Cash Is King

By Peak News Contributor Dave Diepenbrock

When Barack Obama makes a U-turn, he's a superb stunt driver. Obama just embraced Super PAC spending to help his re-elect. He'll make available “senior White House advisers and campaign staff" to beg fat cats for bucks. That's change from, “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests. They should be decided by the American people.” Bring on the bankrolls, boys! Forget (euphemistically) the people.  

But Obama's fat cat connection already existed. Consider Super Bowl ads, where major Democratic donors took care of spreading Obama's message (reviewing this Super Bowl ad rundown).

  • The ballyhooed Chrysler “It's Halftime America” echoed Obama's statement that he's only halfway through 'fixing' the economy. The auto workers' pension plan owns nearly half of Chrysler – and auto workers have huge political cash, 95%+ going to Democrats, $27.5 million to federal politics plus $28.1 million to state level politics (h/t opensecrets.org and followthemoney.org).
  • GE, a huge beneficiary of Obama stimulus cash, had its “manufacturing is back” ads to boost that Obama meme – and GE gave $13.8 million to Democrats. GM's Chevy had a duo, “Looks Like We Made It” (don't Obama hope!) and “Stunt” featuring the singer Monae doing “We Are Young.” It's purely a coincidence that:
    • Monae appeared at an Obama fundraiser,
    • Chevy's agency picked the music “before pairing it with the ad's footage,”
    • agency partner Democrat donor Goodby touted Obama on HuffPo, and that (courtesy Obamachinations)
    • General Motors Company “operates as a subsidiary of United States Department of The Treasury.”  

Such iconic American businesses shouldn't smell of cronyism.

It don't stop in DC, folks.  

Federal campaign giving aside, Colorado-connected unions have given over $16 million for Colorado politics. It is a truism that union bucks go primarily to Democrats. Less appreciated is that typical Democratic state legislators depend very heavily on union cash. As a single example, Rep. Peniston's campaign got 54% of her donations from unions (excluding some self-funding cash).  


Especially for public sector unions the nexus is taxes. Higher taxes may produce higher salaries. So, again with Peniston as an example, where was she on this issue? In February 2010, Peniston backed nine separate tax hikes that were considered just one day. And then voted to stop seniors' property tax relief on May 12.  

Let's compare state employee and private sector annual wages Colorado, starting with 2007 (before the Great Recession) and ending in 2010, when voters put Republicans in control of the State House (to stop the Democrats' tax hikathon).[BLS, QCEW data]

  • Private sector employees got raises across those years of 4.99% or $2,279;
  • State government employees got raises (same years) of 9.6% or $4,484.

(Peak Note: See a more truthful version of the Chrystler ad below, courtesy of the Reason Foundation)

 

CALDARA BLASTS GLITTER BOMBER: If He Was Attacking Gay Rights Politician He’d Be Behind Bars

Independence Institute President Jon Caldara today blasted the glitter bomber who tried to attack Mitt Romney at a campaign event in Denver on Tuesday, saying that if the tables had been turned and the protester was attacking a gay rights politician "it would be called a hate-crime, not a playful, harmful stunt."

In an email to the Peak, Caldara gave kudos to the Senate Dems for firing "glitter bomber" Peter Smith, but said that Smith should be prosecuted. 

Some Democrats have tried to play the attack off as a harmless prank, even suggesting he should be patted on the back, ignoring the seriousness of the fact that Secret Service had no idea what was being thrown at their protectee.  

"I use the reversal test on things like this," said Caldara.

"If an anti-gay protester did the same type of assault to an active gay-rights politician, say Jared Polis or Barney Frank, it would be called a hate-crime, not a playful, harmless stunt.

Denunciations would be rightfully falling down from all directions, and charges would be filed. If they weren’t filed, heads would roll."

Well said, Jon Caldara. We agree. 

(Caldara Photo Credit: Independence Institute)

 

CHICKENLOOPER COUNTER: How Long Will Governor Hickenlooper Hide From Endorsing Obama?

In an effort to draw attention to a meme that we feel has been entirely missed by the press in Colorado, we have added a new tool to our site. On the upper right side of the page, you can now find our handy dandy "Chickenlooper Counter" that counts the days, hours, minutes and seconds since President Obama filed for re-election and Governor Hickenlooper has hid from endorsing his campaign.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Obama filed for re-election on April 4, 2011 at 11:51 am. In the 312 days since, Governor Hickenlooper has steadfastly refused to endorse Obama's campaign. 

He told the Colorado Springs Gazette in November that he is "likely" to endorse Obama, but refused to do so when given the opportunity. He also told the Gazette he has no plans to stump for Obama's campaign, claiming his public speaking skills aren't up to the job.

While we don't doubt that an endorsement will come eventually, Hick has his eyes on 2016 after all, it's incredibly interesting to us that he hasn't already.

Obama has already made three campaign stops in Colorado, giving ample time and opportunity to Guv Hick to bestow his blessing on the President's re-elect, yet he hasn't. 

Maybe that's because as Hick told Politico last July, he thinks Obama will "have a hard time" winning Colorado. 

As readers of this site know, Hickenlooper doesn't exactly have a reputation for sticking his neck out on issues that don't enjoy broad public support. 

There's a reason he's earned the nom de guerre "Chickenlooper."

Hick may have avoided taking sides last year during the Prop 103 tax increase debate, but it will be considerably harder to steer clear of the 2012 Presidential campaign, especially as Colorado is likely to be one of the few states that decide the whole race.

Even a smooth operator like Hick can't hide from that.

The question is just how long his hiding will continue. 


 

BUY THAT KID A BEER? Some Dems Praise Glitter Bomber, Others Disagree

OUR VIEW: A decision not to prosecute would be an open invitation for a right wing college kid to pie face Barry Obama the next time he rolls through town. Do we really want to go down this road?

———

The Colorado Senate Democrat aide who assaulted Mitt Romney at his campaign event on Tuesday needs to be prosecuted, says a growing chorus of liberal voices in Colorado. But not all liberals agree. Some herald him as a "hero."

As a Secret Service protectee, throwing an unidentified substance at Mitt Romney is a serious offense that needs not to be taken lightly, says one camp.

The night that the Democrat aide, Peter Smith, was arrested for attempting to throw glitter at Mitt Romney the Colorado Democrat Party Communications Director Matt Inzeo, said: "Anyone throwing something at or on a Secret Service protectee deserves the book thrown at them."

At the time Inzeo did not know that Smith was an aide to Senate Democrats.

Since Smith's political affiliation has been revealed there has been a raging debate going on in liberal circles over how to view Smith's actions.

Some, like Nancy Cronk, the founder of Progressive Outreach Colorado, think that Smith's actions were justified and will be cheered by liberals across the country. 

"But millions of people all over this country want to buy the kid a beer or a latte. I hope someone hires him soon — if nothing else, for his chutzpah," said Cronk.

Liberal activist David Thielen, disagreed, saying: "First off I agree that something like this has to be treated at the moment as a potentially life threatening attack. And even if you know what it is, it is still a physical attack."

"But it also degrades the political environment. Everyone calling that idiot a "hero" would be incredibly indignant if something like that was done to Obama. Throwing things at each other is taking politics down to the pre-school level."

The Senate Democrat press office, where Smith worked, did not respond to our request seeking comment. 

Now that the Democrats have fired the aide, the question being asked at the Capitol is what happens next. How do we stop this behavior from occurring again?

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is notoriously tough on crime. Will he live up to that reputation in this case?

A decision not to prosecute would be an open invitation for a right wing college kid to pie face Barry Obama the next time he rolls through town. Do we really want to go down this road?

(Photo Credit: Associated Press/Chris Carlson)


 

The Meaning of the Caucuses

Published on February 10, 2012 by

By Kelly Sloan

It is easy to write caucuses off as irrelevant in the Presidential nomination process – and in a strictly practical sense they are, as no actual delegates to a national convention are actually secured. But caucuses and other non-binding referenda do nonetheless have a role to play, even beyond their much-acclaimed assignment as popular political barometer.

Rick Santorum dominated the stage Tuesday night, gathering victories in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, three states which hold caucuses; or in the case of Minnesota (a state known as much for its quirkiness as its excellent freshwater fishing opportunities and phenomenal snowdrifts), a non-binding primary.

There are a couple of reasons for Santorum’s strong finish; first, many rank and file Republicans are itching for a solid conservative to throw against Obama, in the mold of a Reagan or a Goldwater; Santorum seems to have successfully defined himself as that more conservative option to Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich had, of course, tried to claim that mantle, but his unfiltered habit of communicating every thought that enters his (admittedly exceptional) mind, has most likely cost him that opportunity.
The main reason for Santorum’s victories stems from that; Republican voters in non-binding contests, such as caucuses, tend to choose the most conservative candidate on the menu. The nature of such contests afford voters the luxury of prioritizing principles and convictions over more strategic qualities which tend to fall under the umbrella category of “electability”.

Of course, conviction and electability are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and historically actually complement one another; nevertheless, voters, whose fear of a second Obama term may have otherwise trumped their concerns over Romney’s fealty to conservative principles, tend to feel more liberated to put their hand up for a candidate on strictly ideological grounds when they know in the back of their minds that their decision carves nothing in stone.

So what, then, might last Tuesdays events, commonly derided as “beauty contests”, actually accomplish, beyond consigning newly selected delegates to state and county conventions to a merciless deluge of haranguing by various candidates and candidate committees?

Non-binding or not, the caucuses serve as a campaign’s evaluation tool; a way for a candidate to officially ask “how am I doing?”

The answer, in Mitt Romney’s case, is “you could be doing better”.

Tuesday’s results show that many Republicans are not yet fully convinced of Romney’s conservative bona fides.  And given his overly-cautious approach to the issues, it is difficult at times to blame them.

The lesson Romney ought to absorb from this is that an enthusiastic projection of core conservative principles is required to earn the nomination.  The results should force Romney to adopt a much bolder platform, one that offers comprehensive and systemic entitlement reform, specific program and departmental cuts, aggressive tax overhaul, and a clear program for dismantling the administrative state that has developed over the past 50 years, and restoring the systems of checks and balances and federalism upon which this country was designed.

Romney also needs to assure Republicans that he really is a conservative on other fronts as well. His silence on one of the most potent issues of the day – the HHS mandate forcing individuals and organizations (most notably Catholics) to offer and purchase health care plans that violate their most closely held moral and religious codes – is not helping in this regard. This is a defining issue, which can unite conservatives, and others, in principled opposition; while the specifics of this case are socially moral questions – revolving around services such as abortion and contraception – the overarching offense transcends one’s personal views on those matters by attacking a fundamental pillar of the American system – the freedom of religion, and the right of an individual not to be forced to do something which violates his or her faith. It is an issue which a conservative ought to be chomping at the bit to engage.

Similarly, the 9th Circuit Court’s recent usurpation of the voters of California affords Romney the opportunity to address the topic of judicial activism – a critical subject since one of the most enduring and consequential responsibilities of the post he is applying for involves nominating supreme Court Justices.

In short, the primary system, including the caucuses, is performing as it should, shaping and honing the candidacies of those who would aspire to be entrusted with the chief executive position in the entity that remains civilizations greatest political and economic achievement. Should Romney choose to learn from the results – and I believe he is capable – the nomination can still be his. If not, Santorum has emerged as a worthy alternate.

 

DANGEROUS ASSOCIATIONS: Gingrich Colorado Campaign Operative Tied To Jack Abramoff

Newt Gingrich has a Jack Abramoff problem. Or to be more precise, the former House Speaker and Presidential candidate has an Italia Federici problem.  

We reported last week that Federici was helping organize Colorado for Gingrich, yet no mainstream press picked up on our report. We received only a single email from someone digging further into the story.

So we'll go ahead and break the story wide open.  

Federici, who worked on Gale Norton's 1996 US Senate campaign in Colorado, pled guilty in 2007 to tax evasion and obstruction of a Senate investigation into the Abramoff lobbying scandal. She was sentenced to two months in a halfway house, four years of probation and ordered to pay more than $74,000 in restitution.  

She was sentenced on December 14, 2007, meaning her four-year probation ended only weeks before the 2012 Iowa caucus.  

Since our original report we've had a second source confirm Federici's involvement with the Gingrich campaign.

We reported on Federici’s involvement with the Gingrich campaign in a post about the former House Speaker’s campaign operation in Colorado, which was ramping up in anticipation of Tuesday’s Republican precinct caucuses.

Even with Federici's assistance, Gingrich fared poorly in Colorado, coming in third with 12.79% of the vote. 

Ms. Federici has had a relationship with Speaker Gingrich going back many years. A March 1, 2000 story from The Hill newspaper noted that Gingrich was the keynote speaker at the inaugural fundraiser for the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), the group co-founded by Federici and later tied to the Abramoff investigation.  

Federici co-founded CREA with former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in 1997, here in Colorado. The group then incorporated in Washington, DC in 2000, operating primarily on donations.  

Court documents reveal that Federici introduced Jack Abramoff to Steven Griles, who she was dating at the time, one week before Griles was nominated to be the deputy secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI). Soon after that introductory meeting, Abramoff and his clients became contributors of CREA, donating approximately $500,000 between March 2001 and May 2003.  

Many of Abramoff’s clients were subject to DOI oversight, including Native American tribes either operating, or interested in operating, gaming operations on designated Federal land.  

Federici served as a conduit between Abramoff and Griles, including communicating with Griles and Abramoff about how to stop Indian tribe casinos from opening in areas that would compete with other Indian tribe clients of Abramoff.  

Griles was sentenced to ten months in prison and fined $30,000 in 2007.  

Federici pled guilty on tax evasion and obstructing a Senate investigation into the matter. She admitted that she made “materially false and misleading statements” to the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that likely limited the Committee’s ability to understand the full scope of Abramoff’s contact with Griles.  

In her testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2005 Federici received a now infamous grilling from Senators John McCain and Byron Dorgan.

McCain’s statement at the beginning of the hearing read: “In fact, documents obtained in the course of the investigation suggest that Mr. Abramoff might have had his tribal clients pay so much because he perceived that CREA’s president, Italia Federici, would help him get inside information about, and possibly influence, tribal issues pending at the Department of the Interior.”

You can see highlights from her testimony after the jump.


 

Colorado Glitterbomber

Published on February 10, 2012 by

I find this article about the Mitt Romney glitterbombing in your state interesting. I've covered the glitterati here in Minnesota for conservativedailynews.com and even asked the question of the Minneapolis PD why they've never pressed any charges. No response. Hmmm. So I guess the answer is, only the Secret Service can make arrests and charge people or is it that Colorado takes a dim view of glitter? I like this site. I'm going to add you to my bookmarks. Thanks. 

 

Jeremy Griffith

coyote61a@gmail.com 


 

BREAKING: Sources Say Man Arrested By Secret Service At Romney Event Worked For Colorado Dems

On Tuesday night, a student at University of Colorado Denver was arrested by Secret Service for trying to throw glitter at Mitt Romney. Now sources are telling Colorado Peak Politics that the "glitter bomber" worked for the Colorado state Senate Democrats. This session.

The student in question, Peter Smith, faces up to 6 months in prison for "creating a disturbance, throwing a missile and an unlawful act on school property," according to Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

Our sources are saying he was fired by the Senate Democrats either yesterday or today.

Glitter bombing has become a tool of liberal gay rights activists who somehow in their deluded minds think that throwing glitter at politicians will change their views on gay marriage. 

Just as Occupy Denver thought defecating on public property would reduce income inequality, liberal activists seem to think drawing unflattering attention to themselves will do something other than just embarrass themselves. 

What is already a stupid and counterproductive act — throwing glitter, really? — becomes much more serious when it is used with a Secret Service protectee. As Roger Simon of Politico has said, the Secret Service has no way of knowing if the substance is glitter or anthrax. 

In a video captured by The Denver Post, you can see Mitt Romney moving swiftly out of the way, avoiding the glitter, while the "glitter bomber/Senate Democrat aide" is forcibly ejected from the room by Secret Service.

Senate President Brandon Shaffer — call your office. You have a public apology to make for your staff.

When was he hired? When was he fired? Did Smith ever mention at work that he intended on attacking Romney at his event? The Senate Democrats have some serious questions to answer and the press needs to ask them.

Peter Smith has said he doesn’t regret his act.

Brandon Shaffer, do you regret hiring him?

(Photo Credit: JeremyJojola.com)

UPDATE: Peter Smith tells The Denver Post that he “decided to do it at the last minute.” So he just happens to be chilling at a Romney event with a glitter bomb and said, ah, what the hell?

——-

UPDATE 2: A reader emails to ask if it’s policy that Senate Democrat aides must carry glitter at all times.

——-

UPDATE 3: Shades of Ariel Attack? In 2009, a liberal activist who went by the nickname “Ariel Attack” smashed the windows at the Colorado Democrat Party HQ in an effort to discredit conservatives.  

——-

UPDATE 4: The Associated Press confirms he was fired today.

 

JARED POLIS: Fulfilling His Reputation For Immaturity

On election night in Colorado, Boulder Congressman Jared Polis degraded his office and embarrassed himself and his constituents in Colorado's 2nd Congressional district. The Loveland Reporter Herald reported that Congressman Polis took a "profane stab at Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum via Twitter."

From the Reporter-Herald:

In a tweet sent to his more than 14,000 followers from his @jaredpolis account, the Boulder Democrat wrote as results were still coming in for the Colorado Republican caucuses: "CO results so far: S*#!ntorum in 1st, Gingrich in 2nd, Romney in 3rd."

Santorum went on to win the Colorado caucuses, beating the favored Mitt Romney 40 percent to 35 percent.  

Asked whether the self-censored tweet was intended to denigrate Santorum's last name, Polis spokesman Chris Fitzgerald said, "You'd have to ask (Polis)."

Unsurprisingly, the press has yet to ask Jared Polis about his tweet.

Now, we know Polis's liberal lackeys will be quick to point out we at the Peak are no strangers to immaturity.

That is undeniably true.

The difference: we're an anonymous blog and Polis is a Congressman.

He represents 1/7th of Colorado's citizens in the country's Capitol. We can and should hold him to a higher standard of public discourse.

If Congressman Mike Coffman or Congressman Doug Lamborn had tweeted something like this about President Obama, you can be sure it would be news.

Can anyone remember the manufactured outrage spun up by the liberal machine and aided by their allies in the press when Doug Lamborn used the term "tar baby" when talking about avoiding President Obama?

Hello, press corps, are you out there? A Colorado Congressman publicly insulted the winner of the Colorado GOP caucuses. There might be some news value in that.

To be fair, Santorum has had his fair share of stupid statements and he has rightfully been raked over the coals for them.

So, why, when Congressman Polis makes a stupid statement, isn't he raked over the coals?

It's a question worth asking, and one that Doug Lamborn probably is asking too.


 

DOUBLE STANDARD: Where Conservative Drunk Driving Merits More Coverage Than Liberal Homicide

As the Rep. Laura Bradford (R-Collbran) scandal has consumed the Capitol press corps for the last few weeks, it's worth noting the tone and tenor of the coverage, and how it's been fundamentally different from coverage of political scandal on the other side of the aisle.

Representative Bradford may or may not have been driving drunk. It seems like a case of bad judgment on her part to us, for sure. But she didn't hurt anyone and asked to be treated like anyone else. An ethics investigation was called by Speaker McNulty within days and the issue will receive a fair hearing into what occurred. Seems like everything has followed a proper protocol and is being handled appropriately.

Compare that to coverage of Senator Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora) and her killing of a pregnant woman in a car crash in Texas last year. The Texas State Troopers recommended that she be charged with "criminally negligent homicide, tampering with physical evidence and injury to a child."

And the press corps barely batted an eye. 

Even when haunting 911 tapes were uncovered by Complete Colorado, where you could hear the children of the now-deceased driver calling out for their mother, the press corps virtually ignored the story. 

The only "punishment" Senator Williams saw was not becoming chair of the Transportation Committee, because that would be, you know, too close for comfort.

There was no drip, drip of Capitol intrigue over whether an ethics investigation would be called for lying to the police and tampering with crime scene evidence. No, nothing to see here. Move along. 

Compare that to the Bradford scandal, which has seen nearly hourly updates from a press corps hungry for scandal, yet was oddly sated last year when a lawmaker was almost charged with homicide.

Or take a bubbling national story that was percolating right as the Bradford story came to light.

Boulder Congressman Jared Polis was accused by an investigative reporter of insider trading. While The Denver Post posted some back-and-forth between the reporter and the Congressman, no major media outlet in Colorado assigned their own reporters to dig into the very serious allegations. 

The readers of the Post were quite intrigued. The Op-Eds by investigative reporter Peter Schweizer and Congressman Polis caused an avalanche of letters to the editor. 

But news editors at TV stations and newspapers apparently were less interested in the story than their readers.

How in the world serious allegations of insider trading don't merit further investigation and reporting by the mainstream media just baffles our mind.

What Jared Polis is accused of doing would be blatantly illegal in the real world outside of Congress. It is sad that the news media has abdicated their responsibility to investigate alleged corruption among a powerful and wealthy Congressman who bought his seat for a cool $6 million.

To make the situation even more newsworthy, the activity by Polis and other Members of Congress prompted a change in federal law that Polis signed onto only two days after 60 Minutes aired the allegations against him. 

That to us is…news. 

Just in case the press blinked and missed the story, the President called out insider trading in Congress in his State of the Union.

With only limited activity covering Polis and largely ignoring the outrageous Suzanne Williams scandal, the press has still saw fit to cover every inch of intrigue and innuendo surrounding Bradford. 

Shame on them for such a blatantly obvious double standard.


 
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