it was Bendell’s own children. And while Bendell may have “fallen behind” on his child support decades ago, he only recently paid it back.

It’s one of those situations where, although you may feel very strongly about saying something in your defense, you just shouldn’t. Bringing your closeted skeletons up voluntarily at the tail end of a debate, thus ensuring it’s the impression everyone attending was left with, is pretty much never a good idea, especially if you have no excuse to offer.

Thus the “party of family values” veers off the rails once again.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 11)

We swear, it’s almost over. For now, 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.



► Dozens of accusations of judicial misconduct against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh have been transferred to the 10th Judicial District, which is headquartered in Denver. Westword looks at 10th Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich, the man who will be in charge of handling these complaints. Don’t expect a whole lot here, since Tymkovich is on President Trump’s short list of potential future Supreme Court justices.


► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) will say absolutely anything if he thinks it might help him get re-elected. The New York Times, meanwhile, re-confirms that Republican leaders are pulling up stakes in CO-6 and abandoning Coffman.


► Democrats across Colorado are calling on State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) to resign from the legislature after new reports surfaced about prior domestic violence arrests. Melton is thus far refusing to step down and is getting some public support from prominent figures in the black community, as Colorado Public Radio reports. The CPR story also links to a police report from 1999 that is pretty horrible.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Amendment 74: Fatally Flawed

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A special interest.

A special interest.

Amendment 74 is one of the most dangerous ballot measures we have seen in Colorado for a long time.  It has largely flown under the radar despite its far-reaching implications, at least compared to the attention paid to several other ballot measures this year.  That is a big mistake.

Amendment 74 would fundamentally change the nature of land use policy and the duties of our local governments.  By inserting eleven words into Article II, Section 15 of the Colorado Constitution – “or reduced in fair market value by government law or regulation” – the Amendment would radically upend a century of established property takings law.

Amendment 74 is purportedly sponsored by the Colorado Farm Bureau, which claims current takings laws aren’t fair to property owners.  But not one farmer or rancher, the supposed constituency of the Colorado Farm Bureau, has contributed to the campaign supporting Amendment 74.  Rather, oil and gas companies have made up 99.9% of the $7 million contributed so far.  If passed, it would mean a handful of large corporations managed to buy a piece of our state Constitution.

And, what a purchase it would be.  The oil and gas companies’ campaign contributions would pale in comparison to the litigation and judgments unleashed by the passage of Amendment 74.  Any and every land use decision would be subject to a lawsuit.  Any land owner unhappy with a zoning decision could sue.  Either local governments will stop land use planning altogether (imagine chemical plants in the middle of neighborhoods or gun shops next to schools), or taxpayers will be on the hook for billions of dollars in judgments.

Oregon voters passed a similar version of Amendment 74 by statewide initiative in 2006.  As a result, 7,000 claims totaling $19.5 billion were filed against the state and local governments.  The voters realized their mistake and repealed it just three years later.  If Colorado suffers the same fate, it would be even tougher to call a similar mulligan here.  That’s because the oil and gas industry-funded “Raise the Bar” Amendment 71 two years ago made signature gathering for constitutional amendments (or repeals of those amendments) prohibitively expensive for anyone other than the wealthiest groups or corporations.

When opposition to a ballot measure runs from John Suthers to John Hickenlooper, from Club 20 and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to the Sierra Club, and from the Grand Junction Sentinel to the Boulder Daily Camera, you know it is fatally flawed.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of half-truths and hidden agendas during my six years at the state legislature, but Amendment 74 takes the cake in both of those categories.  It is a dangerous overreach that would gut environmental protections and eliminate rational land use planning.  Don’t let this amendment sneak into our Constitution.  Spread the word against Amendment 74 like your neighborhood depends on it.

State Rep. Jovan Melton Should Resign

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports new damning details that almost certainly should result in Rep. Jovan Melton’s swift resignation:

The Denver Post interviewed the woman from the first incident but is withholding her name at her request due to safety concerns.

She said she hasn’t talked to Melton since that night in December 1999, and she’s afraid of him to this day. That fear, she said, is a big part of why she moved to another state.

“I absolutely would fear for my personal safety if still lived in Denver, anywhere in the state,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

The woman told The Denver Post she felt like their college friends and the legal system favored Melton at the time, making Boulder a lonely place to be after his arrest. She left CU afterward.

There’s no road back from this, folks. Not in elected office anyway.


UPDATE #2: The Colorado Democratic Party issues a statement this afternoon from Party Chair Morgan Carroll:

“The incidents detailed against Representative Melton are shocking and saddening.  I have privately told Rep. Melton that I think it is in the best interest of his district for him to step down. At the end of the day, public service is about putting the public first.”

“As Democrats, we fully acknowledge the gravity of domestic violence and recognize that both survivors of abuse and people of color have been failed by the criminal justice system.  While a criminal record doesn’t inherently prevent someone from running for elected office, some conduct, even if in the past, truly impacts the public’s trust in an elected office and the ability to effectively advocate for the community.”


UPDATE: House Democratic leadership have asked for Rep. Jovan Melton’s resignation, via Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran of Denver, Majority Leader KC Becker of Boulder and Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett of Denver said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that the allegations first revealed in a Denver Post story Tuesday are “deeply disturbing and very serious. We have spoken with Rep. Melton privately and encouraged him to resign.”

It is Melton’s decision “whether to step down,” the three lawmakers’ statement continued. In addition, they said, “we recognize that the criminal justice system has not worked for far too many people of color and survivors. People should not necessarily be precluded from running for office because they have issues in their past. But we urge him to consider the seriousness of the story and the impact on the people of his district and on the public confidence in the legislature.”


State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora)

State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) should resign.

According to new allegations unearthed by the Denver Post, the Aurora Democrat has a frightening history of violence against women. Melton denies these allegations, but unless can prove that police reports documenting several separate incidents are unfounded, he should immediately resign from his position as a State Representative and declare that he will not be seeking re-election this fall.

According to police and court records, Melton has demonstrated a pattern of physical violence against women, including an incident in which a former girlfriend alleged that Melton broke her tailbone. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

“The behaviors detailed in the police report are incredibly troubling,” said Amy Pohl with Violence Free Colorado, the statewide domestic violence coalition. “We do really believe people can change, but first they have to take responsibility for their behavior. That’s the first step. Admitting that you did something wrong.”

She added that Melton may be avoiding accountability when he said no violence occurred. “Can people really change their behavior if they’re not willing to take really responsibility for what actually happened?”

Melton voted to expel former Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock from office, after an outside investigation found it credible that Lebsock sexually harassed five women and retaliated against them for coming forward. Former lobbyist Holly Tarry, one of Lebsock’s accusers, was glad members in both parties voted to oust Lebsock. She also believes Melton should no longer serve as a state lawmaker.

Melton also signed a letter last month from House Democrats calling for Republican lawmakers to undergo sexual harassment training after several in the GOP made jokes about sexual harassment and misconduct allegations targeting now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (of course, Senate Republicans have repeatedly refused to do anything about sexual harassment charges against their own members). Democrats were right to push for Lebsock’s expulsion and to admonish Colorado Republicans for joking about the Kavanaugh allegations.

Melton should back up his previous actions by acknowledging that he should no longer serve as a State Representative in light of these allegations against him, but that has not been his initial response. Here’s what Melton wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday:


The Unkindest Cut: Son Endorses Dad’s Opponent in HD-25

HD-25 candidate Steve Szutenbach (R).

Westword’s Paige Yowell reports on a new twist in the race to replace disgraced GOP Rep. Tim Leonard in House District 25. Leonard, as readers know, made the decision to not run for re-election after an embarrassing failed attempt to cut his child support obligations because of his duties as a part-time legislator.

The replacement Republican candidate in the HD-25 race, Steve Szutenbach, has some family trouble of his own! We wrote in late July about the children of HD-47 candidate Don Bendell coming forward to call Bendell out as a “deadbeat dad.” In September, a positively brutal ad in an Arizona congressional race made national news, in which siblings of Rep. Paul Gosar denounce their brother and enthusiastically endorse his opponent. The situation in HD-25 is remarkably similar:

After Tim Leonard, the Republican candidate running for re-election in the district, stepped down in August following some complications with his divorce, a Republican committee appointed Steve Szutenbach of Evergreen to oppose [Democrat Lisa] Cutter. As soon as the candidate’s son found out that his dad was running, Stephen Szutenbach says he donated $50 to Cutter’s campaign. (Yes, their names are the same but spelled differently, and, yes, it’s a hassle, Stephen Szutenbach says.)

“My father’s political positions on things like gay marriage are very antithetical to my political position and my own life,” says Szutenbach, who is gay and married his long-term partner in 2016. [Pols emphasis]

Ouch. And then Szutenbach the Younger really starts dishing:

Stephen Szutenbach says his father never had guns when he was growing up. But when President Barack Obama was elected to his first term, his father began buying up guns and ammunition, almost like they were tokens required to prove he was a real Republican.

“It was so much hysteria at the time, and he bought into it,” he says.

It’s been a constant in American history that certain segments of the population have reactions to political events are are…grossly disproportionate to those events. A recent and very good example of this phenomenon would be Republicans hoarding guns and ammunition after the election of Barack Obama as President in 2008. It’s a free country, and people can buy whatever they want for whatever reason–but given that there was in the end no need to hoard guns to protect the nation from President Obama, voters may want to keep this example of Szutenbach’s temperament in mind.

From Bendell to Szutenbach–not to mention Walker Stapleton’s KKK great-grandpa–troubled family ties are tripping up Colorado Republicans to a considerable extent in 2018.

Statehouse Candidate Grady Nouis Campaigns on Immigrant Crime Despite Criminal Record

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Grady Nouis, the Republican candidate for an Arvada area statehouse seat in the Colorado legislature, talks a lot about crime. He’s primarily concerned that so-called “sanctuary cities” endanger residents, because undocumented immigrants who may live in these cities commit crimes, particularly drug crimes.  

In the summer of 2005, Nouis was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He ultimately pled guilty to “maintaining a drug house” and possession of marijuana.

The arrest report, obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder via a source, explains how the police discovered Nouis’ suspected mushroom grow operation. He was living in a house owned by his parents in Grand Blanc, Michigan. They had moved to another city and were planning to sell the house in Grand Blanc. A realtor, believing their son to have returned to college, entered to prepare the house for a showing. She discovered numerous syringes and mason jars filled with a clear liquid and topped with plastic tubing. Believing she had discovered a methamphetamine lab, she called the police. After entering the property themselves, the police determined that it was a “psilocybin mushroom grow operation.”

“As we cleared the rest of the residence, we continued to find evidence of a psilocybin mushroom grow operation. We observed several dehydrating/drying units, packaged mushrooms ready for sale, the spores need to grow mushrooms a makeshift greenhouse made out of large plastic tubs with mushrooms growing along with various other items.”

HD29 Candidate Grady Nouis Arrest Report

According to court records, Nouis was initially charged with one felony count of “manufacture of psilocybin,” and one misdemeanor count of “possession of marijuana.” A plea bargain reduced the felony manufacturing charge to another misdemeanor, “maintaining a drug house.” Nouis was sentenced to three years of probation and paid fees and fines totaling $1,660.


Republicans Retaliate Against Kagan Over Kavanaugh Crassness

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

After several days of ugly press for Republican leadership in the Colorado General Assembly, caught making highly regrettable jokes minimizing the sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that invited basic questions about their respect either for women and laws protecting them, last night we saw a belated retaliatory strategy take shape.

In direct response to the widespread condemnation of the Kavanaugh social media incident, Senate Republicans yesterday released a June 5th investigative report into a complaint filed against Democratic Sen. Daniel Kagan alleging his use on several occasions of an unmarked restroom nonetheless reserved by custom for women. As CBS4 Denver’s Shaun Boyd reports:

A Colorado state senator is demanding a public apology from a male colleague after an investigation found he used the women’s restroom on several occasions…

She filed a workplace harassment complaint. According the investigative report CBS4 obtained, Sen. Kagan, a Democrat, admitted to using the women’s restroom once, saying he had a “gastrointestinal virus” and “the bathrooms at the capitol are a confusing business.”

But he says it didn’t happen again. He accused Republicans of retaliating because Democrats tried to oust one of their members for sexual misconduct.

Sen. Daniel Kagan (D).

The investigation into the complaint filed by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik uncovered three confirmed instances of Kagan using the keycard-protected bathroom in question. Because Kagan initially claimed he had only done so once, there is a discrepancy in the record that local Republicans are leaping on in a fit of what’s known as “whataboutism”–deflecting from one allegation by bringing up an unrelated allegation and demanding that be debated instead.

With all of this in mind, there are two problems with the release by Republicans of this report yesterday. The first is the obvious timing–the report has been in extisence for going on three months, but was only released yesterday as Republicans were beset with a wave of negative press stories over the Kavanaugh social media remarks by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert. Humenik’s contrived outrage over a report she had months ago is very difficult to take seriously, and the plainly defensive nature of its release yesterday further undermines her credibility.

The second problem is that Sen. Kagan using the wrong bathroom is nowhere close in terms of severity to either sexual harassment allegations against Republican Senators that the complaint against Kagan was filed amidst, or the allegations of of sexual assault Kavanaugh faces and Republican leaders joked about. No one has ever once alleged that Kagan did anything inappropriate in this unmarked bathroom other than use it.

Is that embarrassing for Daniel Kagan? Sure, and he apologized. It’s in the story. Is it as bad as what Sen. Randy Baumgardner did to multiple women who work at the Capitol? No. And is it as bad as broadcasting your contempt for victims–like Neville and Holbert did unapologetically?


Once you understand all of this, the people who look the worst here are not named Daniel Kagan.

Dems Nail Obvious Connection Between Kavanaugh, Baumgardner

Sen. Chris Holbert (R) on a DIY “border patrol” in Arizona.

A moment of social media ugliness committed by Republican leaders in both chambers of the Colorado legislature this weekend, making jokes minimizing sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that we now know to be allegations of violent sexual assault, produced a wealth of bad press in the last 24 hours with stories from Denver7 to Westword. After the past year’s crisis over sexual harassment in the Colorado General Assembly, these wisecracks from House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and (especially) Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert strongly suggested that they don’t take sexual misconduct seriously.

And that has pissed a lot of people off.

In Sen. Holbert’s case, it’s particularly galling after he helped cover up evidence documenting sexual harassment allegations against fellow Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner ahead of a failed vote to expel him from the Senate. Holbert has claimed that he was not aware of the allegations that prompted the satirical story he was commenting on, even though many details has been disclosed by last Saturday–more than enough to make these jokes minimizing the allegations against Kavanaugh imprudent.

As Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports, Democrats today are pointing out the obvious:

All but 10 Democratic lawmakers at Colorado’s state capitol signed a letter Thursday, including the Speaker of the House and Senate Minority Leader, asking two GOP leaders to participate in mandatory sexual harassment and diversity training in the wake of comments made on social media related to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The letter asks House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and Senate Majority Leader Christ Holbert to complete the training before legislative leaders meet to discuss changes to the General Assembly’s workplace harassment policy…

“The General Assembly has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, held mandatory trainings, and put together an interim committee to recommend new policies and processes for dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Capitol,” states the letter. “All of this will have been done in vain if these elected officials in positions of power, no matter what trainings they do, no matter how much money we invest, or how many committee hearings we hold, are dismissive of victims.” [Pols emphasis]

Dismissal of victims has been a central plank in the Senate GOP’s response to allegations of sexual harassment by Republican Senators ever since they original became public last fall. Senate President Kevin Grantham declared during the session this year that only sexual harassment rising to the level of a criminal act should be investigated and disciplined, though by the end of the session Grantham was forced to relieve Baumgardner of his remaining committee assignments due to the growing weight of evidence against him. But the deliberate coverup by Chris Holbert of information that could have changed votes in the hearing to expel Baumgardner cannot be dismissed as an oversight.

From Brett Kavanaugh to Randy Baumgardner, and in Holbert’s response to both, there is a damning consistency.

Why Dudley Brown Is Working To Elect Tom Sullivan

The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports on a curiosity we’ve discussed in this space many times–the willingness of the hard-right gun rights organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners to attack fellow Republicans who stray from their strident line. With the election approaching, RMGO is focusing its wrath on GOP Rep. Cole Wist of Centennial:

A conservative group that describes itself as “Colorado’s only no-compromise gun rights organization” is working to make sure a top Republican state representative loses his seat.

“We love election time,” Rocky Mountain Gun Owners posted on its Facebook page. “It’s when politicians are reminded that their votes have consequences.”

The group spent the weekend delivering flyers to voters in House District 37 that accused Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial, of “voting like a gun-grabbing Democrat” and urged people to vote against “Cole ‘The Mole’ Wist.”

The supreme irony of this situation is that Rep. Wist’s Democratic opponent is Tom Sullivan. Sullivan’s son died in the Aurora theater shooting in July of 2012, and since that time Sullivan has been one of the strongest citizen voices at the Capitol in favor of gun safety legislation. Sullivan’s fearless advocacy on the issue has frequently shamed Republican lawmakers into silence, and as a lawmaker it’s would be fair to conclude that Tom Sullivan would be RMGO’s worst nightmare.

Except Sullivan isn’t RMGO’s nightmare. For RMGO, it’s much worse that a Republican had the temerity to support a “red flag” bill this year to provide legal tools to temporarily remove firearms from the possession of mentally ill people in crisis. That’s all Rep. Wist did, and along with AG candidate George Brauchler it was enough to earn these Republicans a determined foe they do not need in this difficult election.

“Mainstream” Republicans have often expressed their frustration with RMGO’s red-on-red hostile engagement strategy over the years, but director Dudley Brown knows exactly what he is doing. From Brown’s point of view, ensuring that the Republican caucus is (pardon us) bulletproof in its opposition to even the smallest measure to reduce gun violence is more important than supporting Republican majorities in the short term.

And if guns are your single issue–no small segment of Republican voters–you’re with him.

State Rep. Steve Humphrey Posts Image Of Flyer Attacking Colleague Over Violence Against Women

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep Humphrey Shares RMGO Wist Attack, 9.15.18

Colorado state representative Steve Humphrey (R-Severance) shared a photo of a flyer that accuses his party’s Assistant Minority Leader, Rep Cole Wist (R-Centennial) of wanting to prevent women from being able to defend themselves.

Rep. Steve Humphrey posts photo of RMGO flyer attacking Rep. WistRocky Mountain Gun Owners distributed the flyer at this weekend’s Centennial Gun Club Firearms Festival. Humphrey  posted a picture of the RMGO table, including the flyer, with the caption “Meeting and greeting and supporting conservative Second Amendment candidates at the RMGO booth.”


The flyer, one of two on the table attacking Wist, labels the House’s number two Republicans as “anti-gun” and says he “wants to leave you defenseless,” below an image of a woman being assaulted on the street.


RMGO, along with Minority Leader Patrick Neville, attacked Wist repeatedly during this year’s legislative fight over his proposed “red flag” bill. The bipartisan bill would have created a civil legal process called an Extreme Risk Protection Order to enable family members and law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from an individual who poses danger to themselves or others.

Sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Wist, the bill was also supported by District Attorney George Brauchler and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, both Republicans. It passed the House 37-23, with Wist and Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Grand Junction) joining all Democrats in support, but failed to get out of committee in the Senate.

Rep. Humphrey’s post was “liked” by two of his colleagues, Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor) and Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs). Joe Neville, who runs the House GOP independent expenditure committee and is a former RMGO lobbyist, also liked the post.

Voicemail messages requesting comment were not immediately answered by either Rep. Humphrey or Rep. Wist. This post will be updated with any replies received.

This post was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.

Seriously, Did Republicans Fire All Their Editors?

We took note Friday of a TV spot targeting rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood from the Republican Senate Majority Fund–an expensive production and ad buy that couldn’t even spell the targeted candidate’s name right. If it’s worth producing and distributing before the eyeballs of thousands of voters, it should go without saying that it’s worth the essential step of copyediting.

This weekend, we’re treated to another spectacular GOP proofreading failure, once again being distributed to live voters in Greeley’s House District 50 by Republican candidate Brian Thuener:

Seriously folks, how the hell does that make it into the hands of actual voters? We understand that typographical errors happen–after all, this is a blog. We commit them all the time. What we wouldn’t do is allow such elementary errors to be printed and then distributed in campaign literature–or in the case of a TV spot, aired to thousands of voters.

Too many more such incidents, and the “amateur hour” impression this kind of thing leaves won’t be a coincidence anymore. It’ll be part of the narrative of 2018.

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.


At Least He’s Not Your House Candidate–Oh Wait, He Is!

FRIDAY UPDATE: As the Denver Post reports, HD-12 GOP nominee David Reid Ross has decided to, as they say, spend more time with his family.

A Republican running for the Colorado House has dropped out after his personal alt-right blog became public knowledge…

Ross told The Denver Post he submitted his withdrawal paperwork to the Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday afternoon, as time ran short for the district’s Republicans to convene a vacancy committee to replace him.

“I don’t know if the Colorado GOP can actually erase my name from the ballot at this stage, but they are going to try,” he had stated on his blog, The House of David, late Wednesday.

So ends another budding political career! He’ll always be able to say he was nominated.


David Reid Ross (right).

Westword’s Michael Roberts reports today on newly uncovered writings by David Reid Ross, the Republican nominee for Colorado House District 12–an open seat being vacated by Rep. Mike Foote (who lost his bid for Boulder County District Attorney in June).

Mr. Ross, gentle readers, has a viewpoint:

David Reid Ross is the official Republican candidate for state representative in District 12, an area that includes parts of Louisville and Lafayette. The undated photo above, in which he’s seen posing with President Donald Trump, is included in a voters’ guide created by the Boulder County Republicans.

But the Colorado Republican Party now wants nothing to do with Ross after being informed by Westword about The House of David, a personal blog populated by well over a decade’s worth of posts that include rants and musings most sentient humans would regard as racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and more, more, more.

In the finest tradition of so many other Republican candidates and even elected officials–here’s looking at you, Jim Welker–who have had their record as a straight-up unapologetic racist, homophobe, and “more, more, more” exposed to the world at a politically inopportune moment, David Reid Ross is set to appear on the ballot in House District 12 in November as a Republican candidate and there’s not much anybody can do about it. It doesn’t look like Mr. Ross has the tether with reality necessary to understand that he is doing both himself and his party no favors by staying on the ballot, even in a district that Republicans have no realistic shot at winning.

So now Colorado Republicans can add a House candidate who says “If you love black people: never, never let them vote” to the brand! The time to have done something about this was before Reid won the nomination for this seat. As they say in this business, if you don’t vet ’em, you own them.

Republican Candidate Says Low-Income Women Should Be Sterilized, Birth Control Causes Abortions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a series of Facebook posts from 2012, Mary Fabian, a candidate for Colorado’s House of Representatives, defended a U.S. Senate candidate who said at the time that the incidence of pregnancy after “legitimate rape” is low because a women’s body will stop such pregnancies spontaneously.

Other posts expressed inaccurate or extreme views on birth control, people who receive government assistance, and more.

In one post, Fabian criticized opponents of then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and their concerns about abortion rights, saying that Romney is “not going to legislate morality, but I’m just saying abortion is wrong, birth control kills babies after conception, too and it is sad to see our society so very brainwashed.”

She then advocated for abstinence as the only form of birth control, writing “if you don’t want the risk of a kid, don’t have sex.”

Fabian, a Republican, is running in House District 18, which encompasses Manitou Springs and parts of Colorado Springs.

In a different post, Fabian mused that perhaps there was some truth to former U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s infamous assertion that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin went on to say that abortion shouldn’t be an option for rape survivors because “the punishment should be on the rapist, and not attacking the child.”