Boebert Always a Day Late, But Never Short of Excuses

Rep. Lauren Boebert is never to blame.

Last Friday, we reported on a letter signed by every member of Colorado’s congressional delegation except Rep. Lauren Boebert to the Internal Revenue Service, requesting for the second year in a row that the federal government not subject tax refunds under the state’s unique so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” to federal income tax. It’s not the first time that Boebert has missed the boat for reasons unknown on some of her most basic responsibilities, and every one of these fumbles contributes to Boebert’s general perception of being too focused on her social media constituency to attend to the needs of the voters who actually elected Boebert to Congress.

Almost as predictable as Boebert fumbling the ball, as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, are the lame excuses that come afterward:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has sent a letter of her own to the Internal Revenue Service asking it not to tax refunds Coloradans receive as a result of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

That letter, sent on Tuesday, is nearly identical to a similar one that the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent to the IRS asking the same thing.

At the time, Boebert was criticized for not also signing onto that first letter, sent Aug. 31, but that’s only because she was notified of the letter while traveling and only given an hour to respond, her office said. [Pols emphasis]

During the month-plus congressional recess that wraps up this weekend for House members, Colorado’s congressional delegation has literally been all over the world in addition to traveling widely throughout their districts. Rep. Doug Lamborn went on a tour of far-flung Pacific island nations and U.S. territories, and Rep. Jason Crow was in Eastern Europe last week. Yet somehow yet again only Lauren Boebert is the only one who wasn’t given enough time to respond to this no-brainer request?

Boebert would have done much better to simply acknowledge she missed the boat than insist on making an excuse belied by every other member of the delegation. Sometimes it’s even endearing for politicians to admit to making a trifling error with candor, but like her mentor Donald Trump, admitting to even the smallest mistake is something that Lauren Boebert is pathologically unable to do.

To sanitize the old saying, excuses are ubiquitous. But in Colorado politics, Boebert has the most by far.

Smaller Government Strategy is Drowning in its Own Bathtub

Americans don’t want their government in here.

New polling data from CNN/SSRS was released on Thursday that made headlines largely because it showed significant vulnerabilities for President Biden, including a topline finding that Biden and former President Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. Analysis from ABC News, for example, exclaimed that CNN’s new polling was “nothing but bad news” for Biden.

Yet while Biden’s approval ratings aren’t very good and voters aren’t enthusiastic about the impact of White House policies on improving the economy, there was a significant and largely overlooked piece of data included in the CNN/SSRS polling results that should make Democrats feel a little better: For the first time in modern memory, a plurality of Americans believe that the government should do MORE to solve the country’s problems.

Via CNN/SSRS (Aug. 2023)


As you can see from the comparisons below, for decades Americans have tended to agree with the idea that the government is too big and too burdensome and that the free market fairy will always make things right. As conservative activist Grover Norquist infamously said in 2001:

“I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Via CNN/SSRS (Aug. 2023)

In 1985, Norquist founded “Americans for Tax Reform,” an organization that opposed all tax increases “as a matter of principle” and was a vocal advocate for Colorado’s “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR) in 1992. As even Republicans will tell you today, TABOR has been awful for Colorado because it places artificial spending restrictions on a state that has been growing in population since it was first passed more than 30 years ago; it’s no accident that no other state in the country has ever wanted to replicate TABOR.

For decades, “Americans for Tax Reform” played an outside role in conservative politics by serving as a litmus test for any Republican candidate seeking elected office. Failure to sign the ATR “no taxes” pledge could be a campaign killer. But as Paul Krugman wrote for The New York Times in 2010, the “starve the beast” Republican strategy came with one YUGE problem: Nobody really wanted to cut programs that Americans had come to rely upon:

But there has always been a political problem with this agenda. Voters may say that they oppose big government, but the programs that actually dominate federal spending –— Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — are very popular. So how can the public be persuaded to accept large spending cuts?

The conservative answer, which evolved in the late 1970s, would be dubbed “starving the beast” during the Reagan years. The idea — propounded by many members of the conservative intelligentsia, from Alan Greenspan to Irving Kristol — was basically that sympathetic politicians should engage in a game of bait and switch. Rather than proposing unpopular spending cuts, Republicans would push through popular tax cuts, with the deliberate intention of worsening the government’s fiscal position. Spending cuts could then be sold as a necessity rather than a choice, the only way to eliminate an unsustainable budget deficit…

Why are Republicans reluctant to sit down and talk? Because they would then be forced to put up or shut up. Since they’re adamantly opposed to reducing the deficit with tax increases, they would have to explain what spending they want to cut. And guess what? After three decades of preparing the ground for this moment, they’re still not willing to do that. [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Ken Buck recognizes the problem.

Not much has changed in the 13 years since Krugman wrote that opinion piece. Republicans still want to cut spending…but they don’t want to talk about how that might work. Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck said last month that a federal government shutdown — perhaps as soon as the end of this month — was all but inevitable. “We are going to shut down,” he told the crowd at a Colorado Chamber of Commerce luncheon, claiming that the federal government simply must cut spending in order to avoid some sort of nebulous debt/deficit problem that is often predicted but never realized.

The only serious way to reduce spending is to propose meaningful cuts to military spending, medicaid, medicare, or social security, but Republicans aren’t going to do that because voters would revolt and throw them out of office. Earlier this year, Buck suggested raising the retirement age to 72, which would require Americans to work longer than people in any other industrialized nation. Buck hasn’t really said much about that idea since floating it during a Fox 31 interview in May.

But it’s not just these long-running entitlement programs that voters seem to like. As The Washington Post reported this week, $24 billion in stimulus funding that helped make child care possible for millions of parents is about to run dry:

That record investment has helped keep the industry afloat by propping up workers’ salaries, boosting training programs and waiving family payment requirements.

Now, with the last of that money expiring this month, an estimated 70,000 child-care programs — or about 1 in 3 — could close as a result of lost funding, causing 3.2 million children to lose care, according to a study by the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank. That translates to $10.6 billion in lost U.S. economic activity, researchers found, adding new strain to a nation already struggling with a profound lack of child care.

“It isn’t just individual children or parents that will be impacted, it’s the economy as a whole,” said Julie Kashen, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. “When more than 3 million children lose care, that means all of those parents are going to have to figure out something else or reduce their work hours or leave their jobs altogether.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s hard to understate the significance of the philosophical change that Republicans will need to confront if Americans continue to express the belief that we should have MORE government instead of less. Buck is a perfect example of that: He votes against just about every spending bill — sometimes one of just a handful of Republicans to oppose things like raising the debt ceiling — based solely on his robotic devotion to the old “starve the beast” ethos. This is his entire political identity.

A new generation of Americans sees what governments CAN do for people in other countries, and they’re no longer buying into the message long shouted from the mountaintops by rich white men. If support for a more active government continues to rise, Republicans are going to need to toss out the old “smaller government, lower taxes” routine or just cede the entire argument to Democrats.

Friday Open Thread

“It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.”

–Thomas Huxley

Ken Buck’s Mavericky Misgivings Set Off MTG X-Bomb

Earlier this week, GOP Rep. Ken Buck set off a political firestorm when he responded in smackdown-laying detail to a falsehood-ridden letter sent from the Colorado Republican Party urging lawmakers to make the plight of January 6th, 2021 insurrection “political prisoners” a “top priority.” The Denver Post’s Nick Coltrain:

Buck, a former chair of the state Republican Party, shot down the petition’s claims in a four-page letter that included footnotes. His letter is dated Friday but was distributed on the same Republican Party email list Tuesday.

“It is irresponsible to allege without evidence, as your letter does, that Americans are being systematically denied their most basic Constitutional rights based on their political beliefs,” Buck wrote…

Buck rebutted the accusations point-by-point: That those still in custody ahead of their trials are facing felony charges and that most of those people are accused of assaulting a law enforcement officer; that people being held without bond are charged with felonies and most defendants were released on their own recognizance; that the Washington, D.C., jail — while “a miserable place, rife with abuse and dangerous for even the most hardened criminal” — is not especially worse for Jan. 6 defendants; and that courts have been making accommodation for detainees to ensure they have enough time to meet with their lawyers ahead of trial.

You can read the full original letter and Buck’s response here as originally reported by Erik Maulbetsch of the Colorado Times Recorder, but since picked up by news outlets nationwide as a notable intraparty challenge to the campaign to reinvent the January 6th rioters as heroic political prisoners. Buck didn’t mention Rep. Lauren Boebert by name, but she too has made sympathetic visits to January 6th defendants while attempting to recast the violence of that day as “an escorted tour into the Capitol.”

And although this isn’t the first time Rep. Buck has thrown cold water on the latest red-hot far-right cause célèbre, on this occasion Buck drew a furious response from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the prime movers in the campaign to rehabilitate January 6th rioters:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-GA).

MTG follows with a lengthy Twitter/X thread bitterly denouncing Buck for his lack of enthusiasm to impeach Joe Biden, “supporting Joe Biden’s election” (meaning not reciting the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen), never visiting the January 6th defendants in jail, and “apologizing for communists abusing their power to persecute their political enemies.” Were it not for the fact that MTG was kicked out of the Freedom Caucus and Ken Buck was publicly cool with it, we would call this a friendship-ending j’accuse. As it is, there’s no friendship left to spoil.

If there was any doubt, Rep. Buck put it to rest this morning on fellow prosecutor-turned talk radio blowhard George Brauchler’s radio show. Here’s what Buck said when asked about why he hasn’t visited the January 6th defendants in custody:

BUCK: I’ll tell you, Marjorie did do it and she did have access to [the J6 defendants] and she did talk to them.

And frankly, I have a lot of things to do and I’m not gonna go to the DC jail and talk to a bunch of people who assaulted police officers. My sympathy is not with people who beat up cops. [Pols emphasis] My sympathy is not with people that destroy a building that I consider sacred, the US Capitol. My sympathies are not with people who want to stop a Congressional function which is counting the votes in an election. That’s not where my sympathies lie and I’m not gonna spend time going there…

When when I was teaching law school, I learned and and taught certain constitutional principles. When Marjorie Taylor Greene was teaching CrossFit, she learned a whole different set of values then. [Pols emphasis] Because my idea of what this country should be like is based on the Constitution, and she sees the world differently. She’s criticized me for, you know, voting to certify the election in 2020. The Constitution says Congress shall count the votes. Some say Congress may overturn an election result. It doesn’t say Congress can do whatever the heck it wants with. This election shall count the votes. That’s what the Constitution says in her CrossFit class. Maybe they didn’t cover that.

As averse as we are to offering praise for Ken Buck, who will right after this moment of clarity happily launch into a tirade about the myth of climate change or how nobody in Congress wants to punish Working America like he does, this is one of the most powerful repudiations of the whitewashing of January 6th we’ve seen from any Republican. Again, it shouldn’t be difficult for Republicans to disown violence against police officers and smashing up the hallowed seat of American democracy. That so few Republicans are able to make these basic admissions is not so much a testament to the few like Buck who manage the bare minimum, but an indictment of the overwhelming majority who won’t.

But the curve today is historically low, and credit where due.

CO GOP Leaders Want To End Primary Neutrality Rule So They Can Oppose Their Own Candidates

(There is no Colorado GOP anymore, it’s the Dave Williams Club now — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP Chair Dave Williams, parliamentarian.

If Colorado GOP leaders get their way, the party could campaign against some of its own candidates in next spring’s primary election.

The party’s Bylaws Committee is recommending an amendment that would alter the longstanding primary neutrality rule to permit GOP entities to oppose those candidates who avoid the assembly/convention route and instead petition onto the ballot. The proposal will be voted on by the state central committee at its Fall Meeting at the end of this month.

The bylaw currently reads: “No candidate…shall be endorsed, supported, or opposed by the CRC, acting as an entity, or by its state officers or committees, before the Primary Election, unless such candidate is unopposed in the Primary election…”

The proposed amendment would add:

“…Or the candidate has gained access to the primary election ballot but has not participated in the applicable authorized Republican assembly/convention. Additionally, the CRC, and the various Republican county and district central committees, have no obligation to support, and may oppose, any candidate who has gained access to the primary election ballot outside of the assembly/convention process. Personal contributions of time or money to candidates by CRC officers or CRC committee members shall not be considered to be “endorsements” or “support” or “opposition” in violation of this Section unless the officer or committee member uses their official position to encourage other people to support or oppose a pre-primary candidate going through the Convention/Assembly process.After the Primary Election is over, nothing in this Section shall impair the CRC’s obligation to support the Republican nominee to the General Election.

Screenshot of proposed bylaw amendment circulated to Colorado Republican Party Central Committee members.

The proposed amendment marks yet another rift between the grassroots MAGA faction currently in charge of the party and the so-called “establishment” or donor wing which has supported more moderate candidates such as construction magnate Joe O’Dea, last year’s Senate hopeful. O’Dea petitioned onto the primary ballot, thereby avoiding a risky assembly fight with state Rep. Ron Hanks, an election denier and Jan 6 participant whom O’Dea subsequently defeated in the primary.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (Sept. 7)

We haven’t done one of these roundups in awhile, and we need to get back in the habit. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.




Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to the U.S. Capitol this week to deliver brief remarks about his health. McConnell says he will finish his current term (which ends in 2026) and remain Minority Leader despite concerns about his functionality as a human being. McConnell has frozen in place twice in the last six weeks while speaking publicly in front of a microphone:

Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, ruled out several potential causes for McConnell’s recent troubles — but notably didn’t mention what might be wrong other than to blame dehydration.

As NBC News reports, the 81-year-old McConnell’s health is making it more difficult for Republicans to attack President Biden over his age (80).


In a related story, Americans seem to approve of the idea of a mental competency test for politicians, though how such a test might functionally operate is another question. From The Washington Post:

Americans overwhelmingly favor mental competency tests for politicians over 75 — and for the results to be made public — as well as imposing age limits on who can serve in the White House and Congress, according to a new poll that highlights deep misgivings about older leaders they nonetheless elect time and again.

In practice, that would mean acuity assessments for people like President Biden, 80, the oldest to get the job; former president Donald Trump, the runaway front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024, 77; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.), 81…

…There are already age limits to serve as president or in Congress — but they’re a floor, not a ceiling. The poll found broad support for imposing an upper limit: 76 percent for the commander in chief, 73 percent for senators, 72 percent for representatives.

“When asked what the maximum age should be, the average ages given are 67 for president and 66 for senator and member of Congress (the median age given is 70 for all three positions). If an age limit of 66 were in effect, almost half of senators currently in office would be ineligible, given that the median age of Senators is presently about 65,” the poll authors wrote. [Pols emphasis]


Another Republican has jumped in the race for Congress in CO-08 for the right to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo. State Representative Gabe Evans says he’s ready to move up after just one legislative session in his pocket. If recent history is any indication, Evans is in for a rough ride; no Republican state legislator in Colorado has been elected to higher office since 2010.

Weld County Commissioner Scott James was the first Republican to enter the race when he announced his bid for Congress in mid July.


Check out the latest episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Juan Marcano, a candidate for Aurora Mayor who has some new information about incumbent Mayor Mike Coffman’s boneheaded “strong mayor” proposal:


Click below to keep learning things…



Thursday Open Thread

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”

–Henry David Thoreau

“Gabbin’ Gabe” Evans Mansplains Into CD-8 GOP Primary

Rep. Gabe Evans (R) having a sad with the Colorado House GOP micro-minority last May.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, freshman Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans of Fort Lupton is the latest to throw his hat in the ring to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo in Colorado’s ultra-swing CD-8–hoping in the process that his hat doesn’t immediately get shredded by the Colorado Republican Party’s recent lurch to the hard right, and an intra-party purity testing regime his predecessors did not face:

The state lawmaker is the second Republican to announce a 2024 bid to dislodge Caraveo. Evans will face Weld County Commissioner Scott James in the GOP primary.

Caraveo, who lives in Thornton, beat Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer by less than a percentage point, or roughly 1,600 votes, in 2022.

National Republicans say the 8th District, which was formed during Colorado’s 2021 redistricting process and spans the northeast Denver suburbs into Greeley, is one of their top 2024 targets. Democrats also plan to direct resources to the district to defend Caraveo.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) warmly welcomed Evans to the CD-8 race, turning without hesitation to Evans’ record, albeit only for a single session, in the Colorado House GOP’s micro-minority caucus. As our readers know intimately from watching them in action, the reactionary antics of Colorado’s least influential legislative caucus gave Democrats plenty to work with against any of their number seeking higher office:

Gabe Evans is jumping into the race for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District and bringing his extreme anti-abortion agenda with him. Evans supports banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, putting him far out of step with Coloradans…

“This Republican primary is shaping up to be a race to the far right on abortion. Both Gabe Evans and Scott James are pushing extreme anti-abortion agendas that couldn’t be more out of touch with what Coloradans want. Make no mistake – either of these Republican candidates would be a guaranteed vote for a national abortion ban in Congress.”

As an oppositional minority uninterested in brokering compromise or even pretending to be reasonable, the House GOP minority was free to take truly radical positions on a wide range of issues from abortion rights to gun safety. The DCCC hasn’t even scratched the surface of that record, kicking off with abortion rights as just the first of a long list of issues on which Evans is vulnerable. Evans’ loquacious car-salesman delivery has been compared to ex-Sen. Cory Gardner, and that frequently put Evans in the position of being a mouthpiece for the House micro-minority during episodes that did not age well.

Historically, Colorado Republican state representatives have a terrible record when it comes to winning higher office. It’s been fourteen years since then-state Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton traded up to Congress from the Colorado legislature, while Democrats just in 2022 sent two state lawmakers to Washington–the same year numerous GOP lawmakers including Ron Hanks, now-GOP chairman Dave Williams, and state Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer all saw their bids for federal office fall flat.

Rep. Evans now faces the gauntlet of a state Republican Party under Williams openly meddling in the primary process to enforce far-right ideological standards on Republican candidates. Even with the GOP/Libertarian “grand alliance” teetering under its own weight, if Williams decides for any reason that Evans is not conservative enough he has plenty of alternatives. We haven’t heard specifically whether Evans is on Dave Williams’ extensive naughty list, but after Williams embarrassed the caucus by arranging a paid no-show “legislative aide” position to cover the bills we can imagine there being little love between them.

And that, as they say, is the long row Gabe Evans must now hoe. The most likely outcome is Evans joining a long list of overly ambitious fellow Republicans whose reach exceeded their grasp.

Lawsuit Filed To Keep Traitor Trump Off Colorado’s Ballot

The ex-President.

National legal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington today announced a lawsuit seeking to compel Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to remove Donald Trump from the list of eligible candidates for President in our state “based on his disqualification from public office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Having disqualified himself from public office by violating Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, Donald Trump must be removed from the ballot, according to a lawsuit filed today by six Republican and unaffiliated Colorado voters including former state, federal and local officials, represented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the firms Tierney Lawrence Stiles LLC, KBN Law, LLC and Olson Grimsley Kawanabe Hinchcliff & Murray LLC.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, also known as the Disqualification Clause, bars any person from holding federal or state office who took an “oath…to support the Constitution of the United States” and then has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump stood before the nation and took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” After losing the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump violated that oath by recruiting, inciting and encouraging a violent mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in a futile attempt to remain in office…

“As a longtime Republican who voted for him, I believe Donald Trump disqualified himself from running in 2024 by spreading lies, vilifying election workers, and fomenting an attack on the Capitol,” said conservative columnist for the Denver Post and Republican activist Krista Kafer. “Those who by force and by falsehood subvert democracy are unfit to participate in it. That’s why I am part of this lawsuit to prevent an insurrectionist from appearing on Colorado’s ballot.”

The case is laid out in a 100-page petition filing you can read here. The summary argument is that Trump, having engaged in insurrection on January 6th, 2021, is constitutionally disqualified from running for office, and Colorado’s Secretary of State therefore has the “power and duty” to remove Trump from state’s presidential primary ballot. Secretary of State Griswold is the respondent in the case along with Trump, which may be the first and last time you’ll ever see them even nominally on the same side.

This isn’t the only case where the 14th Amendment has been invoked since January 6th, 2021 in an attempt to judicially end political careers, and though cases against higher profile figures haven’t fared as well a New Mexico county commissioner was successfully thrown off the ballot last year for his role in the insurrection. With the Colorado Republican Party controlled by MAGA-diehard election deniers, the Republicans who signed up to front this lawsuit like Denver Post columnist Krista Kafer are taking a commendably brave stand against their own.

The political opposing argument to this lawsuit is that Colorado is in absolutely no danger of flipping to Trump in 2024 after having been trounced here in the last two presidential elections, and indeed Colorado voters will be highly motivated to turn out in 2024 to reject Trump in the event he wins the Republican nomination. Whether they realize it or not–those in charge generally speaking do not–Republicans in Colorado would benefit greatly from not having to share the ballot with Trump next year. A court ruling disqualifying Trump, as satisfying and even legally justified idea as that may be, lacks the unquestionable finality of a landslide at the polls.

Then again, who are we kidding? Trump doesn’t respect election outcomes either.

For that reason alone, maybe a courtroom is where Trump’s fate belongs.

Rubber Chicken Luncheon Lawsuit Resolved

Open Meetings enthusiast Bob Marshall

We wrote back in July about a curious, and probably unnecessary, lawsuit filed against leadership of both Democrats and Republicans in the State House of Representatives regarding certain communications that might violate the spirit of public disclosure at the State Capitol. It appears that this suit has now been resolved.

The lawsuit was forged by State Rep. Bob Marshall (D-Douglas County), a freshman lawmaker who has kinda become the “open meetings guy” dating back to his efforts in February 2022 to sue the Douglas County School Board for violating Colorado Open Meeting Laws (OML) in a case related to the firing of former Superintendent Corey Wise. After making it through his first legislative session last spring, Marshall filed a complaint in early July related to his concerns that members of both parties routinely violate regulations by taking part in conversations about public policy without providing OML-required notice to the public. Marshall was specifically concerned about the use of messaging apps like Signal, which have an “auto-delete” feature.

As Jesse Paul and Elliott Wenzler explain for The Colorado Sun, Marshall’s concerns appear to have been alleviated:

As part of the settlement, which must be approved by a judge, the defendants agreed to not discuss public business or take a “formal action” during a meeting where a quorum of a state body is expected to be in attendance without first providing public notice of the gathering and promptly making minutes of the meeting publicly available.

Also, two or more members of the House “shall not discuss public business through any electronic means (including, without limitation, any instant messaging platform or application) unless written minutes of such meetings are made publicly available upon request.” Those minutes would have to be released under the Colorado Open Records Act…

…“The settlement of this dispute does not establish wrongdoing by any party,” the agreement says.

Not anymore, it won’t!

The “consent decree” will also instruct state representatives to refrain from using “auto-delete” features on messaging apps such as Signal. The agreement applies to the leadership of both Democratic and Republican caucuses. According to the Sun, Marshall is pleased with the results:

“It’s going to get us where we need to go, I hope,” said Marshall.

Marshall said the next step is pursuing a bill aimed at modernizing Colorado’s open meetings and public records laws. The consent decree says the agreement would be in effect until the laws are amended, hinting that changes are coming.

Accusations of OML violations are fairly common in Colorado, in part because it can be difficult to nail down what constitutes a meeting that should require public notice; it’s also nearly impossible to keep track of whether an elected official was talking about something with another elected official that should have been made public. Both Democratic and Republican caucuses, for example, have regularly held rubber chicken lunches over the years to discuss all matter of issues. We doubt there are many members of the public clamoring to know about luncheons that elected representatives themselves would rather not attend; this “problem” has now been resolved regardless.

These concerns probably could have been worked out without a formal lawsuit and saved taxpayers from the $13,000 bill that covers the legal fees of Marshall’s attorneys, but perhaps it’s hard to be “open meetings guy” if people don’t know that you are complaining about open meetings.

Proud Boys Ringleader Gets 22 Years For January 6th

As the Washington Post reports, the longest sentence yet handed out to anyone involved in the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election by swindle or thuggery came today against former Proud Boys Oberfuhrer Enrique Tarrio, who will have 22 years to cool his neofascist jets in federal prison and contemplate how things went so terribly wrong in life:

Tarrio, of Miami, was arrested and convicted even though he wasn’t in D.C. on Jan. 6. He had been arrested in December 2020 after he burned a “Black Lives Matter” flag torn down from a D.C. church during a protest in the city following President Donald Trump’s defeat. He was banned from the city as a result.

But prosecutors said he recruited people to join in a violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 to keep Trump in power and messaged them “Don’t f—ing leave” as they led the storming of the building, causing the electoral vote count to stop for about six hours. Kelly cited that message Tuesday in ruling that Tarrio still had a leadership role on Jan. 6, even if he wasn’t in D.C. Tarrio denied planning an incursion into the Capitol and gave interviews after the riot saying he did not endorse that move by multiple Proud Boys, some of whom were among the first to enter the building.

Tarrio was defiant just prior to his conviction in May, claiming that he was being prosecuted by sinister forces “trying to manipulate the 2024 election.” But in court today for sentencing, the once-proud leader of the militia group President Donald Trump told to “stand back and stand by” could not have been more sorry:

Tarrio apologized for his actions and those of the Proud Boys, saying the police who defended the Capitol, some of whom were in the audience Tuesday, “deserve nothing but praise, respect and to be honored as the heroes they are. I am extremely ashamed and disappointed they were caused grief and suffering.” He also said he had early doubts about whether the election was stolen, but kept them to himself. “Every medium I turned to told me my anger was justified,” Tarrio said. “It wasn’t…I do not think what happened that day was acceptable.”

On that last point, all we can say is more of Tarrio’s fellow MAGA conservatives should agree than do–and we can only hope this sentence gets their attention, since no amount of factual evidence has proven able to. Tarrio’s remorse probably did knock a few years off his sentence, but the message his case sends ending with this harsh sentence is (we hope) resounding and unmistakable. Attempts to overthrow the United States government by force will not end well for the perpetrators.

Tarrio’s remorse is even more important now that we know the accountability is not going to end with the leader of the Proud Boys. His case is a sentencing frame of reference for the much bigger fish yet to fry. And it should make Trump’s jilted co-conspirators think very carefully about their next move.

Boebert Straight-Up Tells Supporters She’s Going To Lose

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) seen here nearly losing the 2022 election.

As Austin Corona at the Aspen Daily News reports, fundraising email blasts from Colorado’s vexatiously vulnerable Rep. Lauren Boebert have taken a dark turn since the release of the late August poll showing her narrowly losing to Democratic challenger Adam Frisch:

Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign sent three emails to supporters last week expressing concern over polling that showed the second-term congresswoman trailing her potential 2024 Democratic opponent, former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch, by 2 percentage points…

“If we don’t turn things around quickly, we could lose this seat to the Democrats. I can’t believe I’m saying those words, but I need you to understand how dire this situation is. [Frisch’s] latest internal polls have him beating us by two points,” read an email sent by Boebert’s campaign on Aug. 29.

The email from Wednesday, Aug. 30, written by former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, stated that Boebert was being “pummeled” by Frisch.

“If the Election were held today … Lauren would lose,” the email read… [Pols emphasis]

And the bad news packaged like a bitter pill for Boebert’s diehard supporters doesn’t stop there:

All three emails added that Frisch is outraising the Boebert campaign. This year, Frisch has raised $4.4 million, the fourth largest amount raised by any of the more than 1,200 congressional candidates who have announced runs for 2024. Boebert, meanwhile, has raised $1.6 million, putting her in 30th place.

Relaying bad news to one’s supporters in order to build urgency is nothing new in campaign fundraising, but in Boebert’s case the situation is a little more problematic. Boebert is reacting to her opponent’s internal polling, but instead of discounting it as such or focusing on the results being a statistical tie, she’s conceded the whole frame of the race to Frisch by agreeing she would lose if the election were held today. Republican donors understand, or at least they should by now, that Boebert’s vulnerability is disproportionate to the district’s conservative lean. Boebert is being “pummeled” in a race that otherwise would not be as competitive, and the reason is Boebert.

This in turn explains Boebert’s lackluster fundraising since barely winning re-election by 546 votes last November. Boebert’s unsuccessful holdout struggle to deny Speaker Kevin McCarthy his gavel in January placed Boebert on the wrong side of the national GOP’s fundraising machine, and the result is clear enough that McCarthy doesn’t have to say a word.

Boebert is asking Republicans to throw good money after bad, and everybody knows it now.

If there’s anyone who didn’t, Boebert will explain it to them herself.

Colo GOP Leadership’s ‘Top Priority:’ Supporting Jan. 6 Prisoners

(Updated Tuesday with must-read response from Rep. Ken Buck — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Pro-Trump Insurrectionists storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo Credit: Dede Laugesen



UPDATE: Congressman Ken Buck has responded to Todd Watkins’ call for Colorado Republicans to support the Jan. 6 prisoners. In a letter of his own dated Sept. 1, Buck points out multiple incorrect assertions and calls on Watkins to stop promoting misinformation he finds online.

Buck concludes by lamenting the fact that “Republican leaders are misdirecting the energy and resources of Republican activists.”

Read the full text of Buck’s letter at the bottom of this article.


“CALL TO ACTION” blared the headline of the Colorado Republican Party’s email last week. What was so important that state GOP blasted an all caps request to its entire list?

“Your support is needed for the January 6 prisoners.  Please see the letter below and if you want to be included, please respond to this email and we will add your name to the list. Also, please distribute this to your county and/or constituents for them to give us their permission to include their names as well.” State GOP Secretary Anna Ferguson, who has publicly stated her belief in the QAnon conspiracy, signed the email. El Paso County Vice Chair Todd Watkins, himself an unapologetic election denier, wrote the letter itself.

Watkins, who has twice lost elections for party vice chair this year, described the Justice Department’s treatment of those arrested for participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection as “our government committing atrocities on its own citizens for what are obviously political reasons.”

Colorado GOP Secretary Anna Ferguson’s public support for QAnon.

“This should be a cause of national shame,” says Watkins. “This should appall and disgust every American, particularly those elected to represent us… This must be a top priority of the entire GOP and especially anyone elected to office.”

In addition to asking Colorado Republicans to sign the letter, Ferguson urged members to solicit as many additional signatures as they can, so that a large list can then be delivered to Colorado’s Congressional delegation.

As of the GOP’s email, Watkins’ letter had four co-signers: Vice Chair Ferguson, El Paso GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins, and Colorado Springs state Reps. Scott Bottoms and Ken Degraaf.

Neither Ferguson nor Watkins responded to the Colorado Times Recorder’s questions as to how many Republicans have signed the letter so far. This article will be updated with any response received.

The party’s new treasurer, Tom Bjorklund, participated in the insurrection, which the Colorado Times Recorder reported a year and a half before Chair Dave Williams appointed him to oversee the party’s finances.

Earlier this year, U.S. House Republicans opened an investigation into the conditions at the Washington, D.C. jail that houses the Jan. 6 pre-trial detainees. On March 23 Congresswomen Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene led a tour of the jail (that included two Democrats) to observe the facility first-hand. Greene’s description of mistreatment was countered by the two Democrats, who say the insurrectionists’ wing of the jail is nicer than that of the general population.