If you wondered how state Senator Rollie Heath and his signature gathering mercenaries, paid for with a $100,000 donation from an oil company, were able to collect 142,000 signatures to get Rollie's $3 Billion tax hike on the ballot, wonder no more. The signature gatherers were lying to citizens, telling them it wasn't actually a tax increase at all, just a petition to get more money for schools.
Some of them, it appears, were also trying to get some extra personal information from their female signatories.
In a great caught-on-tape moment, Kelly Maher catches a petition circulator on the 16th St Mall in Denver lying about the initiative, saying that the initiative is actually trying to fight a tax increase while at the same time boosting funding for schools. As Kelly points out in the video, for most citizens being approached on the street to sign the petition it is likely the first they've heard of the initiative, making the petition circulator's lies all the more dangerous and potentially illegal.
Petition Circulator “Ricky”: So what they’re trying to do, is they’re trying to take the money. We’re trying to make sure they don’t.
Kelly Maher: They’re trying to take…who’s trying to take the money?
“Ricky”: Uhhh, the government. Uhhh, what do you call it? Not the goverment but like…
Kelly: Well, I think…I think funding for schools is really important. But will it raise taxes? Cuz I’m really worried about that too.
“Ricky”: No, it won’t raise taxes. That’s what we’re trying to make sure that they don’t do. See what I’m saying?
Given this patently and knowingly false statement, Rollie Heath needs to release the full name of, and signatures gathered by, this petition circulator. Every single signature he gathered now comes under question and quite likely will have to be invalidated.
It also begs the question of how Rollie Heath's entire tax hike signature gathering operation was run. How many of the people gathering signatures told citizens that it wasn't a tax hike, that it merely was a petition to increase funding for schools? The circulators elaborate explanation, including references to federal programs like FAFSA, makes you wonder where he got his talking points from.
Was this spin something Rollie's tax hike team encouraged? Common sense tells you people will be naturally opposed to increasing taxes in a recession, making the job of collecting signatures a tougher battle. Was lying to citizens an approach approved to getting the task done?
Sources tell us that Rollie may be legally responsible for the behavior of the petition circulators, as he has undertaken this initiative under his own name and estate. If that legal analysis is correct, this could spell serious trouble for Senator Heath.
This revelation of petition perjury comes in a line of bad press and legal inquiries into the behavior of supporters of Proposition 103. It began with Rollie Heath kidnapping a 4th grade class to stand behind him at his tax hike announcement press conference, all without the permission of those children's parents.
It was followed shortly thereafter with an investigation into how propaganda paid for by political supporters of Prop 103 was mailed to parents of school children in Adams County in a back-to-school packet, all at taxpayer's expense.
This being the third major mistake before the initiative had even been certified for the ballot will likely cause potential supporters of the initiative to rethink their support. Why would groups like the CEA want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in an initiative that makes a middle school class president campaign look professional?
This revelation could also put the initiative back in court just to stay on the ballot. If there was a larger operation that was lying to citizens to get their signatures, many of the approved signatures could be invalidated to the point that it fails to cross the 86k threshold for ballot certification.
Why would the CEA want to invest money that could end up covering legal bills for the initiative, rather than TV commercials and direct mail?