FIRST TARGET, NEXT COLORADO? How Secure Is Our Data with the State?

Yesterday, Republican Rep. Libby Szabo sent a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper demanding that he assure Coloradans that their data is safe on an incomplete new state government computer system, which launched on July 1.

Szabo also asked for an audit of the new system, dubbed the Colorado Operations and Resource Engine (CORE) project.  In a press release, Szabo called Hick’s actions careless:

“Governor Hickenlooper had access to CORE progress reports and was warned by Secretary of State Gessler that CORE was behind schedule and its premature implementation could compromise taxpayers’ personal information – yet he carelessly chose to implement it.  Since he decided to go forward with the July 1st rollout that could put confidential data at risk, I am asking Governor Hickenlooper to assure state employees, government vendors and Colorado citizens that their confidential and sensitive information will be secure.”

But, Szabo is not the only one calling for accountability with the new computer system. Fox31 also reviewed system and found it lacking:

“However, internal documents obtained by FOX31 Denver show the system isn’t even close to ready and won’t work as planned.”

Internal records from the Governor’s OIT division show CORE’s status as of May’s report was coded “red.” Red is the worst rating possible, defined as “behind schedule, with no approved recovery plan(s).”

The status report shows CORE was only 65 percent completed.

In May, Secretary of State Scott Gessler also took issue with the new system and sent a letter expressing his concern about its implementation, noting “this current path to failure is a train wreck about to happen.”

Further in the report from Fox31, developers agreed with Gessler:

“We spoke with a number of IT managers, private contractors and government employees familiar with the CORE project. As a group, they agreed with Gessler, saying it would be best to delay the launch.”

Data security is no joke.  Last winter, Target’s data systems were breached.  While the company has not yet finished tallying the cost, in the fourth quarter the breach cost the company at least $17 million – $61 million in total expenses, which were offset by a $44 million insurance payment.  Perhaps more importantly, the breach compromised the credit card data of millions of shoppers.  That’s just credit cards – an inconvenience for sure – but what happens if identity thieves are able to snag social security numbers (see: state tax returns)?

Well, Governor, we’re waiting for a response from you.  Is our data secure or not?  Does our state have a data security insurance policy like Target?  Who pays if our data is compromised?

 

PeakFeed: “Obamacare 3″ Ad Annihilates Vulnerable JeffCo Senators

In case anyone was wondering, the colossal cluster also known as  Obamacare is going to be a major issue this November — and not just for liberal Sen. Mark Udall.  Americans for Prosperity has released a new spot hammering three liberal state legislators who allowed Colorado’s Obamacare to spiral out of control – Sens. Jeanne Nicholson, Andy Kerr, and Cheri Jahn.

The ad raises the question, will Obamacare cost liberals seats in the state legislature, too?  We soon will see, courtesy of the Obamacare 3.

 

TRUE BELIEVER: Capitol’s Most Prominent Lobbyist Quits Over Home Builders’ Support for Hick, Special Session

Hey-o!  Prominent Capitol lobbyist and former legislator Steve Durham has given the Colorado Association of Home Builders and Gov. John Hickenlooper the proverbial finger in a very public and very brazen way.  Durham, who until today lobbied for CAHB, has resigned the position he held for the last 15 years over his principled opposition to the group’s support of Hick’s misguided effort to push for a special session. 

In Durham’s letter of resignation, which was circulated among all state legislators, he (rightly) accuses Hick of bending over backwards to appease Congressman Jared Polis, whom Durham calls a ‘terrorist.’ He annihilates the credibility of The Denver Post for protecting Polis and chastises the most prominent members of CAHB for acting out of political convenience and trying only to “preserve their ‘relationship’ with the Governor.”

Durham’s words carry huge weight, as he is one of the most (if not the most) influential lobbyists at the capitol.  Not only is he brilliant when it comes to crafting public policy, but he understands how the process works better than anyone else down there.  Durham is routinely put on retainer by some of the most powerful interests under the gold dome simply because they do not want him to work for their opposition.

Also interesting and noteworthy is the fact that Durham’s partner, Jeani Frickey, has resigned her position as one of CAHB’s lobbyists too.  Frickey is a well-known and well-respected Democrat, so her departure raises even more questions.

This news will certainly create ripples for weeks to come and could have a long-term impact on the CAHB’s ability to effectively lobby for years to come.   

For your reading pleasure, here is the full text of Durham’s resignation:

On Thursday, July 3, 2014 the Legislative Committee of the Colorado Association of Home Builders voted to support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s request for a special session and his most recent proposed draft of legislation.  Rather than ask you or any responsible member of the Colorado General Assembly to vote for this legislation I have chosen, after over 15 years as the lobbyist for the CAHB, to resign my position.  It is important to note that each and every member of the Legislative Committee who spoke about this legislation believe that it was bad for Colorado and so stated.  The following are my reasons for resigning:

1.   Congressman Jared Polis has created this crisis for the Colorado economy and the CAHB wishes to resolve him of all responsibility for what he has created.  Not a single member of the Legislative Committee criticized Congressman Polis.

2.   Governor Hickenlooper has chosen to appease terrorist Polis rather than stating in no uncertain terms that what he is proposing is devastating for Colorado’s economy and should be defeated.

3.   It became clear that any tactic necessary to “persuade” responsible legislators to support the Hickenlooper legislation would be used.  I will not participate in any effort that demonizes responsible legislators and protects the irresponsible Jared Polis and Governor Hickenlooper.

4.   The editorial in Saturday’s Denver Post asking Bob Beauprez to support the Governor’s irresponsible actions is a harbinger of things to come.  The responsible legislators who oppose bad policy will be demonized by the media and their supporters and the terrorists will be allowed to proceed without consequences.

5.   It became clear that the strongest motivation for the CAHB to support this legislation was an attempt by several prominent members to preserve their “relationship” with the Governor.  The motive is not good public policy.

I hope that you will do everything possible to continue to resist this irresponsible legislation and hold accountable those who jeopardizing Colorado’s economy.

My partner, Jeani Frickey has also resigned her position as CAHB lobbyist.  Her reasons are her own and you should inquire of her should you desire additional details.  If you have any questions please contact me at [phone number redacted]

cc:  Legislators

 

CHARITY: The Peak Passes Hat Around To Pay For Udall Flight

So many options!

UPDATE: A loyal reader pointed us in the direction of this post from a Cheesman Park neighborhood association that confirmed President Obama would speak at 10:15 a.m.  So, there you have it PeakNation™, all of the available options below would get Sen. Udall back to Colorado in time to hear his BFF speak.  So, can we all acknowledge that Udall just doesn’t want to appear with Obama?

We’re not complete monsters over here at the Peak, so when we heard the breaking news that Sen. Mark Udall would not be able to see his best buddy President Obama speak in Denver our shrunken hearts grew three times larger.  We passed a hat around the office and we’re pleased to say we’ve raised enough money to get Udall a one-way ticket from the Washington, D.C. area that will put him back in Denver in time to see Obama speak.

Now, of course, we haven’t completely changed, we still think a one-size fits all mentality is a barbarous way to live, so let’s lay out all the options Udall has for getting back before Obama starts speaking:

  • Starting at 6:00 p.m., Udall could take a Southwest flight out of Reagan that would put him in Denver by 9:30 p.m.
  • An almost identical Southwest flight leaves from Reagan at 6:40 p.m. and gets Udall into Denver by 10:30 p.m.
  • If Udall is still occupied at those times, there is always an 8:45 p.m. direct Southwest flight from Baltimore that gets him in by 10:45 p.m.  Sure, some staffer will have to drive Udall the 45 minutes to BWI, but it’s not like that staffer is getting paid to actually get legislation passed.
  • Now, if things are really crazy during lobbyist cocktail hour votes, there is a direct United flight that leaves Dulles at 10:10 p.m. and gets Udall into Denver by 11:53 p.m.

We also understand, not everyone is a night person, so here are some morning options for Udall:

  • A 5:15 a.m. US Airways flight from Baltimore will put Udall in Denver by 9:06 a.m.
  • A 5:40 a.m. US Airways flight from Reagan will put Udall in Denver at 9:06 a.m.
  • A 7:19 a.m. direct United flight from Baltimore will put Udall in Denver at 9:07 a.m.
  • A 6:00 a.m. Delta flight from Reagan will put Udall in Denver at 9:47 a.m.  This is cutting it a little closer to Obama’s speech time, but worst-case scenario, Udall could still catch part of it.
  • A direct 6:00 a.m. Southwest flight from Dulles will get Udall in at 7:45 a.m., which would probably be even enough time to grab breakfast with Obama.

Udall, just have one of your people reach out to us to let us know which one of these nine options we can get for so you can get back in time to see your best friend Obama’s speech.  Hell, Obama himself is flying out here Tuesday night on his own private jet; you sure you haven’t checked with him to hitch a ride?  It’s the least he can do for you after you’ve rubberstamped his entire agenda.

 

IT HURTS: DBJ Surveys on Regulations, Finds They Sting

When the Denver Business Journal surveyed its readership about whether regulations really hurt readers’ business, its staff probably wasn’t expecting to get an overwhelming affirmative.  The question was written as “Honestly, how much is your business hurt by regulations?” and, then, the publication asked for business owners to cite examples in the comments.

These were the results as of 3:45 p.m.:

The answer is yes.  And, perhaps the DBJ didn’t realize how much regulation hurt businesses because, as a media outlet, it’s largely unregulated (as it should be).  But, even the DBJ must get stuck with unemployment insurance, Obamacare taxes, paying for stupid OSHA signs, and more.  The truth is that small businesses must hire an army of compliance helpers just to do business.  For a small business, it’s really hard.  Politicians (particularly those on the left), take note.

 

PeakFeed: Major Udall Reelection Theme Emerges

Is Sen. Mark Udall an insolent teenager?  Other than his AARP card, his actions certainly say so.  Udall has no problem taking money from Obama, his version of Daddy Warbucks, but when it comes time to appear in public with Obama, Udall is MIA.  Is Udall afraid those photos of them together will remind Coloradans he has voted with Obama 99% of the time?  As The Washington Times reports:

Colorado’s vulnerable Sen. Mark Udall won’t stump beside President Obama in Denver this week but will join him for a fund-raising event, the senator’s campaign said Monday.

… Mr. Udall is in a neck-and-neck re-election race versus Republican Rep. Cory Gardner and has tried to distance himself from Mr. Obama, who has low approval scores in Colorado as in the rest of the county.

Colorado voters disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance 53 percent to 43 percent, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey last month.

But the president still can be a powerful fund-raising ally.

Combine this with how cozy Udall has become with eco-extremist Tom Steyer and we’re starting to see a major theme of Udall reelection starting to emerge:

 

Udall 2014: Take The Money And Run

 

PeakFeed: Arapahoe County Sets Example for Balanced Energy Plan

Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe and the pro-energy group Vital For Colorado have released a video that tells the story of how Arapahoe County created a balanced energy plan that can set an example for the rest of the state.

When faced with the prospect of citizens concerned about increased oil and gas drilling, the Commissioners resisted pressure from fractivists to pass a moratorium.  Instead, they worked with operators to craft a Memorandum of Understanding that outlined the county’s priorities.  If operators agreed to meet the requirements in the MOU, then they were able to get their drilling permit faster.  Thusly, Arapahoe County was able to create a situation where citizens’ needs were being met, and companies were able to continue doing business there.

As Hickenlooper and Polis toil away trying to strike a so-called ‘deal’ they should look to Arapahoe County as an example of one community that got it right.

 

GUEST POST: Even the feds …

Published on July 7, 2014 by

… spotted problems with Colorado’s Obamacare health exchange.

The Inspector General’s audit report  doesn’t look good. The IG’s job: to see how well Obamacare “ensured the accuracy of information submitted by applicants for enrollment in qualified health plans and for advance payment of premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions.” Unverified information creates “inconsistencies.”

Colorado gets four mentions. The quotes: 

  • The Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, and Nevada marketplaces did not provide data on inconsistencies.
  • Colorado reported that it relied on the Medicaid office to verify all applicant information through the first calendar quarter of 2014. As of March, the Colorado marketplace reported that it had assumed responsibility for resolving the inconsistencies.
  • Four State marketplaces could not provide data on inconsistencies (Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, and Oregon).
  • Colorado and Minnesota reported that they rely on their State Medicaid offices to resolve inconsistencies and that they had limited access to State Medicaid data. [My boldings]

So.

Did Colorado insurance applications have eligibility-denying inconsistencies? Is that why nobody provided HHS with data about them? (Hide your mess under the bed so nobody sees it.)

Any verification failures aren’t chargeable to the glorious Connect for Health Colorado health exchange. Goodness no. (If mom discovers the mess under the bed, blame your sibling.) The exchange points the finger at Colorado’s Medicaid operation, saying they “relied” on them and only had “limited access” to the raw data. (They shoulda done it themselves, right?)

Consider the Medicaid data specialists – the people who the Colorado exchange hung out to dry. Colorado has added more Medicaid beneficiaries, proportionately, than almost any other state. These data mavens, bless them, have a tough job. They must track hundreds of thousands of new Medicaid enrollees, as directed by Governor Hickenlooper we assume.

If the feds can’t give Colorado a clean report, do we add this to the list of Hickenlooper’s flubs?

When given data by other states, the IG found verification rules weren’t followed. Which means failure to verify citizenship or residency or income, among other requirements.

We know that Colorado did not provide data on inconsistencies. We can’t prove Colorado is currently insuring ineligible persons. Nor that they gave out bogus subsidies. But failure to provide data to the Office of Inspector General is damning.

Hickenlooper must hope he’ll get past the election before the facts appear.

 

FOURTH OF JULY: How Colorado Legislators Will Celebrate Independence Day

It’s that time of year again – hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, kids running through the sprinklers, and fireworks (maybe).  It’s the Fourth of July and never have you seen so much red, white, and blue…and politicians.  We’re here to bring you the plans of Colorado’s state legislators.  Here’s how they responded when we asked what they were up to today:

Sen. Larry Crowder, SD-35

I will be in the Alamosa 4th of July Parade.

Senate President Pro Tempore Lucia Guzman, SD-34

My family and I (including our 2 dogs) will spend the 4th of July at Frisco, as we have done for many years .  We will attend their 4th of July Parade , which is a great Hometown parade.  We will hike a special trail to see the wild flowers, ride our bikes from Frisco to Vail Pass summit, golf at Keystone, and sail on Lake Dillon. We will grill our own dinner on the deck and view the fireworks while we give thanks for our great country!

Senate Majority Leader Rollie Heath, SD-18

I’m heading up to Jamestown for their pancake breakfast.

Rep. Stephen Humphrey, HD-48

My family and I will be walking in the Greeley Stampede 4th of July parade and then enjoying some BBQ later in the day.  I’ll probably try to squeeze in “Lone Survivor” somewhere, haven’t seen it yet!  God bless and God save the republic!

Sen. John Kefalas, SD-14

Running in the 4th of July Firecracker 5K Race and marching in the Fort Collins Independence Day Parade.

Rep. Polly Lawrence HD-39

Please join me for the July 4th Parade in beautiful Highlands Ranch!

Rep. Beth McCann, HD-8

I will be proudly marching in the Park Hill Fourth of July parade. I do this every year; it’s a great parade – please join us at 1:30 p.m. on the Fourth – parade route is down 23rd Ave starting at Dexter Street. Food and fun activities available for all. Then I hope to catch some fireworks in the evening.

Rep. Clarice Navarro, HD-47

After I honor Veterans in Pueblo, Co (Home of Heroes), I’m hitting Pueblo West’s 4th of July Water Parade for an action packed soaking! Then off to the neighbors for some traditional cocktails and BBQ, all the while, I’ll be reflecting on why this Nation’s Independence is so precious to me and my family. I will neither confirm or deny the use of fireworks from “unregulated” Wyoming!

Have a great Fourth, PeakNation™!

 

FALLING APART: Spokesman’s Departure Shows Hickenlooper’s Political Machine Unraveling

And another one bites the dust.  Just as we predicted, more staffers are quickly announcing their departure from the ill-fated Hickenlooper administration.  Days after Hick lost his puppet master Chief of Staff Roxanne White, he now has to bid adieu to his mouthpiece Eric Brown.

The Denver Post is reporting that Brown has been looking for a job since at least April, which doesn’t surprise us at all.  Being a political spokesman is hard work, and when you’re boss has a hard time saying the right thing it can be a downright nightmare.

If we were Brown, we’d want to get out from under that mess before campaign season is in full swing this fall.  In fact, the timing for Brown could not have worked out better.  Especially considering that in the last few weeks he has somehow had keep a straight face while trying to justify the following incidents:

  1. Sheriff-gate during which Hickenlooper was caught on tape making false and contradictory statements about his knowledge of Colorado’s gun laws. 
  2. A compromise between Rep. Jared Polis and oil and gas companies over a fracking ban disintegrating on Hickenlooper’s watch. 
  3. Hickenlooper losing business community support to GOP challenger Bob Beauprez.
  4. Polling in the governor’s race that shows it has turned into a real dogfight and is no longer the sure thing Hick was hoping for.

It’s actually amazing that Brown lasted this long.

 

 

 
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