Walker Stapleton’s Moonlighting, Too!

Sandra Fish writes for Politics Daily:

Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, elected this fall, is the second Colorado elected official to continue consulting with a former employer…

“As state treasurer, they’re supposed to be investing for the state of Colorado. What if there are state funds that are invested in this company?” asked Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “There are different sets of laws for different officials and we’re still wading through all of that.”

Stapleton’s office issued a response saying his outside consulting with his previous firm — SonomaWest — isn’t a problem.

“There is no conflict of interest with respect to his duties as Colorado’s Treasurer,” wrote Deputy Treasurer Brett Johnson in an e-mail. “SonomaWest does not operate within the realm of public finance. While Treasurer Stapleton has discussed this matter with the AG’s office, he has not asked for a formal ruling on this matter because the relationship with SonomaWest does not represent any conflict of interest in any shape or form.”

We’ll start by agreeing that Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s circumstances are different than the much clearer-cut conflict of interest posed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s moonlighting for his election-specialty law firm. Stapleton’s California firm Sonoma West doesn’t appear to have any presence in Colorado, or any dealings in public finance at all as Brett Johnson says. Stapleton was explicit with reporter Tim Hoover that Sonoma West “does not currently have any business in the state of Colorado,” which actually throws Gessler under the bus a little.

But we can’t help but wonder, if there is really no conflict of interest, why Stapleton doesn’t just ask Suthers and put this to bed once and for all. Johnson’s arrogant response aside — “[Stapleton] has not asked for a formal ruling on this matter because the relationship with SonomaWest does not represent any conflict of interest in any shape or form” — we’re pretty sure that Stapleton isn’t an attorney.

But Gessler’s much splashier moonlighting controversy doesn’t make Stapleton’s arrangement look good, for sure, and where Gessler says his would only be a fractional supplement to his income, Stapleton will reportedly earn much more than his pay as Treasurer from Sonoma West. With that in mind, all the questions posed to Gessler about distraction from his elected responsibility, or even split loyalty in whatever circumstances might force a choice, would certainly apply to Stapleton as well–even if it might not provoke the same full-throated outrage Gessler has.

Heck, maybe it’s charming that nothing can come between a Bush family scion and his bling.

Walker Stapleton’s Hit-and-Run: As Bad as You Thought?

The campaign of Colorado Treasurer-elect Walker Stapleton released long-awaited documents yesterday related to his DUI arrest in 1999, an arrest that became a major point of contention in the closing days of his heated (and successful) campaign against incumbent Cary Kennedy. Reporter Tim Hoover of the Denver newspaper wrote today’s story based on the original police reports on the accident provided by Stapleton. In San Francisco, where the incident occurred, police reports are not considered public records; Stapleton, or another party to the incident, were the only ones who could legally request them.

And folks, there appears to be a very good reason why Stapleton “couldn’t” produce this report before the election–a serious lack of exonerating information. The police report describes a “loud and belligerent” Stapleton attempting to leave the scene of the accident, even after police followed him with their lights on. According to this report, the biggest reason Stapleton was unsuccessful in fleeing the scene was the damage his Jeep had suffered in the accident. The report says Stapleton then got out of his disabled vehicle strongly smelling of alcohol, and was “unsteady on his feet” in addition to loud and belligerent.

In short, it sounds about as bad as those “liberal smear merchants” always said it was.

The court records we originally released in this case last month do make reference to “injured pedestrians,” but the Colorado Independent’s reporting clarified that these were passengers in the taxi involved in the accident. Ginger Vasquez’s account of the collision, which generally comports with the facts in all of these records, was published by the Independent in detail before the election.

Stapleton claims in today’s story that there are yet more documents in the case he is trying to get his hands on, including documents that explain–presumably in a manner favorable to Stapleton–why the charge of leaving the scene of the accident was dropped. We’ll have to take his now-questionable word on that, though it’s been suggested to us that none of the facts as reported need to change for Stapleton to have simply accepted a plea bargain from an overburdened court system. Meaning that those exculpatory details waiting just over the horizon, like Stapleton told you these police reports contained before he won the election, may well not exist at all.

Unfortunately for the voters, it’s too late now for anything other than “buyer’s remorse.”

Colorado Election Results Open Thread

UPDATE (11:25): The big Denver paper and many of the other big TV stations have some major problems with their reporting. The Denver Post, for example, had Buck ahead of Bennet 48-46, on the strength of a 52-45 advantage in Boulder. A quick check of the Boulder Clerk and Recorder’s website has Bennet leading Buck 67-29. There are a lot of somebodies who should have caught this immediately — there’s no way Boulder County would go solid red for any Republican.

We recommend sticking with the results from Fox 31, which not only has a page that seems to actually load correctly, but isn’t making any obvious errors that we can see.

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UPDATE (11:16): It looks like we may be headed for at least one state legislative recount. In HD-29, Democratic Rep. Debbie Benefield trails Republican Robert Ramirez by 148 votes (50.34% to 49.66%).

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UPDATE (11:12): That didn’t last long. With 56% of ballots counted, Bennet and Buck are now tied at 47-47.

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UPDATE (11:00): Buck has pulled ahead of Bennet for the first time tonight, leading 49-46 with 49% of precincts reporting.

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UPDATE (9:50): It’s looking like the race that will have the biggest impact from an ACP candidate will not be the one anybody expected. The Secretary of State race is neck-and-neck, but the ACP candidate is already pulling 6% of the vote. Buescher may well win this seat by virtue of the American Constitution Party.

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UPDATE (9:44): The percentage of precincts reporting continues to rise, and Michael Bennet continues to hold a 50-45 lead over Ken Buck. This is not good news for Buck, because early returns should have favored him (Republicans voted in higher numbers than Democrats in early and absentee voting). Given Buck’s numerous gaffes in the last two weeks of the campaign, it’s not likely that late voters are going to choose him over Bennet, so it’s hard to see how Buck is going to make up 5 points with 27% of the vote already tallied.

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UPDATE (9:08): It’s always fun to see those really early returns that show absurd numbers. In HD-22, Democrat Christine Radeff is pummeling Republican incumbent Ken Summers 7,875 to 12. Yes, 12. For a few more minutes, anyway.

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UPDATE (9:05): Republican Cory Gardner is being declared the winner in CD-4.

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UPDATE (9:03): The Secretary of State race is coming down to the wire, and may be decided by the number of votes pulled in by the American Constitution Party candidate. Meanwhile, the race for Attorney General seems to be widening in favor of incumbent John Suthers.

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UPDATE (9:00): Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has been declared the winner in CD-7.

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UPDATE (8:38): The old adage that Jefferson County decides statewide elections is largely holding form. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, unofficially, are doing better in Jefferson County, as is John Suthers. Cary Kennedy and Walker Stapleton are neck-and-neck in Jeffco, while Scott Gessler leads Bernie Buescher in the large west Denver suburb.

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UPDATE (8:35): Ladies and gentlemen, your next Governor…John Hickenlooper! The race has been called for Hick. Now the excitement turns to whether or not Dan Maes can cross the 10% threshold. From a Hickenlooper press release:

Colorado voters on Tuesday elected John Hickenlooper, a brewpub pioneer turned Mayor of Denver, as the 42nd Governor of Colorado.

“I am humbled and honored by the decision Colorado’s voters have made, and I accept the challenge you have entrusted to me to lead our state as Governor,” Hickenlooper said. “This is not the end of our journey. This is the beginning. And it starts with bringing people together.”

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UPDATE (8:20): Here’s a couple of developing stories to watch. All of this can change, of course, but as of right now…

  • Bennet maintaining early lead on Buck

  • Hickenlooper holding early lead for Governor

  • Tipton well ahead of Salazar in CD-3

  • Kennedy surprisingly strong in Treasurer race

  • Buescher may be saved by ACP candidate for SOS

  • Third party turnout not yet playing role in CD-4

  • Attorney General race staying close

  • Every major ballot measure getting crushed

  • Both Rep. Diana DeGette (CD1) and Jared Polis (CD2) have been declared winners already
  • —–

    We’ll update results as we can. In the meantime, please keep them updated, with links, in the comments below.

    *NOTE: Candidates in bold and italics have been declared the winner by at least one local news outlet.

    U.S. SENATE

    Michael Bennet (D): 47%

    Ken Buck (R): 47%

    56% reporting

    GOVERNOR

    John Hickenlooper (D): 51%

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): 37%

    Dan Maes (R): 11%

    48% reporting

    STATE TREASURER

    Cary Kennedy (D): 51%

    Walker Stapleton (R): 49%

    44% reporting

    ATTORNEY GENERAL

    John Suthers (R): 57%

    Stan Garnett (D): 43%

    44% reporting

    SECRETARY OF STATE

    Bernie Buescher (D): 44%

    Scott Gessler (R): 50%

    Amanda Campbell (ACP): 6%

    44% reporting

    CD-3

    John Salazar (D): 45%

    Scott Tipton (R): 50%

    63% reporting

    CD-4

    Betsy Markey (D): 41%

    Cory Gardner (R): 53%

    Doug Aden (ACP): 5%

    Ken “Wasko” (I): 1%

    69% reporting

    CD-7

    Ed Perlmutter (D): 53%

    Ryan Frazier (R): 42%

    16% reporting

    Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer?

    Click below to vote.

    Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected State Treasurer?

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    Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer?

    You know the drill.

    We want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected State Treasurer?

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    Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer?

    You know the drill.

    We want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected State Treasurer?

    View Results

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    Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer?

    Vote after the jump. Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected State Treasurer?

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    Fundraising Updates for State Races

    The financial reporting period for state races running between July 29 through September 1 is now available online. Here’s how the statewide candidates stack up. Keep in mind that cash-on-hand amounts are deceiving at this point, since many candidates have already spent big chunks of money to buy advertising spots (with exceptions for Dan Maes and Scott Gessler, neither of whom has a good reason for having so little left in the bank).

    Figures below as Amount Raised Last Period/ Amount Spent Last Period/ Cash-on-Hand as of Sept. 1)

    GOVERNOR

    John Hickenlooper (D): $409,859/ $357,158/ $171,542

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): $199,229/ $58,376/ $140,853

    Dan Maes (R): $50,201/ $54,011/ $19,786

    TREASURER

    Cary Kennedy (D): $102,161/ $89,189/ $90,250

    Walker Stapleton (R): $27,385/ $15,880/ $22,712

    ATTORNEY GENERAL

    John Suthers (R): $64,958/ $15,671/ $346,775

    Stan Garnett (D): $43,690/ $120,342/ $23,259

    SECRETARY OF STATE

    Bernie Buescher (D): $36,158/ $8,708/ $139,661

    Scott Gessler (R): $13,745/ $38,071/ $14,725

    Who’s Backing Maes?

    We’ve gotten a couple of emails on this subject, so we thought we’d put a list together and see if the Pols community could help us fill it out. Which top-ticket Republican candidates (all statewide and congressional seats) have endorsed GOP Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes, and who has yet to offer their public support?

    REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ENDORSING MAES

  • U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck

  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (CD-5)

  • Rep. Mike Coffman (CD-6)
  • UNKNOWN POSITION OR NO ENDORSEMENT YET

  • Treasurer candidate Walker Stapleton

  • Attorney General John Suthers

  • Secretary of State candidate Scott Gessler

  • CD-4 candidate Cory Gardner

  • CD-7 candidate Ryan Frazier
  • Help us out, Polsters! Maes’ website doesn’t seem to have an updated list of endorsements, so if you’ve seen one of the candidates in the second list make an endorsement, let us know.

    GOP Primary for State Treasurer Heats Up

    Now that Republican banker J.J. Ament has joined the GOP field in the race for State Treasurer, we may finally have a primary in Colorado that gets interesting (the GOP Governor’s race has been pretty tame except for one or two shots).

    As The Colorado Statesman reports, sparks are starting to fly a little bit. Even if the sparks are confined to the kind of sniping that the uber-rich attempt:

    “I currently am blessed with a great paying job. My opponent doesn’t have a job and hasn’t in some time. I think it’s important that people do public service as a sacrifice. A very transparent way to distinguish myself is that I have a job in the private sector and I am sacrificing that for public service,” Stapleton said.

    Walker Roberts Stapleton, of course, is a direct blood relative to the Bush family. What kind of important hard-hat wearing work does he do that distinguishes him from Ament? Well, we’ll let his own website bio explain:

    Walker is an active real estate investor in Colorado and has made investments in land, retail and residential real estate throughout the state. He also is president and CEO of SonomaWest Holdings, a small publicly traded real estate company.



    Not exactly a coal miner, that Stapleton (being a real estate investor kind of requires you to already have money), but he has a job and Ament doesn’t! Nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

    We’re excited about this race. Two rich dudes exchanging nonsensical, petty attacks trying to pretend they aren’t as silver spoon-fed as the other guy.

    Good stuff.

    J.J. Walker Ament Stapleton

    Republican J.J. Ament is reportedly set to announce his run for State Treasurer today and has already filed his paperwork with the Secretary of State. We’re a little surprised by this, since Walker Roberts Stapleton is already in the race and just reported raising a ton of money in the second quarter period.

    We’re also a little confused about how Ament and Stapleton plan to differentiate themselves among the voters. Both are wealthy right-wing Republicans who kind of look alike and will each raise a lot of money (Stapleton is the one on the left).

    Stapleton is sort of the new guard of the GOP but is heavily backed by the Independence Institute and is as right-wing as they come. While Ament is also solidly right-wing, he comes from a more old-school GOP family. Think of Stapleton as the Marc Holtzman to Ament’s Bob Beauprez, and you’ll get some idea of the inter-party dynamic playing out here.

    If Muhammad Ali Hasan does not enter the race as well, and it’s probably unlikely at this point, this is a tough race to call. Neither Stapleton nor Ament are particularly interesting candidates, although we might give a slight edge to Stapleton because Ament is a banker (and these are not good times to be called a “banker”).

    Who Will WIn The Primary for Treasurer?

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