Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 6)

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► Holy crap, Georgia!

Democrats are close to capturing majority control of the U.S. Senate after Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday; Warnock becomes the first Black Senator from the State of Georgia.

In the other Senate contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff holds a narrow lead over Republican David Perdue, with the majority of the outstanding ballots still to be counted concentrated in Democratic-leaning counties. As National Public Radio reports, Ossoff has declared victory:

Democrat Jon Ossoff — who as of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday leads Republican David Perdue by about 16,000 votes in the Georgia runoff that could give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate — claimed victory Wednesday. The Associated Press, which NPR relies on for its results, has not yet called the contest.

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said in remarks Wednesday morning.

When Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn-in to office on January 20, she will become the tie-breaking vote in the Senate that will change Mitch McConnell’s title to “Minority Leader.”

Via The New York Times (9:15 am, 1/6/21)


► With a new Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, expanded coronavirus stimulus payments could be just around the corner.


► Tuesday’s big victories in Georgia for Democrats will undoubtedly sour the mood today when certain Republican Members of Congress — including Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Doug Lamborn — will make a no-hope attempt at preventing Democrat Joe Biden from becoming President. As POLITICO explains:

…the bicameral session of the House and Senate — which could stretch into the early hours of Thursday — will be the stage for this last stand by Trump allies who have refused to accept the election results.

Inside the Capitol, the effort has splintered Trump’s party, with more than 100 House Republicans and at least a dozen Senate Republicans objecting to Biden’s victory while Senate GOP leadership warned their caucus against the effort. Already, senators are signaling they’ll challenge results in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

But the most intense focus will be on Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the 1 p.m. joint meeting, where he’ll be required by the Constitution to count the electoral votes certified by the states. Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and a wave of legal challenges by Trump to reverse several states’ results failed at every level of state and federal court.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “it’s all over but the shouting”?

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) will play a key role in today’s nonsense-fest as one of four Democrats assigned to handle the arguments against overturning the election results.

Here in Colorado, local Republicans are promoting a QAnon rally in Denver aimed at showing support for President Trump, or something.


POLITICO reports on an absolutely amazing bit of karmic justice:

Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

Biden selected Garland over former Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, choosing to elevate the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. to run the Justice Department.

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, but his nomination languished in the GOP-controlled Senate at the end of the former president’s term. In recent weeks, Garland has been recusing himself from cases involving the federal government, fueling speculation that he was a leading candidate for the job.


More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…



Boebert vs. Buck: Who’s In Charge Of The Colorado GOP?

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reported yesterday a development in the ongoing struggle by beaten President Donald Trump to undo his loss to Joe Biden, and while it’s not what you’d call a game-changer it certainly adds drama to the story in terms of Colorado Republican divisions on what happened in the November elections and how to proceed–a question coming to a head this week in Washington, D.C. as Congress prepares for the final steps in confirming Biden’s victory:

Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck on Sunday criticized an attempt by many in his political party to overturn the results of the presidential election, calling it an unconstitutional power grab by Congress to the detriment of states and voters.

“We must respect the states’ authority here. Though doing so may frustrate our immediate political objectives, we have sworn an oath to promote the Constitution above our policy goals. We must count the electoral votes submitted by the states,” Buck wrote in a lengthy statement with six other Republicans in Congress.

The Windsor Republican, who also chairs the Colorado Republican Party, criticized elections in several swing states, but said that because those states have not sent Congress an alternative slate of Electoral College votes, Congress has no power to overturn the election. President-elect Joe Biden won the Electoral College.

Rep. Ken Buck, who also serves as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and regularly comes in for criticism for his irresponsibility on issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, was an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump during Trump’s many scandals in office culminating in impeachment a year ago. But in a twist few expected, Buck has actually proven an unexpected voice of sanity–with some erratic exceptions we’ll chalk up to towing the party line–within the Republican Party on accepting the results of the 2020 elections. Buck convened a meeting starring Republican county clerks early last month, attended virtually by hundreds of party members, specifically to debunk the conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems and mail ballots Colorado has used uncontroversially for years–core articles of faith for Republicans who believe the election was stolen.

After the Electoral College voted for Biden, Rep. Buck angered Trump diehards by promptly acknowleding Biden’s status as President-elect. And now, Buck is going on record that the 140 fellow Republicans and dozen Senators who are set to mount a last-ditch attempt to reject the election results on Wednesday are wrong–not just wrong, but endangering future Republican success with their action. This extraordinary paragraph in Buck’s statement yesterday should be required reading in poli sci classes of the future:


Ken Buck Makes Party Chair Exit Official

Rep. Ken Buck (R) pointing at his biggest problem.

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck announced Thursday that he will not seek a second term as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party…

Buck was narrowly chosen for the top spot by the Colorado GOP’s central committee — a gathering of about 400 politicians, party officials and activists — in March 2019, months after Republicans suffered an electoral shellacking in 2018.

This November wasn’t much better for Republicans. Though they mostly held their ground in legislative races, Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the largest presidential margin here in several decades and Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was easily defeated by Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper.

Taking the job with a bold promise to teach Democrats to “spell R-E-C-A-L-L” after 2018’s historic defeat for Republicans in Colorado, Rep. Ken Buck’s term as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party was an unqualified disaster. The promised recalls failed one after another including the particularly misguided attempt to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the Aurora shooting and whose advocacy for gun safety is above reproach. As a result, recalls have turned from a feared weapon of political retaliation in Colorado politics into something of a joke.

Later, during the 2020 primary season, Buck was accused by fellow Republicans in El Paso and Weld Counties of shenanigans including pressuring an official to submit falsified assembly vote counts to the state–incidents that continue to reverberate in recent news stories, and for which Buck remains under investigation by the state’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.

In Congress the last couple of years, Buck hasn’t fared much better. Buck’s attempts to “help” President Donald Trump during investigative hearings that led to Trump’s impeachment became national headlines when his questioning backfired and reaffirmed that Trump could be prosecuted after leaving office. Buck has been an embarrassing spectacle of “COVIDiocy” throughout the pandemic, though we’ll concede that is probably least likely to hurt his image representing a district apparently full of like-minded denialists.

It’s been rumored off and on that Buck might retire from Congress, owing to health issues and/or his supposed disenchantment with Washington politics. For Republicans, it’s clear in retrospect that hiring a part-time GOP chairman was a very bad idea. In a year when Republicans in some other states clawed back gains made by Democrats in the 2018 elections Buck achieved absolutely nothing–and is leaving the Colorado GOP with no vision for the future other than a gaping hole where Donald Trump is supposed to be.

Whoever succeeds Buck won’t just be picking up the pieces. They’ll be starting from scratch, because there is nothing Ken Buck has done for this party that’s worth carrying forward.

Unless you’re a Democrat! In which case this is all going swimmingly.

Who The Hell Writes Ken Buck’s Emails?

Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck (R).

As most readers know, Attorney General William Barr announced his resignation two days ago. The resignation takes effect later this month, but Colorado GOP chairman Ken Buck has high hopes that Barr might splash a mine in the water for incoming President Joe Biden on his way out the door. That at least is what Buck says in an email blast today urging Colorado Republicans to sign a petition calling for a special counsel to investigate presidential failson-elect Hunter Biden:

Our Party’s Chair, Congressman Ken Buck, has officially called on Attorney General Bill Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden’s corrupt business dealings…

Democrats didn’t want any bad news surfacing about Biden or his family close to the election, so they even went so far as to lock people out of their private social media accounts if they shared information about the Biden scandal.

Now folks, if Democrats suddenly having the power to “lock people out of their social media accounts” comes as a big surprise to you, you’re not alone! It’s one thing to allege that social media companies are censoring conservatives themselves, but the idea that Big Tech has simply handed the moderator keys over the to DNC is…well, that’s a new one. And, of course, completely insane.

We cannot let the Democrats try to cover up this scandal again. Justice must be delivered — and Bill Bar, as head of the Department of Justice, [Pols emphasis] must act immediately.

Then again, nobody is proofreading this stuff. So we’re clearly asking for too much with fact-checking.

Much like the GOP’s fake electors, here’s hoping Bill Bar comes through for Ken Buck.

Pro-Trump Rally at Colo Capitol: China Rigged Election, U.S. Will Wage War

(Looks chilly – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A Trump supporter blows a ram’s horn under a pro-militia flag to open the “Stop the Steal” rally on Saturday.

Freezing weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 60 or so Trump supporters who gathered outside the Colorado’s Capitol today to support a group that claims China rigged the election and predicts the U.S. will go to war against the Asian nation.

The rally, is one of dozens of similar events taking place across the country today under the “Stop the Steal” banner. The Denver event is co-branded with the religious right “Jericho March” (happening today in Washington, D.C.) and a pair of pro-Trump groups.

The Supreme Court’s swift rejection of the Texas lawsuit yesterday didn’t dissuade them either, as they are yet again calling for the court to “Stop the Steal,” which appears to mean cancel the election results and order state legislatures to choose new electors.

It was promoted by the brand-new conservative group United States Election Integrity Project (USEIP). Organizer Dave Roach says the group “sprang out of the chaos after the election.” He acknowledged that the group is new (its website URL was registered on Dec. 4) and linked to national interests. He told the crowd that since its inception the group has grown to over 100 members.

Attendees carried Trump and Gasden “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, as well as handwritten “Stop The Steal” and “Stay In The Fight” signs. One waved a Three Percenter militia flag. The group gathered on the lower landing near Broadway. A pair of women heralded the beginning of the event, one playing a bugle and the other a shofer, which is a traditional Jewish wind instrument carved from a ram’s horn.

Addressing the crowd, USEIP’s Roach stated now-familiar claims that the election wasn’t fair and had been stolen from President Trump. He noted that while some Trump supporters have been calling for civil war, he didn’t think that should happen because he doesn’t believe “fellow Americans” were responsible for rigging the election. Instead he blamed China.


So, You Want to Overturn Democracy…

Clockwise from top: Rep. Michael Waltz, Rep. Ken Buck, and Rep. Doug Lamborn kissing arse.

We wrote yesterday about the news that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had both added their names to an amicus brief related to that asinine Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election so that Donald Trump can remain in the White House.

It seems that we are not alone in our dismay over the actions of local Members of Congress. The editorial board of The Orlando Sentinel is pretty pissed off about the decision of Rep. Michael Waltz to join in this circus — so upset, in fact, that it published an editorial in which it apologized for endorsing Waltz in 2020:

We now know what we didn’t then — that Waltz, a U.S. Army Green Beret who served his country — is willing to undermine the nation to ensure his political party remains in control of the White House.

Every American should be appalled at the attempted usurpation taking place, and at the elected officials taking part in this terrifying fiasco and violating their oath to protect the country from enemies, foreign and domestic.

Everyone who supported Michael Waltz for Congress should feel a deep sense of remorse and regret.

We do.

Sadly, the list of Republican Members of Congress signing onto the Texas lawsuit continues to grow. The rationale, as the Sentinel explains, is distressingly simple:

They want to undo 231 years of election tradition and norms so their guy, Donald Trump, can have another four years in office. And so the president won’t send out a mean tweet that might torpedo their chances for reelection.

Back in March 2019, the editorial board of The Denver Post famously un-endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) after finally growing tired of Gardner’s inability to honor his word and his general impotence in dealing with President Trump. The last straw for the Post was Gardner’s flip-flop in support of Trump’s “emergency declaration” so that he could raid military coffers to build his stupid wall along the Mexico border. As the Post wrote:

Gardner has been too busy walking a political tight rope to be a leader. He has become precisely what we said in our endorsement he would not be: “a political time-server interested only in professional security.”…

…We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support in a close race against Mark Udall.

Colorado’s newspaper of record, The Denver Post, can’t un-endorse Rep. Buck; they supported long shot Democrat Ike McCorkle in 2020 rather than give a thumbs up to more of Buck’s nonsense. For obvious reasons, the Post also did not endorse Rep. Lamborn in 2020.

Newspapers such as The Greeley Tribune could still follow the lead of The Orlando Sentinel in voicing displeasure with Buck’s blatant disregard for democracy. If The Colorado Springs Gazette were a real newspaper, they could similarly shame Lamborn (but they won’t).

Regardless, we are encouraged by the actions of The Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board. Speaking truth to power is one of the most important roles of a free press. Our democracy may very well depend on it.

Buck, Lamborn and 124 other House Republicans crossed a line this week that should never have even been approachable. As the Sentinel editorial board writes, “Our nation teeters on the edge of constitutional disaster” as a result of the actions of these Republican Members of Congress. Buck and Lamborn need to hear this message, repeatedly, so that this never happens again.

Buck, Lamborn Join Dumbass Texas Lawsuit

Rep. Ken Buck (top) and Rep. Doug Lamborn

We wrote earlier about the ludicrous lawsuit out of Texas seeking to invalidate election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin so that Democrat Joe Biden could somehow be un-elected as President. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the dubious lawsuit on Tuesday, and President Trump officially joined on Wednesday. Six other Republicans Attorneys General joined the suit on Thursday.

As Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law School professor explained for CNN: “In a nutshell the President is asking the Supreme Court to exercise its rarest form of jurisdiction to effectively overturn the entire presidential election.”

As explains:

But the problem Paxton faces is the same one that has dogged all the legal challenges filed so far by Trump allies: There’s simply no evidence of significant irregularities. Elections officials in dozens of states spanning the red-to-blue spectrum have found no evidence of significant voter fraud marring the results. And they’ve looked.

Election law experts say that the Texas lawsuit has virtually no chance of succeeding, but that didn’t stop two Colorado Congressmen from joining the (lost) cause. Both Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) added their names to an Amicus brief:


Look, Rep. Lamborn is not the sharpest tool in the shed, so seeing his name appear on an idiotic lawsuit is not terribly surprising. But Buck is a freakin’ lawyer who was the District Attorney in Weld County for 10 years prior to being elected to Congress. Buck SHOULD know that this is legal horse manure. Frankly, it says a lot about Buck that he probably does know that this lawsuit is nonsense but he agreed to add his name to it anyway.

Buck has shown recently that he’s happy to parrot any suggestion of election impropriety, and he is apparently more than willing to break election laws himself despite serving as the State Republican Party Chairman. The next time Buck tries to tell you about how he is “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C., you can stop him right here.

Ken Buck, Call Your Office: Dominion Lunacy Lands In Colorado

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

We wrote last Thursday about an attempt by Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck to assure restless Republicans in Colorado that despite what they’re been hearing nonstop since Donald Trump lost the election over a month ago, the vote in Colorado was fair and accurate. Colorado’s election system has basically every characteristic that Trump has been baselessly attacking to contest the election results–above all “unsolicited” mail ballots sent to every active voter, so needless to say this rumor control session was a little what you’d call “off message.” Reportedly many Republican faithful came away less than pleased.

In particular, Republican county clerks were on hand to debunk allegations about Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, widely utilized by Colorado counties and a central component of the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that alleges millions of votes for Trump nationwide were “flipped” to his victorious opponent. Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes, a Republican who carried out the 2020 election in her red county on Dominion systems, said flat-out it’s not even possible to do what Trump’s supporters are alleging:

Koppes added that it’s not even technically possible for Dominion software to switch votes because the software does not designate which candidate is assigned a particular oval on the paper ballot.

Well folks, in case you thought that the leadership of the Colorado Republican Party along with GOP county clerks thoroughly debunking the prevalent conspiracy theories about Dominion would be enough to convince…well, even Republican elected officials apparently, you’d be wrong! As the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports, at least eight of Ken Buck’s falcons can no longer hear their falconer:

Colorado election officials — including Republican county clerks — have pointed to the state’s proven track record of election security that has served as a model for other states, and federal judges have dismissed allegations by President Donald Trump that the election was stolen from him.

But seven Colorado House Republicans and one representative-elect penned a letter Monday to outgoing House Speaker KC Becker calling for an audit of the Dominion Voting Systems software used by the state and creation of a special committee…

“Free and fair elections are foundational to keeping our Republic and voters must have confidence in the election system,” they wrote in the letter. “The committee through educational hearings and sworn witness testimony from experts can help uncover any fraud or weaknesses in Colorado systems to help restore faith in the election process.”

Led by outgoing House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, the letter was signed by most of Neville’s hard-right wing of the smallest GOP House minority in decades–including Reps. Kim Ransom, Shane Sandridge, and Dave Williams, and a new face in Rep.-elect Ron Hanks of Penrose–signaling that he is going to be a low-information treasure in the Colorado General Assembly. Although this request for an investigation based on zero actual evidence was appropriately circular-filed by Democratic House Speaker KC Becker, we’re still looking at a very substantial portion of the House GOP minority willing to subsidize misinformation so potentially toxic to American democracy that Republican leadership in Colorado is leading the local campaign to debunk it.

Which means, among other things, it’s time for Chairman Buck to make some phone calls.

Profiles in Cowardice: Colorado’s GOP Delegation

UPDATE #2: Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who also serves as the State Republican Party Chairman, won’t answer questions about the Presidential election…but he’ll happily take time to write a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking for an investigation into “Hunter Biden’s laptop.”


UPDATE: It’s worth noting that this is not a new phenomenon. As Justin Wingerter reported for The Denver Post on November 23:

In the nearly three weeks since Biden defeated Trump, none of the state’s four congressional Republicans have acknowledged Trump’s defeat or signaled support for his wild claims of widespread election fraud. On Monday, spokespeople for the four declined to comment when asked if Trump should concede.


Nope, nope, nope, and nope

Life is full of unanswerable questions. “Who won the 2020 Presidential Election?” is not among them.

Nevertheless, The Washington Post devoted what we imagine was a considerable amount of time into surveying every Republican Member of Congress — all 249 of them — about the results of last month’s election. The Post mostly got a bunch of non-responses and was thus forced to research other public comments from Republicans. All told, only 27 GOP lawmakers acknowledged that Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect. Two Republicans, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, actually maintain that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

All told, 88% of Congressional Republicans REFUSE TO OFFER AN OPINION on the winner of the 2020 election. That percentage is even more dismal among Colorado’s GOP delegation, which is 100% united in silence. No member of Colorado’s Republican delegation even bothered to respond to questions about the election outcome. Not Sen. Cory Gardner, not Rep. Scott Tipton, not Rep. Ken Buck, nor Rep. Doug Lamborn.

And these were not difficult questions:

Via The Washington Post (12/6/20)

The last question and non-answer is particularly absurd. Most Republicans won’t even say if they would accept Biden as President of the United States once members of the Electoral College cast their ballots. How about after Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021? Or when Biden is literally sitting in front of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House?

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, this is beyond ludicrous:

Saying that we need to consider both sides of this argument equally is an utter farce. It’s as though one side is arguing that 2 +2 = 4 and the other side is saying that 2+ 2 = 5, and we have to act as though both arguments are equally valid.

We are fortunate that the outcome of the Presidential election does not depend on the opinion of Doug Lamborn, but there are other important factors at play in this discussion. Cillizza goes on to make a point that should not — must not — be dismissed as simple partisan politics:

Because if some decent chunk of the population is so convinced — facts be damned — that Trump won and the election was stolen from him, it leads to events like we saw in Michigan on Saturday night: A group of armed protesters surrounded the home of Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding that she “stop the steal” of the election from the President.

Donald Trump’s poisonous impact on America is undebatable, but let’s not forget the importance of Trump’s enablers. Republicans don’t have to mimic Trump’s unfound allegations about widespread voter fraud in order to weaken democracy and foment violence. By remaining silent, they are admitting that avoiding a mean Tweet from Trump is more important to them than preventing real people from getting hurt.

Shame on Cory Gardner. Shame on Scott Tipton. Shame on Ken Buck. Shame on Doug Lamborn. May their cowardice never be forgotten.

Who Wears it Better (Theoretically)?

The U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat John Hickenlooper is out with a new Spanish-language television ad featuring former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. As you can see yourself, there’s something…different about Salazar:

Apparently, Ken Salazar is rocking a mustache these days. Since we could all use a little lighthearted humor with the election cycle finishing up its final three weeks, we wondered how other Colorado politicians might look if they decided to change up their style by adding the ol’ face caterpillar.

Clockwise from top left: John Hickenlooper, Cory Gardner, Joe Neguse, Ken Buck, Jared Polis, Doug Lamborn

Now, we’ve long been of the opinion that politicians who want to be re-elected should avoid a mustache at all costs, but what say you, Polsters?

Click after the jump to vote on which one of these imaginary facial decorations works best…



The GMS Podcast Gets More Weiser

Attorney General Phil Weiser (D)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we get more Weiser thanks to an interview with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Weiser about his time serving as a clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and his thoughts on how a new SCOTUS confirmation should proceed.

We also talk about what looks to be another blue wave in Colorado; President Trump and Cory Gardner using the same fake healthcare playbook; and Rep. Ken Buck’s persistence to make an ass of himself at any and every opportunity.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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Fake Election News Reels In Ken Buck, Because Of Course

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson follows up on a highly misleading report that aired on CBS4 Denver late last week, which suggested Colorado’s voter rolls were somehow compromised by a post card sent to non-voters encouraging those eligible–with the eligibility requirements outlined right there on the card–to register to vote. This story from CBS4 political reporter Shaun Boyd, who has well-known Republican apologist proclivities, was eventually removed by station management–but in the two days it was up on their site it was widely shared by conservative media and talking heads up to and including Donald Trump, Jr. himself.

As Swanson reports, Rep. Ken Buck, a Coloradan and former district attorney who at least on paper should know better, picked up the misinformation and ran it in for an own goal:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, and the Colorado secretary of state traded barbs on social media Tuesday afternoon in the latest escalation between Republicans and Democrat Jena Griswold as the fall election approaches.

The conflict began after a CBS4 Denver story over the weekend inaccurately suggested that a mailing list for mailers asking Coloradans to vote — a mailing list that included dead people — was connected to the same mailing list from which ballots are sent out. The article was amplified by conservative influencers before CBS4 News Director Tim Wieland took it off the station’s website Sunday and published a clarifying story Monday.

“Reports that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office mailed voter registration postcards to non-citizens and deceased individuals are deeply concerning,” Buck wrote on Twitter as he shared the conservative outlet Brietbart’s version of the original story. “We must get to the bottom of this.”

After having spent the weekend trying to set the record straight after CBS4’s egregious mischaracterization of these post cards to nonvoters as evidence of something amiss with the voter rolls, Secretary of State Jena Griswold was out of courtesy for Buck’s belated rehash of this already debunked news:

“Russia doesn’t have to worry about spreading election misinformation in Colorado,” Griswold wrote. Buck “is doing it for them.” [Pols emphasis]

Because the debunking of a bad story never travels as far as the original misinformation, we expect this fake news to continue to reverberate around conservative media all the way through the election. Every time it comes up, the answer is the same: a post card sent to non-voters has nothing to do with the “voter rolls.” None of the eligibility requirements to actually register to vote were misrepresented, let alone changed by this post card.

Republicans are spreading this story for one reason: it helps instill doubt in Colorado’s mail ballot election system, whose successful track record stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s baseless warnings that mail ballots are going to result in “fraud like you’ve never seen.” In this battle, at least until the election settles the question, it’s increasingly clear that our local Republicans will be of no help refuting Trump’s false statements even though they know better.

Given the potential consequences for American democracy if Trump refuses to acknowledge a result in November he doesn’t like, the complicity of local Republicans in maintaining Trump’s fictions about our election system could be enormously damaging to the country.

No matter how bad it gets, Ken Buck is the last one who will admit his mistake.

In Which Ken Buck Gets to the Bottom of Antifa

It’s true because I said it.

Ken Buck has it all figured out. Mostly.

The Republican Congressman from Greeley, who also serves as the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, was a guest this week on the “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio. Buck told the talking muppet from Fox & Friends — whom Fox bills as “America’s receptive voice,” whatever that means — that he knows that “Antifa” has a well-funded leadership structure and that local law enforcement officials are not cooperating with the Department of Justice in making arrests and trying to topple “Antifa.”

Of course, Buck eventually acknowledges that he doesn’t have any specific information about any of this, but because he was a prosecutor for 25 years, he sees the bigger picture unlike the rest of the saps in Congress.

We transcribed Buck’s interview with Kilmeade so that you can get the full experience of Buck’s fearmongering nonsense:

KILMEADE: Why are you the one who has to lead the charge into finding out who’s behind Antifa, and what is their role in places like Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and New York?

BUCK: Well, I tell you, I had the privilege of prosecuting for 25 years, and so I think I look at crime a little bit differently. I think a lot of Members of Congress see individual acts of crime, and I see the organization, the money behind the crimes. [Pols emphasis] Who is funding the folks that are traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast to engage in these violent acts — to commit arson, to beat up people who they don’t agree with? And so, I am really interested in going after the funders as a way to shut down the violence.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t hold your breath waiting for Buck to mention the 17-year-old man who traveled from his home in Illinois to Kenosha, WI and ended up killing two people and wounding another with his AR-15 rifle. What we really need to figure out is this: Who is supplying the bricks?

KILMEADE: Over in Colorado, Congressman Buck, we’re seeing Antifa everywhere. They seem organized. Some of them have radios. They seem somewhat rehearsed. We watch what they did in New York after George Floyd was killed. We saw bricks being dropped off, bats being dropped off. They have a plan.

BUCK: Absolutely. And I write about it in my book and talk about the fact that the left can’t get to their socialist utopia with our constitution in the way and with our history in the way, and with our values. And so, what they have to do is, they have to try to cancel our culture. They have to try to rewrite history and have teachers ignore history, and adopt the terrible curriculum that was written by The New York Times and try to push this, this…this really, lie, about America out to the public.

Serious journalist person Brian Kilmeade (right)

How did we get from “Antifa” to The New York Times and its “1619 Project“? Get us back on topic, Kilmeade!

SPOILER ALERT #2: Buck doesn’t actually KNOW anything about any of this.

KILMEADE: So, you have this group…who are they? Who finances them, from what you know right now?

BUCK: Sure, well, I don’t know specific donors and I won’t speculate about specific donors, but it’s clear to me that there is, a…while it appears to be a loosely-knit organization, there’s also a leadership structure that is very tightly-knit and is, uh, well-funded. [Pols emphasis] And I think that, if you look at who is funding the Left when it comes to other activities, I think undoubtedly there are the same people who are funding a lot of this activity. And I think they’re trying to disrupt President Trump’s agenda, and I think they’re doing everything they can to scare people. I think it will backfire. What I see in Colorado is that voters are concerned about this and are looking for a strong, steady hand to lead the country. 

Just a few minutes ago, Buck said he was absolutely sure that “Antifa” is a well-funded organization. When pressed for details, Buck has…bupkis. It’s frightening to remember that Buck was the freakin’ district attorney in Weld County for 10 years.

Kilmeade then asks Buck to respond to an unspecified report that a former justice department official is saying that there is some sort of “proof” that these protests are actually organized violence and not just organic actions by a few bad actors. Kilmeade compares “Antifa” to Al Qaeda and ISIS; to Buck’s credit, he at least doesn’t perpetuate this nonsense: 

BUCK: Well, I think there’s a difference between foreign terrorists and domestic terrorists, and I think what we need to do, and I think what the Department of Justice is doing, is conducting a grand jury investigation. I think they are doing their best to gather bank records and other records to determine where this funding is coming from. 

But before we can injure ourselves patting Buck on the back, he crosses a pretty important line. This is where Buck moves from red meat posturing to more dangerous (and highly irresponsible) territory: Accusing local law enforcement officials of ignoring “Antifa”:

BUCK: Really, what it depends on, when you deal with major drug organizations and cartels from outside the country, and other organized crime efforts, like the mafia, you need to make sure that you have state and local officials who are arresting at the local level and then using those folks at the local level to gather information on the organization. The problem here is that we don’t have officials in Portland and other areas who are cooperating with the federal government, oftentimes because of sanctuary city policies and other policies that prohibit that kind of cooperation. And so, I think that the Department of Justice has a more difficult problem than it has in the past. [Pols emphasis]

What is Buck’s suggestion here? That local law enforcement officials should arrest more people on suspicion of being part of something that as far as anyone can tell HAS NO STRUCTURED ORGANIZATION? What would the paperwork say? This warrant is based on the belief that suspect is affiliated with an organization that we can find no evidence of existing?

Buck’s comments are at odds with what actual law enforcement officials are saying about “Antifa.” On Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee and told lawmakers that “Antifa” is an ideology and not an organization. From The Associated Press:

Wray did not dispute in his testimony Thursday that antifa activists were a serious concern, saying that antifa was a “real thing” and that the FBI had undertaken “any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists,” including into individuals who identify with antifa.

But, he said, “It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement or an ideology.” [Pols emphasis]

Clearly, the FBI Director has not been talking to supercop Ken Buck, who believes that the Department of Justice is collecting bank account information that it can use to tie people to an ideology and prove that George Soros is the mastermind of our discontent.

Does Buck actually believe this crap, or is he just playing a role that serves him well politically? It’s tough to say which is worse: That he would knowingly tout misinformation or that he has completely bought into this baloney. Either way, it says a lot about both Ken Buck the Congressman and Ken Buck the GOP Chairman.

Ken Buck, COVIDiot To His Last Maskless Breath

Colorado GOP chairman/Rep. Ken Buck released an extended-length fundraising video for online consumption yesterday, and there’s no need to expound too much on the 2 minutes and 40 some-odd seconds in which Buck drones on predictably about his love for freedom and hatred of bad Washington, D.C. “others” (allegedly) in both parties–but we wanted to make sure readers see this particular nine seconds, which is, if you’ll allow us to be honest, all you need to see:

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

That’s Rep. Buck with Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, and it goes like this:

BUCK: Sheriff, we need a mask around here?
REAMS: Not here.
BUCK: Why not?
REAMS: ‘Cause it’s America. It’s a free country.
BUCK: God bless America.
REAMS: Let’s go shoot.

There’s a lot we could say here, for example a reminder of how severely Weld County in particular was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s initial wave in March and April. In a normal world, this kind of contempt for suffering in a disaster like the ongoing global pandemic would be political suicide–but in Donald Trump’s Republican Party, which comprises a healthy plurality of the electorate in Colorado’s CD-4, even areas that have suffered greatly like Weld County are more likely to reward this behavior than punish it at the polls.

Buck’s second job as chair of the statewide Republican Party, however, makes him a liability to every candidate running in Colorado with an (R) after their name. Every Republican in this state needs to decide if this speaks for them–and if they don’t want it to, they’d better say something right away.

When 50,000 Americans were dead of COVID in late April and the virus was tearing through Weld County, Buck’s cavalier opposition to basic steps like mask wearing was unacceptable.

With almost 200,000 dead today, it’s just…sick.

Caption This Photo: Buck ‘Em All

Via the Colorado GOP, from state party chairman Rep. Ken Buck and CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren “Q*bert” Boebert’s tour of the Western Slope yesterday:

Check out the extremely professional T-shirt Chairman Buck is wearing:

From our examination of the released photos, Buck’s shirt may have expressed a desire to “kill ’em all” and “let God sort ’em out,” but Boebert is the only one who showed up, you know, equipped to actually kill. We feel as though on balance that’s a good thing. If Buck was also packing the means to “kill ’em all,” from what we can see it was kept safely concealed in his pants (no jokes please).

Make no mistake, there are voters this message appeals to. It’s just hopefully…not you.

Ken Buck Phones It In As Career Twilights

Sucks to be Ken Buck.

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reported last weekend and we wanted to be sure got a mention in this space, Rep. Ken Buck, who also serves as the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, is having a sad:

In an upcoming HBO documentary, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck paints a bleak picture not only of Congress but also of his own political party and the conservative movement in this era of President Donald Trump, before suggesting he will retire soon…

The movie, which debuts 7 p.m. Tuesday, follows three Republican congressmen — Buck, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — through 2019 as they reveal their frustrations with the influence of lobbyists, the power of congressional leadership and a lack of legislative progress. In the film, which The Denver Post screened, Buck often appears exasperated and cynical.

“As you see from our movie, Ken is sad,” said Morgan Pehme, one of the film’s directors, in an interview. “Ken is beaten down by the system. I feel sad for Ken sometimes because you go in there, you think you’re going to make a difference, you’re a member of Congress, you have the pin on, and then you realize you’re just another vote in the pocket of (congressional) leadership.”

It’s difficult to understand from this article what exactly it is that has left Rep. Buck sufficiently disenchanted as to publicly reopen speculation that his career in elected office is coming to an end. As readers know, this isn’t the first time that Buck’s impending exit has been a hot topic, though last time he in the end decided to suck it up and serve another safe-seat term in Congress. But at no point has Rep. Buck made any serious attempt to (we apologize) buck the Republican power structure he has faithfully served since succeeding Cory Gardner in Congress. If anything, Republican failure to accomplish controversial objectives like the dismantlement of the Affordable Care Act, which no doubt is vexing to Buck, is objectively speaking good news for Buck’s constituents. Perhaps it’s the coronavirus economic relief bills that Buck steadfastly voted against? His position hasn’t aged well there, either.

And we have to think that this message yesterday from the Colorado GOP didn’t improve Buck’s mood:

Senator Cory Gardner has once again delivered results for the people of Colorado. This morning, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law, legislation written and introduced by Sen. Gardner.

This critical piece of legislation is the single largest investment in our national parks and public lands in history, and will ensure that Colorado’s public lands, parks, and monuments are available for future generations of Coloradans.

It seems pretty innocuous until you realize that this is Ken Buck praising Cory Gardner for legislation that Buck voted against. If a glowing sycophantic message of support for a bill Buck opposed on conservative ideological grounds doesn’t twist the knife morale-wise, it’s tough to know what would.

It’s a “bleak picture” indeed–but it does appear that Buck has found a use for his “side hustle” as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, which for most people is a full time job all by itself. The Colorado Republican Party is now pushing Ken Buck’s new just-in-time-for-the-HBO-special book, $100 for a signed copy!

Colorado Republicans-

I wanted to let you know about a limited-time exclusive offer to order a signed copy of Chairman Ken Buck’s new book Capitol of Freedom: Restoring American Greatness. The book highlights how progressives continue to reject our Constitution in order to implement their socialist agenda, Chairman Buck writes that all of us must continue fighting to protect our liberty.

There is a limited quantity available and all funds will go to the Colorado GOP to support our candidates this November. Those who contribute $100 or more now will receive a signed copy. Please be aware that it is first come, first serve and that there is a limited supply available.

Ken Buck may be tired of Congress, in charge of a state party headed with seemingly no plan for another disaster at the polls in November, with a term in party leadership sullied by embarrassing failures like 2019’s failed recalls and allegations of illegal manipulation of the 2020 GOP primary ballot…but by God, he’s on HBO and selling books.

For beleaguered Colorado Republicans, this may be all the “winning” you get in 2020. Enjoy it vicariously.

GOP Congressional Delegation: Whatevs, Cory Gardner

Clockwise from top left: Sen. Cory Gardner, Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton.

As Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports, the march to passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which passed the U.S. Senate with wide bipartisan support and Sen. Cory Gardner’s earnest election-year blessing, went a little sideways yesterday after all of Colorado’s Republican members of Congress voted against the bill:

Republican Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton all voted against the bill, which represents one of their Republican Senate colleague’s biggest wins in office.

Buck praised his friend Gardner’s work on the measure but said he couldn’t vote for it. While “laudable” in its goal, Buck said, “this bill will convert the LWCF’s funding stream to mandatory funding, much like Medicare and Social Security spending, which will allow this program to continue expanding in perpetuity.”

And that’s not all, Cliven Bundy!

Buck added he has concerns that LWCF will be used to purchase more land and prevent other uses on it, from recreation to mineral development.

“The federal government already owns 35.9 percent of Colorado, and controls 28 percent of the total landmass of the United States — this bill gives the federal government even more power to control land and set federal standards,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Kind of curious, isn’t it? The exact thing the Great American Outdoors Act principally does, provide a permanent funding stream for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is the heart of the problem for Colorado’s Republican congressional delegation! The 105 Republicans who voted against the bill were not enough to stop it, of course, and the next stop is President Donald Trump–who after allegedly being sweet-talked with outlandish comparisons to Theodore Roosevelt by Gardner intends to sign it.

The opposition of all of Gardner’s GOP colleagues in the House naturally gives rise to questions on the right about Gardner’s conservative bonafides, which is already a problem for Gardner evidenced in tepid support from Gardner’s own Republican base. As for the positives for Gardner in taking credit for this bipartisan legislation, sure–it gives him something to talk about with swing voters. But any goodwill Gardner manages from this bill is offset and then some by the much greater dissatisfaction with Republicans on the part of voters motivated by environmental issues.

For good or ill, Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton kept it real.

And “keeping it real” makes Cory Gardner look bad every time.

Colo Republicans Joining Social Platform Parler, a “Safe Haven” For Those Too Extreme for Twitter

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Following the lead of Trump administration officials and campaign staff, several Colorado Republicans are joining the conservative social media site Parler, which is best known for allowing users to post misinformation or extreme statements typically blocked by Twitter or Facebook.

Newsweek calls Parler “a safe haven for anyone too extreme, racist or offensive for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.”

Following Twitter’s flagging of several of President Trump’s recent tweets for violating it policies on misinformation and encouraging violence, the Trump administration and campaign have both ramped up activity on Parler. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Eric Trumpm, and several GOP senators joined the site.

Campaign digital media director Brad Parscale, who’s been on since the site launched in 2018, recently tweeted, “Hey @twitter, your days are numbered.”

Colorado Republicans soon followed suit, including Congressmen Ken Buck, who is also chair of the Colorado GOP, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, Sen. Cory Gardner, and statehouse Republican leader Patrick Neville.

Buck launched his account with a series of posts about the removal of statues and monuments honoring historical figures and accusing Democrats of “ignoring their racist past in order to gaslight the American public.”

Gardner appears to have joined with both his official and campaign brands, though neither account is verified nor has he posted, or written a “Parley,” to use the site’s terminology.

A call to the Gardner for Senate office inquiring whether the account was created by the campaign was not immediately returned.

Gardner’s official account doesn’t even have a profile image yet, though it does have 153 followers, over double the audience of his branded campaign account.

An email to the senator’s press secretary attempting to confirm the authenticity of the account was not immediately returned. This post will be updated with any response received.

Neville also created two accounts, a personal and an official one. He has posted several times on the personal account but has yet to use the official one.

Other Colorado Republicans on the site include party Vice GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown, Weld County Sheriff Steven Reams, former Colorado Senate President John Andrews, and current state senate Republican spokesman Sage Naumann.

Trump campaign senior legal advisor and former Colorado Christian University professor Jenna Ellis has perhaps the second-largest audience of any Colorado conservative, with over 60,000 followers.

She’s topped by far-right pundit Michelle Malkin who has 94,000. Both women’s accounts are “verified” by Parler, which is the site’s version of Twitter’s blue checkmark, indicating that the site stands behind the authenticity of the account’s identity.

The Proud Boys hate group, which had numerous Facebook accounts taken down last month also has a verified Parler account, lending weight to the argument that the site is welcoming to extremists. A recent “Parley” by the group promotes the debunked conspiracy theory that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich’s death was in fact a murder orchestrated by Hillary Clinton.

The same Proud Boys account also shared an “important mask safety video” showing someone burning a mask on a grill. The site lists over 3,200 posts using the hashtag, #NOMASKS.

Despite promoting the site as totally free from censorship, Parler CEO John Matze issued some basic rules of conduct last last month.

Gardner, Lamborn, Buck and their Republican colleagues aren’t the site’s only Colorado connection. Matze and fellow founder Jared Thomson both graduated from the University of Denver, before launching Parler in 2018. As the site’s popularity has exploded in recent weeks, CEO Matze has expressed concern over the lopsided political demographics of its users. CNBC reported that he is offering liberal pundits with at least 50,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook a $20,000 “bounty” to join the platform.

DACA Ruling Exposes Colorado Republicans

Clockwise from top left: Cory Gardner, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton.

The United States Supreme Court issued its second bombshell decision of the week following Monday’s decision in favor of LGBTQ workplace protections.

The Washington Post reports on today’s big ruling to preserve DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which was announced by then-President Obama six years ago this week:

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, a reprieve for nearly 650,000 recipients known as “dreamers.”

The 5 to 4 decision was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and joined by the court’s four liberals. It was the second, stunning defeat this week for the Trump administration, as the Supreme Court begins to unveil its decision in marquee cases.

It will likely elevate the issue of immigration in the presidential campaign, although public opinion polls have shown sympathy for those who were brought here as children and have lived their lives in this country. Congress repeatedly has failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) wasted little time this morning pretending that he is an advocate for immigrants. State Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) was equally swift in calling bullshit on Gardner’s word salad:

Back in September 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security formally rescinded the Obama-era DACA decision at the behest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The response from Colorado Republicans at the time was nothing if not consistent: All GOP members of the state’s Congressional delegation celebrated the move and stated unequivocally that the Trump administration was making the right legal decision (the same argument that the Supreme Court just dismissed):

♦ Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez):

“President Obama circumvented the Constitution when he unilaterally created the DACA program without going through the legislative process. Today’s announcement by Attorney General Sessions shows this administration’s commitment to the rule of law.”

♦ Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley):

“We’re a nation of laws, and our immigration system must reflect that principle. I opposed President Obama’s DACA action because I believed it was wrong and unconstitutional, that ultimately Congress has the responsibility to craft our nation’s immigration laws. President Trump made the right choice by giving Congress time to pass legislation that secures our border from future illegal immigration while also addressing issues like DACA.”

♦ Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

“After eight years of the Obama administration dismantling our immigration laws, I’m encouraged by the President’s commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration, securing our borders, and reversing the unconstitutional DACA program. I have always opposed any type of amnesty and will continue to do so.”

♦ Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma):

“I have long said that we need to have a legislative solution to fix our broken immigration system – this also includes children living in this country without documentation who were brought here by no fault of their own. I’m currently working with my colleagues in Congress about the next legislative steps we can take to ensure these children continue to have the opportunity to be in this country. We are in this situation today because the program was created through executive action by the previous administration instead of through Congress. We now have the opportunity to fix this issue through the legislative process.” [Pols emphasis]

Trust me, I’m on it!

Soon afterward, Gardner did sign on as a co-sponsor of The DREAM Act, which was quite the departure from his previous positions on immigration reform — notably a 2013 vote to prevent DACA from being implemented. As Blair Miller wrote for Denver7 in September 2017:

In 2013, both Coffman and Gardner, who was then a member of the House of Representatives, voted in favor of an amendment from Rep. Steve King of Iowa to the Homeland Security appropriations bill that prohibited DACA from being implemented. [Pols emphasis]

The House did not consider the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill passed by the Senate that year, which contained DACA protections as well. Bennet was one of eight senators–four Democrats and four Republicans–who helped craft the bill.

Gardner moved up to the U.S. Senate in 2015, and he has since regularly claimed that he is working hard to get immigration reform measures passed in upper chamber — though nothing ever seems to happen in that regard. In fact, Congressional Republicans have done precisely JACK SQUAT about immigration reform in the nearly three years since the Trump administration tried to smother DACA with a pillow. President Trump himself later derided efforts to protect immigrants from what he called “shithole countries.” And what did Colorado Republicans have to say about those remarks in January 2018? As The Denver Post reported:

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Ken Buck said the Windsor Republican does not have a response to the matter.

Email messages Friday to representatives for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, were not returned.

But let’s get back to Gardner, who swears up and down that he is totally working every day on getting something done in the U.S. Senate. “I’ll continue to work across the aisle to deliver certainty for Dreamers in a way the Court cannot,” said Gardner today. This is similar to what he told constituents in August 2019:

Gardner affirmed that he sponsored the Dream Act (without mentioning the Dream and Promise Act), and said, “I fight each and every day to find those six votes [that would pass it].

In June 2019, Democrats in the House of Representatives did what Gardner only talks about in passing the American Dream and Promise Act. The bill was read in the U.S. Senate on June 10, 2019 and promptly shelved by Senate Republicans.

If Gardner is not flat-out lying when he says that he is working “each and every day” to advance protections for DREAMERs, then his repetitive comments prove that he is completely ineffective in actually getting something done on the issue.

When it comes to immigration reform, Gardner is either lying or impotent. It really is this simple.

Ken Buck’s Perjury Doo-Doo Deepens

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson updates the developing story of an apparent attempt last month by Rep. Ken Buck, acting in his capacity as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, to pressure a subordinate party volunteer to falsify a sworn affidavit on assembly results in order to qualify at least one candidate for the June 30th primary ballot:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Windsor must defend actions he took as Colorado Republican Party chairman or face a possible investigation by a state office that oversees attorneys’ conduct.

A representative for the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation wrote to Buck earlier this month asking that he answer questions about a recorded conversation in which he pressured a local party official to submit incorrect election results to set the primary ballot for a state Senate seat in El Paso County…

The Denver District Court chief judge ruled that filing the paperwork would have indeed been illegal. The Colorado Supreme Court cemented the decision when it declined to hear the Republican Party’s appeal.

While the office awaits a response from Buck, allegations of election fraud and corruption made against several Weld County Republicans — including one of Buck’s congressional aides — remain under consideration by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

It’s been several weeks since the controversy exploded in early May over Buck’s attempt to induce Senate District 10 district chairman Eli Bremer to falsify the results of the district assembly, in order to place a challenger to Rep. Larry Liston on the ballot in the race to succeed term-limited Sen. Owen Hill. We’ve heard differing excuses for Buck’s recorded conversation with Bremer, in which Bremer clearly outlines and disavows the violation of the law Buck is demanding–later confirmed in a lawsuit filed on Bremer’s behalf that went all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court. Explanations range from grudges against longtime Rep. Liston among local party officials, to a misguided determination on the part of Buck to “be nice” no matter what the law says about the required support to make the primary ballot.

But the fact remains that pressuring a subordinate official to falsify a sworn affidavit, which Buck did in this case for whatever reason, is a criminal act. And even if no prosecutor brings a charge against Buck, as an attorney Buck is subject an additional level of oversight to prevent dishonest conduct of exactly this sort.

If you’ve watched Better Call Saul, you know how this works. Buck has a problem now that won’t just go away.

Ken Buck Once Again Vows To Thoroughly Investigate Himself

Ken Buck will investigate himself and let you know what he finds he swears.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby updates on the developing scandal over Colorado GOP Chairman Ken Buck’s management of the COVID-addled 2020 assemblies, the apparent fudging of the results of which is threatening to plunge an already beleaguered party facing another round of destruction at the polls in November into even more intraparty chaos:

The chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, formed a special commission Wednesday to review the party’s assembly nomination and ballot designation processes, some of which the 4th District congressman is deeply involved with himself. [Pols emphasis]

Controversies in the party’s nomination process first came to light in a Denver Post story last week that included a recording of Buck ordering Eli Bremer, the GOP chairman for Senate District 10, to place a candidate on the June primary ballot who only received 24% of the vote at the district’s assembly in March. His opponent, state Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, received 76%.

If the news that Buck is forming a special commission to look into irregularities that Buck himself appears to have not only been party to but directed sounds familiar to you, it’s because almost exactly one year ago this headline ran in the Colorado Springs Gazette:

That’s right, patient readers–this strategy of setting up an “investigation” to investigate one’s own actions, thus delaying accountability, allowing time to settle emotions, and burying misconduct eventually under procedural jargon in a report no one reads, is a thing that Ken Buck does:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, has asked a state lawmaker to lead an inquiry into allegations by another legislator that the March party election won by Buck was so riddled with errors and irregularities that its final results could be open to question.

Buck told Colorado Politics that he’s enlisted state Rep. Mark Baisley of Roxborough Park to assemble a panel to examine allegations made by state Rep. Susan Beckman, a Littleton Republican and Buck’s chief rival in the March party election.

After Baisley and his team investigate Beckman’s complaints, Buck said he wants them to issue recommendations on party election procedures — potentially including holding another vote for state party chairman. [Pols emphasis]

Needless to say, there was never another vote for state party chairman. Within a few days of this story, Colorado GOP vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown had filed her ill-conceived recall attempt against Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan, Ken Buck got busy in Washington making himself and the party look as bad as possible during the long impeachment inquiry, and the news cycle moved on from the allegations of electoral treachery that kicked off Buck’s term as Colorado GOP party chairman.

As it turns out, Buck’s electoral treachery, and the method of covering it up, follows a pattern.

Ken Buck’s Descent Into Comic Book Villainy Continues

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

As the Greeley Tribune’s Cuyler Meade reports–voting against every coronavirus relief bill, sometimes almost alone, slamming stay-at-home orders to slow the pandemic while deaths from COVID-19 skyrocketed in his home Weld County, mocking basic best practices like wearing masks and avoiding mass gatherings, and plenty more examples of outrageous irresponsibility we didn’t even bother to list here during the ongoing emergency wasn’t enough for Rep. Ken Buck, Congressman and embattled chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Now Rep. Buck wants you to know that the unprecedented millions of Americans who lost lost their jobs in the last two months, and forced through no fault of their own to seek unemployment compensation, are a bunch of freeloaders! Especially the really poor ones:

Touting a bill he and North Carolina Republican Ted Budd introduced in Congress on Tuesday, Windsor-based Republican congressman Ken Buck continued his consistent criticism of the CARES Act, saying it incentivized unemployment through benefits that are too high for those who are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Pols emphasis]

The Getting Americans Back to Work Act, Buck said, caps the amount an individual can receive from unemployment insurance at 100% of their previous wages, fixing, a release said, “glaring errors in the CARES Act” that provide too much money to people who have lost their jobs and are relying on unemployment insurance.

“America’s Grand Reopening starts by getting people back to work. We need to fix the glaring flaws in the CARES Act that have incentivized many Americans to remain out of work by providing more income through unemployment benefits than they would have received from their employer,” Buck said in the statement released by his office. “A record number of Americans have lost their jobs because of this nationwide shutdown and we need to do everything we can to encourage people to safely return to their places of work. Our strong, vibrant workforce is the backbone of our nation and is the key to a full recovery.”

It’s true that the additional unemployment relief authorized in the original CARES Act on top of states’ existing unemployment benefits has created a situation where some low-wage workers are receiving more in relief funds than they made on the job. For the purpose of keeping people home and safe during the ongoing pandemic, there’s nothing wrong with making sure the most vulnerable workers in the economy are not driven to unhealthy choices out of economic necessity. As anybody who has ever tried to live off the wages earned by workers who fall into this category of getting a bigger relief check than they got in paychecks before the pandemic, workers making such low wages are not “ripping off” anyone. They are themselves being exploited. Taxpayers are already paying to supplement the low wages of workers in America who earn so little they are forced onto public assistance to make ends meet.

But above all, for Ken Buck to make clamping down on the lowest-paid workers who are guilty only of receiving a benefit that exposes much greater systemic inequality his top priority, instead of policing big corporations who vacuumed up “small business” Paycheck Protection Program funds before real small businesses could even call their bank to apply or countless other more useful and (key point here) less heartless targets of oversight, says everything you need to know about Buck’s own principles.

At this point, we think Buck intentionally chooses his ugly grandstands. The uglier the better, and the negative reaction he gets is perversely gratifying to him. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of cynicism and misanthropy that has its embittered audience, but contributes nothing useful to the debate over any issue beyond helping define the limits of common decency. And it will continue until Buck leaves office or the voters of beet-red CD-4 decide they’ve had enough.

Until then, Chairman Buck soldiers on as the greatest brand ambassador since Jared the Subway Guy.

A Brief History: Ken Buck as State Republican Party Chairman

Who has a crooked first finger and is killing the Colorado Republican Party? This guy!

In recent history, serving as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party has come with a heaping helping of downside and just a smidge of upside. The current State GOP Chair, who also moonlights as Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), has largely managed to stub his toe on every available rock in a little more than a year on the job.

Once upon a time, the GOP Chairman was considered a prestigious position among Colorado Republicans that could be used as a springboard for higher office; in the early ‘oughts, Bob Beauprez transitioned from Party Chair to Congress in CO-7, then became the GOP nominee for governor in 2006 (and 2014). But after Initiative 27 passed in 2002, the power of being party chairperson for any political party diminished significantly.

After an historic drubbing at the polls in 2018, Colorado Republicans were looking for a new leader to point the way out of their electoral abyss in 2020. Instead, they got Buck.

We wrote at the time that picking a chairman like Ken Buck, who openly ran without offering a forward vision of the party, and pledging to be a figurehead while working two jobs, would probably cause more problems than it solved:

This is really the Colorado Republican Party in a nutshell: One of the top contenders to be the next GOP Party Chair is proposing a return to an era in which the Colorado Republican Party was objectively not very successful, and then lashing out at anyone who questions his ideas.

Today, with Buck facing two separate allegations of tampering in a local caucus process, we thought we’d take a look back at Buck’s year of double-duty.



The Get More Smarter Podcast: What the Buck?

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss two polls that spell doom for our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado; everything is totally under control with the coronavirus as cases mount well past one million; Republicans still want to kill Obamacare (even though it’s one of the few things actually helping during this pandemic); and the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party commits at least one crime.

If you missed last week’s episode, check it out when you’re done here.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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Will GOP Primary Shenanigans Cost Ken Buck His Second Job?

Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson follows up on a growing scandal within the Colorado Republican Party, following an unsuccessful attempt by state party chairman Rep. Ken Buck to coerce a district chair to lie about the results of the Senate District 10 assembly under penalty of perjury in order to qualify a candidate for the June 30th primary ballot:

At least two party executives say they were surprised to learn Buck — who’s also a U.S. representative — defended his position on the state Senate District 10 primary ballot in district court and then appealed that ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court, running up possibly tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Kris Cook, chair of the Denver Republican Party, found out about it Wednesday only to hear hours later that Buck canceled a committee meeting that had been scheduled for Friday.

“We’re touching on something here that’s not quite clean, and it’s not quite the image I have of what the party ought to be,” Cook said, later adding: “I think it’s worth questioning whether him in that role is going to have a negative effect on the rest of this cycle.”

After Rep. Buck attempted to strong-arm GOP SD-10 chair Eli Bremer into falsifying an affidavit to the state allowing primary candidate David Stiver to appear on the ballot against overwhelming district favorite Rep. Larry Liston, Buck was sued and lost–all the way up to the Colorado Supreme Court who refused to hear the case. This legal fight cost the party an unknown but presumably very large amount of money, with Bremer’s attorney’s fees alone estimated around $15,000 in today’s story.

It’s not hard to understand with all of this in mind why more Republicans than ever in the state–and the movement is not new as readers know–want to oust Buck from his position as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. Buck’s term in the job of running the state GOP has been marked by almost continuous failure and controversy, and “absentee boss” Buck has had to grapple with the consequences of terrible decisions made by high-ranking party officials like vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown’s ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan he actively encouraged. Buck’s high-profile votes against COVID-19 relief, and backfiring grandstands against wearing face masks and other measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic have helped brand the Colorado GOP as the party of the irresponsible fringe in this pandemic.

Now Buck has been caught red-handed apparently trying to force a party subordinate to commit perjury. As an attorney and as a member of Congress, we have to think that suborning perjury is a bigger problem for Buck than any of these heretofore optical scandals. We’re not Pollyannish about how the assembly process can and probably has been fudged over the years to achieve desired outcomes. But how could a former prosecutor not understand the consequences of lying under oath?

We foresee a future in which Ken Buck wishes he never took this second job. It’s difficult even now to imagine Rep. Buck losing his ultra-safe Republican seat in Congress, but he’s certainly exposed himself to unwelcome scrutiny in a Democratic-controlled House. Short of that, turning the party over to someone with the time and competence to stabilize what’s become an ongoing organizational disaster ahead of another brutal election seems like something smart Colorado Republicans should urgently consider.

At this point, Democrats could honestly be Ken Buck’s biggest fans.