Donald J. Trump, his family business and three of his children lied to lenders and insurers for more than a decade, according to the New York attorney general, Letitia James, who accused him of fraudulently overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars in a sprawling scheme. She is seeking to bar the Trumps from ever running a business in the state again.
Ms. James concluded in a sweeping lawsuit filed on Wednesday that Mr. Trump and his family business violated several state criminal laws and “plausibly” broke federal criminal laws as well. Her office, which in this case lacks authority to file criminal charges, referred the findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan; it was not immediately clear whether the U.S. attorney would investigate.
The 220-page lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, lays out in new and startling detail how, according to Ms. James, Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements were a compendium of lies. The statements, yearly records that include the company’s estimated value of his holdings and debts, wildly inflated the worth of nearly every one of his marquee properties — from Mar-a-Lago in Florida to Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, according to the lawsuit.
The company also routinely spurned the assessments of outside experts: After a bank ordered an appraisal that found 40 Wall Street was worth $200 million, the Trumps promptly valued it at well over twice that number. Overall, the lawsuit said that 11 of Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements included more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and the former occupant of the White House.
Meanwhile, Trump’s poll numbers in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential matchup are slipping among Republicans…but the Big Orange Guy is still the clear leader in the hypothetical clubhouse. From The Hill newspaper:
The Morning Consult-Politico survey released Wednesday found that 52 percent of Republican primary voters would support Trump, who is followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 19 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence came in third with 8 percent, while all other candidates received support from 3 percent of primary voters or less.
Trump’s support among GOP voters is 5 points lower than the 57 percent support he received last month. That polling came shortly after the FBI conducted a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents.
This is quite the conundrum for Republicans across the country and here in Colorado. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose political stunt sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard continues to unravel, is trying to out-Trump Trump…to Trump’s dismay:
Maybe this will all turn out great for Republicans, but it’s really, really hard to see a happy ending at the end of this crap rainbow.
We wrote yesterday morning about the cancellation without explanation of what would otherwise have been an epic convergence of two of the far right’s most iconic luminaries, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Colorado freshman GOP fountain of nuttery Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who were set to hold a joint fundraiser in Anchorage. The reason for the fundraiser being canceled wasn’t disclosed, but the Boebert Palin Victory PAC is still a thing that exists now. And we think everyone can agree it always should have existed.
Today in the Utica, New York Observer Dispatch, we read about the postponement of another event set to star Lauren Boebert–and this time it looks like a popular uprising may have been responsible:
The announcement of an appearance by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, whose national profile has been marked by controversy, at a Utica fundraiser in October sparked opposition on social media. The event has since been postponed, but organizers say they still plan to extend an invitation to Boebert after the 2022 election cycle.
Vincent Scalise, executive director of the Utica Center for Development, said he met Boebert while he was deployed with the Army National Guard to the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 riot. While there, he took photos with all 100 senators and some members of the House, including Boebert, a Colorado Republican.
The congresswoman bought Chick-fil-A for troops on duty one night and the two became friends, he said.
“I ran into her while I was doing security,” Scalise said. “She was extremely nice to us and our troops.”
Considering Boebert’s role in helping incite the violence on January 6th, 2021, her rush afterwards to shower affection on National Guard troops who were deployed in the aftermath has always struck us as an example of Boebert audaciously returning to the scene of her own scandals in order to confound her critics. It’s difficult to imagine a soldier deployed to protect the Capitol after January 6th not knowing who Boebert is and what she did in the runup to the violence that day, but we’ll have to give this individual the benefit of the doubt.
Because either way, the people of Utica, New York surer than hell remembered:
The announcement that Boebert would speak at the fundraising gala at the Fort Schuyler club drew attention online. A Facebook post by the Utica Center for Development garnered a majority of angry reactions and some of the public shares of the post expressed outrage over her involvement. Comments on the post were limited by the page managers…
And subsequent to that, the gala for the Utica Center for Development starring Boebert was postponed. Boebert may draw adoring crowds at far-right conferences like CPAC, but if this experience is any guide, outside a thoroughly partisan political environment Boebert is basically useless for drawing anything but controversy. Boebert’s inherent divisiveness, which she has proudly made central to her public image, makes it inevitable that her mere appearance will overshadow the purpose of any event she’s invited to.
Enough that even Sarah Palin pulled the plug? We may never know, but now we know Boebert doesn’t play well in Utica. This could also explain Boebert’s notable absence from the Colorado GOP’s joint campaign touring around the state, and why her endorsement isn’t being sought or promoted by local Republican candidates.
If Adam Frisch does manage to pull off a Betsy Markey-style underdog win, few Republicans will truly mourn.
Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet [email] was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. […] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. [Pols emphasis] And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.
Stevens delivered this gem of an explanation in a Senate committee hearing on June 28, 2006. At this same time in Colorado, Republican Doug Lamborn was engaged in a heated 6-way battle for a vacant congressional seat in CO-05 in Colorado Springs (this was back when Colorado still held its Primary Elections in August). Lamborn would go on to win that race, and effectively a seat in Congress, by capturing all of 15,000 votes in the August Primary. He has held this seat ever since.
Lamborn is a political zombie, that strange type of politician who cannot be killed no matter the circumstances. He has survived multiple Primary and General Election challenges over the years; in June, he annihilated State Rep. Dave Williams in a Republican Primary (by 18 points!) despite the fact that Lamborn faces a lawsuit and ethics violations related to a bunch of problems in his office (including allowing his adult son to live in a storage closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol).
Lamborn’s political survival is all the more remarkable considering a recent nugget unearthed by Colorado Public Radio reporter Caitlyn Kim:
Looking around winred this morning, and was surprised to find Christopher Mitchell (American Constitution Party) listed for CO-5, not Doug Lamborn. So,went down a rabbit hole: Lamborn’s the only sitting CO member seeking reelection w/o a winred/actblue site. #copoliticspic.twitter.com/4hErgnGqew
It does appear to be possible to donate online to Lamborn’s campaign (theoretically, anyway — we didn’t actually try it), but you’d need to use a different payment processing service THAN ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT IN THE COUNTRY.
Perhaps other Republicans are doing it wrong and should be following Lamborn’s lead, but we would imagine that you are more likely to raise money online if you use the same platform as all the other GOP candidates, since efforts are often made to direct donors in that direction. Of course, this assumes that Lamborn even WANTS money; he never seems to have any of it in his campaign coffers anyway.
Lamborn may not really understand the Internet, which is just one more thing to add to a long list of things that is beyond Lamborn’s ability to comprehend. In fairness, we also don’t understand how Lamborn has remained in Congress since 2007, so who are we to judge?
In the end, this is just one more nugget to add to the legend of Brick Tamland Doug Lamborn that historians will one day struggle to piece together.
Colorado Secretary of State hopeful Pam Anderson has made rejecting the Big Lie a central message of her campaign, but a new video shows her arm-in-arm with a major state GOP activist and fundraiser who’s not only pushed QAnon-linked election conspiracy theories, but also participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
As the Colorado Times Recorderreported last week, prominent Republican fundraiser Wendy Meritt tweeted about being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, claimed the violence was carried out by Antifa, and pushed multiple election fraud conspiracies.
Meritt, whose husband Xernie is U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s longtime business partner, deleted her Twitter account following the publication of our article.
Meritt, however, is the only one who has publicly posted about participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection or promoted the QAnon-linked “Italygate” conspiracy, which claims Italian military satellites remotely switched voted from the Trump to Biden.
The Colorado Times Recorder asked Anderson if she was aware of Meritt’s beliefs or participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection when they made the video, and if not, would she disavow Meritt’s endorsement
Anderson” offered the following response, which does not include a disavowal.
“I have not had a conversation with Ms. Meritt, a private citizen, about the details of her political views besides what you see-her congratulations and appreciation of my primary win against Tina Peters and Mike O’Donnell,” said Anderson. “I will continue to run on my strong message of uniting and informing Coloradans behind our election system, not further divide or ostracize people.“
Anderson’s refusal to disavow the endorsement of a conspiracist election denier seems at odds with a candidate who today promoted her appearance on the cover of Time Magazine as an “election defender.
Anderson also declined to answer the Colorado Times Recorder’s inquiry as to whether she would call on her fellow Republican candidates to return Ms. Meritt’s many thousands of dollars’ worth of campaign contributions. Meritt has given the maximum amount not only to the O’Dea campaign, but also to Ganahl and the campaigns of Lang Sias and John Kellner, Colorado Republicans running for state treasurer and Attorney General, respectively.
Republican CD-7 congressional candidate Erik Aadland’s campaign, despite running in a race made somewhat more competitive by redistricting, entered what could be a terminal nosedive beginning in late August, when archived video of Aadland calling the 2020 elections “absolutely rigged” was conspicuously deleted from the Jefferson County GOP Men’s Club website. A couple of weeks later, 538.com reported on Aadland telling Republicans in the district more recently that “we have an illegitimate government in power,” but he can’t “talk about election integrity on and on and on because it’s not an issue that wins us this race.” Aadland has been endorsed by a variety of toxic far-right personalities like QAnon theorist Paul Vallely and local anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo–which is on the message Aadland has clearly chosen, but doesn’t help Aadland appear reasonable in a district that still favors Democrats (and therefore reality) based on previous results by several points.
So as the Colorado Springs Gazette’sErnest Luningreports, Aadland is bringing in…a different kind of backup:
Republican congressional candidate Erik Aadland won a formal endorsement on Monday from former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who called the Army veteran “exactly who we need to bridge the divides and fight for our values.”
A former project manager for an oil and gas company and first-time candidate from Pine, Aadland is running against state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Lakewood Democrat, in the open, Democratic-leaning 7th Congressional District, which covers Broomfield, most of Jefferson County and mountain counties stretching south past Cañon City…
Aadland said in a release that he will “strive to emulate” Gardner’s example, adding that he was “honored” and “humbled” to have his support. [Pols emphasis]
As readers know, the most recent “example” set by Cory Gardner was losing in 2020 to Sen. John Hickenlooper by just over 9 percent, 53.5-44.2%–by about 10 percent within the boundaries of the new CD-7. That’s a bit wider margin than the newly redrawn CD-7’s D+4 estimate from Cook Political. Aadland will therefore need to work a little harder to “emulate Gardner’s example”–but if there’s any Colorado Republican up to the challenge in 2022 of losing by a few more points than expected, it’s Erik Aadland.
Although we can perhaps see the value of Gardner’s endorsement during the primary phase of Aadland’s campaign, in the general election the blessing of a Senator who just went down in flames two years ago isn’t a blessing at all. It’s a curse, and even though Gardner may be slightly to the left of Tom Tancredo policywise, Gardner brings no voters to Aadland who wouldn’t vote the straight Republican ticket anyway. For swing voters able to remember the last election, which we hope is a fair number, Gardner is perhaps the worst possible surrogate for 2022 candidates who want to win.
Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was scheduled to be in Anchorage, Alaska on Saturday to be the special guest at a fundraiser for GOP Congressional candidate Sarah Palin.
Boebert is often considered to be something like the off-brand version of Palin, the former Alaska Governor who somehow ended up being Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate in 2008. “Caribou Barbie” was the original Boebert without the benefit of social media; indeed, it’s fair to say that Boebert built much of her current shtick off of the image that Palin created for herself in the years following her disastrous run as the Republican nominee for Vice President.
Alas, Saturday’s event was apparently cancelled for reasons that were not provided. Perhaps Boebert and her team of political “strategists” realized that it was a bad look to travel all the way to Alaska in late September when she has her own re-election campaign to worry about. Or maybe the event organizers were concerned that putting both women in the same place would create a tear in the space-time continuum and open a portal to a new dimension. Whatever the reason for the cancellation, here’s the original invitation as proof that this event was at least theoretically going to happen at one point:
Back in early August as the state ramped up to mail out “Colorado Cashback” refund checks to Colorado taxpayers–refunds mandated by the 1992 so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” reformulated to give lower-income taxpayers a substantial increase at the expense of wealthier taxpayers — former militia leader and current Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown filed a campaign finance complaint against Gov. Jared Polis. Colorado Public Radio’sBente Birkelandreported at that time:
Governor Jared Polis and the Colorado GOP are tangling over a letter taxpayers will receive with their TABOR refund checks in the coming weeks; Republicans accuse Polis of using the communication to boost his reelection chances.
The letter, which Polis described to CPR as informative, comes with the governor’s signature at the bottom. On Thursday, Kristi Burton Brown, the executive director of the Colorado Republican party, filed a campaign finance complaint alleging it amounts to electioneering at the taxpayers’ expense.
“This letter blatantly misleads voters by refusing to say the word ‘TABOR’ or ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights.’ Instead, the Governor uses his own campaign language of ‘Colorado Cashback,’ a phrase he coined during his campaign for re-election,” states Burton Brown in the complaint.
The complaint against Gov. Polis was heavily covered by local news media, earning stories in the Colorado Sun, Colorado Newsline, the Denver Post, the Colorado Springs Gazette’spolitical blog, and KDVR FOX-31 among other outlets. Of all of these outlets, only Ernest Luning and Marianne Goodland of the Gazette looked critically at the substance of the complaint, finding the obvious problem without much difficulty:
The GOP’s complaint, filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office…charges Polis with instead referring to the checks as part of the Colorado CashBack, alleging the phrase was “coined during his campaign for re-election,” though the phrase appears to have been first used by legislators when they introduced the bill to authorize the accelerated refund program. [Pols emphasis]
May 2022 Tweet from Rep. Lindsey Daugherty celebrating the Colorado Cashback refunds.
The complaint asserts without any justification that the term “Colorado Cashback” was created by Gov. Polis’ campaign, when that’s plainly not the case–lawmakers called the rejiggered TABOR refunds the “Colorado Cashback” plan when the legislation was debated last spring (Tweet right). This means the whole basis of Brown’s complaint is bogus–but that didn’t stop the local press from spending almost a week castigating Gov. Polis on the GOP’s behalf before any such determination could be made.
Well folks, today that determination was made by the Elections Division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office–filing a motion to dismiss Brown’s complaint, finding “there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that Respondents violated Colorado campaign finance law.”
As it turns out, Brown never even tried to provide evidence to back up her contentions:
In support of her allegations, Complainant attached the July 7th letter and a portion of the fiscal note for SB 22-233 referencing the state expenditures related to the refund mechanism. Complainant did not explain why she believed the term “Colorado Cashback” was associated with Respondent Candidate’s campaign nor did she provide any evidence of the campaign using the term in the Complaint or in response to the Division’s request for information…
Complainant illustrated how Respondent Governor Polis did not embrace or use the term TABOR in association with SB 22-233 or the refund checks but presented no evidence that “Colorado Cashback” is campaign language, a campaign slogan, or a term that was coined by Respondent Candidate during his campaign, as alleged in the Complaint. [Pols emphasis]
The reason Brown couldn’t give the Elections Division any evidence that “Colorado Cashback” is a campaign slogan is that is clearly was not, having been used by lawmakers as far back as April to describe the one-time TABOR refund mechanism legislation Senate Bill 22-233. Republicans can seethe that Democrats neglected to mention the word “TABOR,” but there’s no law that says anyone ever had to. And as for the content of the letter to taxpayers accompanying the check?
[T]he plain language of the letter does not concern the nomination, retention, or election of any person to any public office, nor does it reference, let alone support or oppose, any state or local ballot measure. While Complainant alleges that letter supports the (re)election of Respondent Candidate to office, Complainant has failed to provide evidence that the letter is an electioneering communication not subject to the normal course and scope of business exemption. [Pols emphasis]
The flimsy factual basis of this complaint was apparent the day it was filed, and any competent campaign finance lawyer asked by any reporter inquiring would have told them this had zero chance of being upheld after a full review. That raises real questions about why the local press rushed to give this baseless complaint so much attention. For Republicans this is still on balance a misinformation victory handed to them by the media, since far fewer voters will hear that the story was debunked than saw the original reporting about the complaint.
All we can say is, hopefully the media’s attention continues even though Kristi Burton Brown doesn’t want it anymore. Every news outlet who reported about the original complaint now has an obligation to publicize its debunking just as vigorously.
Colorado Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea released a new television ad over the weekend that most politicians would be ashamed to have approved. The ad attempts to paint O’Dea as a “pro-choice” candidate, which is nothing short of a complete lie.
In the ad, which you can see below, O’Dea’s daughter, Tayler O’Dea, says, “My dad supports a woman’s right to choose.” The ad then cuts to Steve Kornacki of NBC News saying, “O’Dea is running as a pro-choice candidate” and Marshall Zelinger of 9News saying, “O’Dea…supports a woman’s right to choose early in pregnancy.”
But the simplest way to explain why this ad is false is using O’Dea’s own words. You’ll notice that O’Dea himself never appears and says I am pro-choice, because he is not. And how do we know that Joe O’Dea is pro-life, and NOT pro-choice? Because Joe O’Dea said it himself in May:
Over the past few weeks, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s campaign has stumbled in a series of interviews and public appearances, denting Republican hopes that he could represent a viable fallback option among generally declining GOP prospects in the rapidly-approaching midterm elections. After an attempt in early August to put daylight between himself and ex-President Donald Trump ran aground as O’Dea clarified repeatedly that he would vote for Trump in the event Trump wins the 20224 GOP nomination, O’Dea took aim squarely at his own foot by announcing unbidden he had voted for 2020’s Proposition 115, a rejected abortion restriction measure that made a liar of O’Dea after claiming for months to “support Roe v. Wade.”
In September, O’Dea compounded his problems, first by admitting to the AP that he didn’t consider “all the nuances” when he voted for Prop 115. This was followed just a few days later by an appearance on FOX 31 where O’Dea dodged the question about Proposition 115 saying “I don’t write that bill.” Then after all of that digging, O’Dea capped it off with with a historically cringeworthy interview with 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark, where O’Dea announced his quest to be the U.S. Senator who “brings balance to women’s rights.”
In the ten days since O’Dea’s self-immolation on 9NEWS, we’ve been watching for signs that O’Dea might be retooling his message to better withstand scrutiny–like substituting the word “bureaucrat” for “agent” when spreading misinformation about the IRS funding in the Inflation Reduction Act. But on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday morning, O’Dea disabused us of the silly idea that he was learning valuable lessons from his stumbles in local media interviews.
CHUCK TODD: I’m curious, you voted for a ballot initiative that didn’t have [exceptions for rape, incest, or medical necessity]. As Dobbs been overturned, have you found yourself thinking about this issue a little bit differently?
JOE O’DEA: Well, look, it’s the center of attention in a lot of cases. And I’m exactly where I was when I started this campaign, haven’t changed. I didn’t write that bill. [Pols emphasis] But I believe that, you know, it should be a woman’s right in the first five months.
The great balancer of women’s rights has decided! Five months, ladies!
If you read closely, what Joe O’Dea is saying is that since his vote for Proposition 115 occurred before he launched his campaign for U.S. Senate, he has been “consistent”–since he started his campaign. That is Cory Gardner-level prevarication, but as usual O’Dea lacks the polished delivery that helped Gardner get away with such audacious deception. And just like it was to the local press, saying “I didn’t write that bill” is an intelligence-insulting defense of O’Dea’s vote for Proposition 115. O’Dea would show more character simply admitting he didn’t “look at the nuances” like he managed to one time–but that would only demonstrate that O’Dea’s credibility to bring “balance to women’s rights” is nonexistent.
Next up, O’Dea was asked about the recent political stunt by Republican governors to transport undocumented immigrants from the southern border to liberal northern cities, most recently last week when 50 immigrants were flown by Florida from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts:
CHUCK TODD: One of the candidates you promoted is Ron DeSantis. Are you comfortable with the idea of using migrants as a political tool?
JOE O’DEA: Well, look, I think Ron DeSantis and Governor Abbott were right to bring some visibility to this issue… [Pols emphasis]
There’s growing evidence that after making political hay throughout the summer by busing undocumented immigrants to northern cities in political protest, this latest stunt of flying dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is backfiring politically on Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis. Dumping immigrants, sometimes reportedly under false pretenses of jobs and shelter waiting for them at journey’s end, is not a serious policy response to a serious issue–it’s just the cheapest of political grandstands, with no positive effect on either side of the debate. It’s not something any responsible politician should support.
O’Dea has expressed support for Gov. DeSantis already, but this is the first time we’ve seen O’Dea explicitly come out in favor of this highly controversial policy–and depending on how the story unfolds over the next few weeks, it could be a mistake O’Dea dearly regrets. The rest of this interview is notable mostly for how little O’Dea has improved his message after ample time to purge ridiculous statements like “I didn’t vote for that bill” from his script. That in turn only further highlights O’Dea’s silly semantic dishonesty about being consistent only since he started his campaign.
Joe O’Dea wasn’t ready for Denver market prime time, so we don’t know how he expected to do better on Meet The Press with the same message. For national Republicans deciding whether to throw more than lip service O’Dea’s way in 2022’s closing weeks, this was a performance that will close their wallets–in a place they are very likely to see it.