OUR VIEW: No candidate has been more poorly vetted since Dan Maes.
Police records obtained by Colorado Peak Politics reveal a long and troubling criminal record for 3rd Congressional district candidate and state Representative Sal Pace (D-Pueblo). His criminal rap sheet reveals two arrests for public urination, one for felony burglary and larceny, as well as a bench warrant for failure to appear on his second public urination charge.
- March 12, 2004 Pace was pulled over and charged with driving without a valid license, driving under restraint, driving without proof of insurance, expired license plates and suspended license plates. He pled guilty and was fined for the suspended license plate violation.
- August 15, 2003 Pace was arrested for public urination, his second charge for public urination. He pled guilty.
- August 29, 2003 A warrant was ordered for Pace’s arrest for failure to appear in court on the public urination charge.
- April 20, 1996 Pace was arrested for obscene conduct, which Pace has confirmed was for public urination.
- October 5, 1995 Pace was arrested and jailed for felony burglary in the 3rd degree and larceny, which Pace has said was for attempting to steal from his dorm’s vending machine.
These revelations, barely three months after Pace announced his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional district make Pace the worst vetted candidate since Dan Maes.
It’s one thing to have a criminal rap sheet as a state legislative candidate in a safe district where no one pays much attention to the race.
It’s entirely different to run for Congress in a competitive district with a long and illustrious criminal background that invites comparisons to disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Most conspicuous on Pace’s rap sheet is the news that he’s been arrested for public urination not once, but twice. While a Denver Post story last year noted Pace’s first charge for relieving himself in public, the Peak is the first to report news of a second public urination arrest, which occurred in the summer of 2003.
Pace attempted to explain away his first public pee-pee problem, and his contemporaneous burglary arrest, as brain dead moments as a college student.
Per The Denver Post:
“Both incidents occurred while I was a freshman at Fort Lewis College.”
And he told the Pueblo Chieftain:
“When my two boys are older I will use this experience to show them how mistakes can live with you your entire life,” he said.
But when Pace was nabbed a second time for dropping trow in public he was no longer a college student, but climbing the Democrats’ partisan political ladder.
In 2002, he was a regional director for the Colorado Democratic Party.
In 2003, he was working with environmental groups to help defeat Referendum A, a ballot initiative that would have allowed the Colorado Water Conservation Board to borrow up to $2 billion for public and private water projects by issuing bonds.
A few months after being nailed a second time, Pace worked for then-state Representative John Salazar as a political aide at the Capitol. Pace would go on to be a top level operative in Salazar’s campaign for the 3rd Congressional district in 2004, and ran his re-election campaign against now-Congressman Scott Tipton in 2006.
Pace’s second arrest for public urination can’t be written off as the misdeeds of a stupid college kid; Pace got nailed with his pants down while he was three rungs up the Democrat political ladder (excuse the mixed metaphors).
The incident didn’t occur on a college campus, but rather right next to the state Capitol on one of the most policed streets in the state.
Pace’s frankly embarrassing record of using sidewalks as urinals is only the start of the House Minority Leader’s long and checkered criminal rap sheet.
His driving record in Denver from 2004 includes charges for driving under restraint, a charge that was later pleaded down to a conviction of driving with suspended license plates. Driving under restraint is driving while knowing you had no legal right to, such as driving with a suspended license. The charge carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of five days in jail.
While he wasn’t jailed for that offense, Pace did end up in the slammer for felony burglary in the 3rd degree and larceny charges on October 5, 1995. Pace has told The Denver Post the incident was in regards to stealing from his dorm’s vending machine.
At the time, Pace told the school newspaper of his alma mater Fort Lewis College, “The Independent,” that he was “under the influence of alcohol” during this incident. Fort Lewis College placed Pace on probation.
The next year, on April 20, 1996 Pace was arrested for obscene conduct. He was also “under the influence of alcohol” during this incident, according to Pace’s comments to The Independent.
Under college rules, the criminal charges spurred a mandatory disciplinary hearing. Pace was sentenced to 20 hours of community service, probation and was told he must attend alcohol counseling.
At the time Pace was a student Senator, and after his criminal melee he was asked to resign his position in exchange for not being suspended from school.
Vice President of Student Affairs for Fort Lewis College Betty Perry told The Independent that Pace was the only student Senator in school history to go before the Disciplinary Hearing Committee.
Pace tried to fight the dismissal, claiming if he was forced to step down it would stifle student voices.
Fort Lewis College did not buy that specious and hollow argument, and he was forced to resign in November 1996.
All of this adds up to a troubling record for a Congressional candidate in a competitive district. Pace’s past has caused trouble for his political career once before, and these new revelations are likely to add major questions about his candidacy.