RACE TO WATCH: Are Unions Seeking Revenge Via the CD6 CU Regent Seat?

John Carson

Right now, Republicans now control the nine-member University of Colorado Regents board by five to four, but all that could change if Pat Stryker, Jared Polis, and their union BFFs have their way.  The CD6 seat, currently held by Republican Jim Geddes, is up for grabs and Republican John Carson and Democrat Naquetta Ricks competing for the seat.

Democrats aren’t going to let this one go easily.  According to the July 1 campaign finance report, Ricks has raised $37,563 from top donors like Pat Stryker ($400), Jared Polis ($400), Mark Udall ($100), as well as the United Food and Commercial Workers ($4,250), and the Pipefitters Local 208 union ($200).

But, why would Dems care about controlling this board?  Because Republicans, led by Regents Sue Sharkey and Geddes, have pushed an academic-freedom agenda aimed at countering the deep liberal bias at CU-Boulder. Here are just two exmples:

  • In September 2013, the board voted to add “political affiliation or political philosophy” to its non-discrimination clause, which is believed to be a national first.
  • The board also approved a “campus climate survey” to examine all forms of discrimination at CU, including political discrimination.

But, perhaps even more of a motive for union involvement was Carson’s role on the Douglas County School Board.  Carson was the president of the school board when it allowed its contract with the DougCo teachers union, the Douglas County Federation of Teachers, to expire on June 30, 2012.

Just yesterday, The Colorado Observer reported a 25% drop in union membership.  From the article:

The teachers’ union representing the Douglas County school system has lost one-quarter of its membership, signaling a growing frustration within the ranks that dues are used to finance politics instead of professional development.

It is critical to keep a Republican in the spot.  While CU Regent is often overlooked, it would appear that this is one race worth watching.


BITTER: Ousted State Senator John Morse Launched Committee to Restrict Recalls

The successful effort to recall Democratic Senate President John Morse was one of the more satisfying outcomes of 2013.  Imagine our entertainment when we stumbled across a new issue committee called “Citizens for a Stable Colorado”.  Stable how, you ask?  By keeping the same arrogant, not-accountable-to-constituents legislators in office. Here’s the purpose of the organization:

“To educate Colorado voters on the instability caused by easing recall elections and to oppose any ballot initiatives that try to ease the requirements for recall elections”

Who would stand up such an organization?  Turns out the organization was filed in April 2014 by Tyler Chaffee at Strategies 360, who helped pass the “Better Denver” bond as well as helping out those poor union folk, like the SEIU.  The other person listed as an agent is none other than “John@CPAMorse.com”.  Of course, CPAMorse.com takes us right to John Morse’s mug.

Morse, perhaps feeling a little sensitive after being removed from office by his constituents after not listening to them his disastrous gun grab, set this committee up to fight Initiative 76, which would have defined who could be recalled and how.  There were just two beneficiaries of this committee – Morse ($3850) and Marc Grueskin’s firm Rechtkornfeld, PC ($10,812).  The Colorado Forum Fund also received a donation of $437 when the account was terminated in July.

Who donated to the committee?

  • Unions and allies: American Federation of Teachers, Colorado Education Association, Colorado Association of School Executives
  • Left-wing groups: Colorado Bar Association, One Colorado (mission creep anyone?), Conservation Colorado (…because it’s concerned about mail in ballots causing pollution…?)
  • Gang of Four: Pat Stryker

Gosh, what interest could these groups have in shutting down recall efforts?  Could it be that these groups are trying to maintain their stranglehold on Colorado?  Or, is it just that John Morse is super bitter?  Since the ballot initiative was struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court on a technicality, Colorado may never know.

But, we will laugh about the fact that Morse set up a committee from which only he and Grueskin benefited that so obviously was driven by Morse’s bitterness.


NEW FRONT? Will Partisan Politics Enter Battle Over Ownership of Denver Post?

With the news breaking yesterday that Digital First Media was shelving its project that would “save” newspapers, many of the papers that Digital First Media owns were left in limbo; among them our very own Denver Post.  This turn of events has started the rumor mill, and we turn to The Colorado Springs Business Journal for the best of them:

Will the Post find a billionaire angel investor ? Moguls local and national have acquired the Boston Globe (John Henry), the Washington Post (Jeff Bezos) and the Colorado Springs Gazette (Phil Anschutz). [the Peak emphasis]

That’s the true question on everyone’s mind, and, as The Denver Post is really the only choice of paper for those in the metro Denver area (and in turn, the majority of Colorado’s population), ownership of it bequeaths the buyer a large megaphone to speak to all of Colorado.  No longer is there a Rocky Mountain News (pause for a brief moment of silence in remembrance) for people to pick up if they find the reporting at The Post slanted too far to the left one way or another.

Editorially, The Post leans leftward, supporting action on climate change, gun control and environmental protection. Yet it rarely strays into the farther shores of liberalism and regularly runs conservative columnists such as Vincent Carroll and Mike Rosen.

HA!  That’s like saying CU is now a moderate campus because they have a conservative chair.  There’s a reason you can name the conservative voices at The Post off the top of your head. continue…


HOW MUCH? CO Commits Pays Fieldworks Over a Million for Meager Petition Results

The September 16th campaign finance reports are now out, and it would appear that Colorado Commits to Kids (that’s the group pushing the billion dollar tax increase) spent over one million dollars only to turn in a 54% signature validity rate for its petition to get on the ballot. The group had spent $777,000 with DC-based Fieldworks up until the September 16th filing, which revealed Commits spent another $280,000 on the mediocre effort.  For those who are math-challenged (we’re talking about you, Rep. Court), that’s $1,057,000 total.

As the Peak reported earlier this month, the Secretary of State reviewed a 5% random sample of the petition signatures and found just 56% of them were valid.  A line-by-line analysis found that just 54% were valid.  That’s $500,000 for invalid signatures.

That’s terrible, Curtis.  And, the proponents expect us to believe they will be responsible with the billion dollars per year that they hope to raise when they cannot even manage their own processes?

Then again, when flush with cash, who has to worry about minor details like being cost conscious?  The September 16th filing also revealed that the same special interest groups gave again to this effort.  By special interest, we’re talking about the following:

  • Another $500,000 from the Piton Foundation (aka Gary Community Investment Fund), bringing its grand total to $700,000
  • Another $250,000 from the union-backed Education Reform Now, bringing its grand total to $500,000
  • Another $250,000 from Pat Stryker, who has given a total of $650,000

Interestingly, a new donor, Ken Gart, also has appeared on the filing.  Gart is the gentleman who hitched a ride on Hick’s state plane after he and his family donated thousands to Hick’s campaign, which led to an ethics complaint.

Ethics complaints, money spent willy-nillly, with all this cash, who has time for silly things like accountability and positive outcomes?  Oh wait.  But, isn’t that what this tax increase is supposed to be about?


FOLLOW THE MONEY: Initiative 22 Funders in the Spotlight

Yesterday, the special interest groups backing Initiative 22 (the billion dollar tax hike) sent out a self-congratulatory press release about the funding that they had scraped together for a marketing campaign to burden Colorado’s hard-working families with a union bail out.  Here is who is backing the scheme – definitely thank them for their support.  (That’s sarcasm, folks.)

$250,000 – Pat Stryker, Needs No Moniker for Her Blatant Influence Peddling

$250,000 – David Merage, Merage Financial (have you tried Hot Pockets?  They invented the product and sold it to Nestle for a bundle.  Guess now that they have theirs, no need to worry about other entrepreneurs trying to achieve their American Dream.)

$250,000 – Colorado Education Association (read: Teachers Union)

$150,000 – Gary Community Investment Company (funders of the Piton Foundation, you know, where that illegal donor who complained about Gessler worked?  Clearly a nonpartisan outfit.)

$50,000 – Stand for Children, which has been a great partner to the teachers unions in Oregon.  Here is what the Oregon Education Association had to say about the left-wing Stand for Children in 2009 in Colorado Ed News:

“They’ve partnered with us and other education advocates to increase mentoring for new teachers and for school funding generally.  They’ve also helped us fight merit pay for teachers at the ballot, which voters just rejected for the second time.”

Currently, Stand and OEA are among the advocates for a ‘tax fairness package’ that will soon go before voters to increase funding for K-12 schools, she said.”

$20,000 – Dan Ritchie

$10,000 – McWhinney Holdings

$10,000 – Brad Busse, RBC Capital

$10,000 – Colorado Hospital Association

$5,000 – Don Elliman (You may remember him as Governor Ritter’s economic development guy)

$5,000 – Barbara Grogan, Western Industrial Contractors


BIG MONEY IN POLITICS? Romanoff Knows All About It…Until He Runs For Office Opposing It

Andrew Romanoff, the likely Democratic nominee for the 6th Congressional District, and failed U.S. Senate primary contender in 2010, talked to Denver Westword on Friday about his upcoming campaign and had some interesting things to say. In particular it was his bloviating about special interests that caught our attention, as we thought that trope had been trampled pretty effectively last go-round.

 “I see folks in Washington forgot the people who sent them there…

“…Special interests have enough politicians on their payroll already…

“I don’t think you should have to sell your house to serve in the House… There’s something wrong about a system that says, ‘Only millionaires need apply.”

OK, maybe Andrew Romanoff (D-Renting) got a bulk rate discount on campaign clichés. Maybe he’s really a starry-eyed amateur who thinks he can raise money for his campaign by ringing a bell outside a Whole Foods Market. Or, just maybe he’s picked a really ironic campaign platform to challenge Rep. Mike Coffman. Why is it ironic?

Hmmm, let us count the ways:

(1) Four millionaires bought Romanoff a really nice gavel in 2005. The Gang of Four (Tim Gill, Pat Stryker, Jared Polis, Rutt Bridges) weren’t exactly average lefties who dropped some coins in Romanoff’s campaign jar after he spoke at their Common Cause chapter meeting. They dropped millions and bought him the Legislature.

He can’t pretend he wasn’t there.

According to Rob Witwer/Adam Schrager’s The Blueprint, Romanoff accompanied Rep. Alice Madden on a fundraising pitch to Pat Stryker and Al Yates in October 2003. Did he oppose big money in politics at that meeting? Who “sent him” to the Speaker’s chair, and does he remember them?

(2) Only millionaires need apply to run for Congress? Maybe if you’re a Democrat. It worked for Jared Polis. It worked for whats-his-name…ahem, Michael Bennet [clearly Romanoff is still sore about that one]. But can you bang the class warfare drum against Mike Coffman — a lifelong military grunt who served in both Iraq wars?

In fact, let’s compare Romanoff’s race to become Speaker of the House to Coffman’s last Congressional race and see who is really a man of the people. According to OpenSecrets.org: 

• Average individual contribution to Coffman for Congress in 2012: $1,100

• Average individual contribution to Romanoff’s State House 527, Alliance for Colorado Families, in 2004: $42,888.

(3) It’s likely Andrew would have needed to sell his house to run for CD 6 anyway, as his former Denver domain didn’t reside in CD6.

(4) No one said it better than Romanoff’s former Democrat opponent, Michael Bennet, in 2010, with this ad pointing out that not only has Romanoff taken gobs of money from special interest Political Action Committees (PACs), but he was running his own PAC until four months after he entered the U.S. Senate race. There’s a word that comes to mind here…


DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Democrats Resurrect Republican Bills and Pass?

If the old adage that imitation is the highest form of flattery is true, consider Republicans flattered.  Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans passed a measure that would allow prosecutors to file charges over the death of unborn children when the death occurs during a crime against a pregnant woman.

Republicans have tried to pass similar bills over the past few years, but have come up short on Democratic votes.  The bill, HB1154, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and will head next to the Appropriations Committee.

The bill was necessary because of several crimes against pregnant women during which their unborn children were killed, but the perpetrators could not be charged with the death.

This is just another example of Democrats killing good GOP bills and bringing them back themselves to pass them.  For the sake of the children, we’re looking forward to the Gill-Stryker version of Jessica’s Law to be introduced by a Democrat in the next session.


MIA: CO Senators’ Signatures Absent on Request to Delay Medical Device Tax

Last week, 18 Democratic U.S. Senators sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid asking for a delay in the medical device tax due to go into effect in 2013, citing the importance of the industry to the U.S. economy.  The medical device tax, a 2.3% federal tax on the price of medical devices, is another crippling tax that’s part of Obamacare. When we saw the news, we thought for sure that two of the 18 Senators who signed the letter would be Colorado’s U.S. Senators, Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet, given the importance of the medical device industry to Colorado’s economy.  But, their fingerprints were nowhere to be found on this letter.  Here’s a snippet of what everyone else’s U.S. Senators (not Colorado’s) said in the letter:

Since this letter is nationally-focused, it understandably doesn’t cover the importance of the industry to Colorado’s economy.  And, perhaps Sens. Bennet and Udall have forgotten how important the medical device industry is to the state.

According to April Giles, President and CEO of the Colorado BioScience Association, “the medical device sector makes up 50% of the [bioscience] industry for Colorado, with employment growth far exceeding the other sectors at 14.5% over the past 4 years.”

Here’s a few stats from the Colorado Bioscience Association:

  • The region’s medical device sector, a subsection of the bioscience industry, is the sixth-largest in the nation
  • Employment in the industry grew 8.1% from 2005-2010
  • Colorado employs 20,000 people in the bioscience industry, creating 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, translating into $7 billion in payroll, at an average salary of $74,000
  • For every job created in Colorado’s bioscience industry, four direct and indirect jobs are created

Given the importance of the medical device industry to the U.S. economy and to Colorado’s economy, it’s surprising that Sens. Udall and Bennet failed to act on this matter.  The fact is that the medical device industry is already preparing for the tax onslaught with even Pat Stryker’s company planning to layoff 5% of its staff worldwide. It seems that Sens. Bennet and Udall care more about ideology and carrying water for the Democratic Party than they do about Colorado jobs.


IT WAS POLITICAL: Abound Solar DOE Emails Prove Obama Lied

Abound: When “infinity” translates to 18 months

The 9News interview between Kyle Clark and President Obama is one of the “emperor has no clothes” moments in which the President has found himself embroiled over the past month or so.  In addition to grilling the President on whether or not consulate staff in Libya was denied help during the Benghazi attack, Clark also asked him about the political favors he may have granted Abound.  Revealing Politics has released a new video highlighting the truth gap between what Obama told Kyle Clark and what Complete Colorado investigative reporter Todd Shepherd discovered in Department of Energy emails.

In the clip above, Obama tells Kyle Clark:

“Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country. And some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction. And that’s good for Colorado and good for the country. And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.” (Peak emphasis)

Unfortunately, the emails uncovered by Shepherd directly contradict this.  Here is a timeline of the emails and the approvals process.



BREAKING: Local Reporter Says Obama Refuses To Answer “Repeated Questions On Whether Requests For Help In Benghazi Were Denied”

UPDATE 2: See full video of the damning interview:

UPDATE: 9News has published verbatim excerpts of the interview, which you can find here.
A major news story is about to break, courtesy of 9News reporter Kyle Clark.

Earlier in the day, Clark asked on Twitter for questions to pose to the Commander-in-Chief. Our request: Benghazi. And specifically, was the President specifically made aware of a request for security backup by CIA officers on the scene.

And here is the big news. We haven’t seen the video yet, but Clark just tweeted a tease of the interview:





Try squaring that with Vice President Joe Biden’s comments during his presidential debate earlier this month:

“We weren’t told they wanted more security, we did not know they wanted more security,” the vice-president said.

This has all the makings of a big one. When the video is available, we will post it here.


© 2011-2013 Colorado Peak Politics