UPDATE #3: As the Secretary of State’s pushback continues, Doug Robinson’s campaign responds:
Again, not our words.
UPDATE #2: A detail from a Denver Post story in late March about Doug Robinson’s campaign’s discovery of fraudulent petition gathering tactics by Walker Stapleton demonstrates two very pertinent facts: a strong desire by Robinson to get to the bottom of the situation, at least then–and a direct connection from Stapleton to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams:
Stapleton spokesman Michael Fortney, whose firm also consults for Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ re-election campaign, [Pols emphasis] said in a statement that he takes the claim seriously but he suggested the motivation for the complaint was political.
The secretary of state’s office said Robinson could take the matter to the local district attorney. His campaign said it wants the secretary of state’s investigation to continue.
“We think there is something there,” Robinson said. “And we think they should look into it.”
Folks, do you suppose the fact that Stapleton and Williams share the same campaign consultants as they both run for re-election in 2018 might imply a closer connection between them than Williams’ spokesperson would like you to believe?
If it seems to you like Williams’ office doth protest too much, that’s because it does.
UPDATE: In response to this post, the Secretary of State’s spokesperson is complaining–but not explaining:
Again, here is the verbatim quote from Doug Robinson at the heart of this story:
And the Secretary of State said that if we would agree not to pursue the Walker signatures, they would go with us in front of a judge and we’d be okay. [Pols emphasis]
These are not our words.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R).
An interview from last week of GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug “Mitt Romney’s Nephew” Robinson by April Zesbaugh of KOA-AM news in Denver is getting a lot of belated attention today, after somebody along the line realized the importance of what was said. Turning to the subject of GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Walker Stapleton’s ballot petitions, which Stapleton withdrew after they were approved by fellow Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Robinson makes what seems to be a startling admission.
ZESBAUGH: Let’s talk about the weird balloting process this year — good people getting kicked off the ballot, because of signatures and how they were gathered. How concerned were you just a few weeks ago, when you almost weren’t going to be on the ballot because of petitions in one district — I think — we’re short by 22 signatures.
ROBINSON: Yeah, so, uh, this was a new experience for me. But we felt good about it from the beginning. You know, the facts were — basically, we accidentally discovered that Walker Stapleton’s team was not gathering the right way, and committing fraud in that process. We, uh — Walker turned in his petitions, anyways. We turned ours in. The Secretary of State approved Walker’s signatures. Walker admitted that some of his were fraudulently collected. Secretary of State said that we were barely short, as as you said. We demonstrated that that was not the case. And the Secretary of State said that if we would agree not to pursue the Walker signatures, they would go with us in front of a judge and we’d be okay. [Pols emphasis] We agreed. We went in front of the judge. It was a 10 minute conversation. We were on the ballot. So, this whole thing has been kind of a crazy process. But that’s what happened. Those are the facts.
The timeline leading up to this situation is what’s critical: Stapleton’s petitions were “validated” by the Secretary of State on April 6, even though Robinson’s campaign was raising concerns about the legitimacy of those petitions–concerns that turned out to be dead-on accurate–in late March. It was days after Williams’ certification of Stapleton’s petitions, April 10, when Stapleton appeared at a press conference to announce that some of his signatures were collected fraudulently and that he would seek a spot on the ballot via the state GOP assembly.
And then Robinson’s campaign, which correctly identified the petition fraud that Williams’ office once again missed, was ruled by the same Secretary of State to be insufficient by 22 signatures. When considered against the backdrop of an obviously flawed process to validate Stapleton’s fraudulent petitions, the punctiliousness showed by Williams against Robinson is deeply questionable.
And that’s before Williams made a deal with Robinson to keep it all under wraps. Obviously to a neophyte candidate like Robinson, confronted with a Byzantine process controlled by a partisan official that just tossed him off the ballot, a deal by that same official to “go with us in front of a judge” and fix everything up would sound pretty good! All that was necessary was to “agree not to pursue the Walker signatures” and everything would turn out just fine.
Especially for Walker Stapleton and Wayne Williams, the one who submitted fraudulent petitions and the one who “validated” them. If Robinson’s story is accurate, this appears to be a Republican secretary of state using his influence over the election process to cover up the favored Republican candidate’s petition fraud–and in the most charitable analysis, Williams’ own incompetence.
And that, gentle reader, would be a very big scandal indeed.