UPDATE: Susan Kochevar sent out a statement on this mailer:
“Exercising one’s constitutional rights should never be criticized. I was happy to answer questions regarding anything unusual in the neighborhood, but I stood firm on my Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. I politely asked that the Constitution and bureau procedures be followed and obtain a warrant. If one wants to have a discussion about why it is important to stand for your rights, we can have that conversation. But to show no regard for the victim’s family is sickening.
My community came forward with an outpouring of support for the law enforcement and for the family. Many of the community members who stepped up are still active today. I am proud to live in this community.
Priorities for Colorado thinks the Constitution is pointless, and should be ignored by Americans. I say the Constitution should never be ignored. If we as individuals do not protect it, we sure can not rely on Priorities for Colorado or my opponent to do so.”
Will Tracy Kraft-Tharp denounce these terrible ads and apologize to Jessica Ridgeway’s family?
When Jessica Ridgeway went missing, the entire Denver metro area offered prayers and hoped that she would be found alive and well. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass. It was a terrible event for the people in Jefferson County, but, obviously, moreso for Jessica’s family, who undoubtedly were devastated by her death.
Priorities for Colorado recently sent around a mailer attacking Republican candidate Susan Kochevar for “not cooperating with the FBI” when Jessica Ridgeway went missing. Let us be really crystal clear. That is so far over the line, we can’t even verbalize how wrong and inappropriate this is. When Jessica Ridgeway disappeared, the FBI searched Susan Kochevar’s neighborhood asking residents to submit to a warrantless search and DNA swab. Kochevar simply asked the FBI to return with a search warrant. While we can all agree that finding Jessica was critically important, it should not trump the rights of citizens to privacy and warrantless searches. In other words, no citizen should ever have to compromise their constitutional rights to avoid a smear mailer like this one.
Additionally, any evidence gathered without proper procedure could compromise a case. Further, Kochevar was not under any suspicion of wrongdoing and neither were her neighbors. This was a grievous overreach by the government, probably well-meaning, in order to find Jessica Ridgeway.
But, this mailer is not well-meaning. In fact, it’s despicable and might just be the worst and lowest of the mailers put out by Julie Wells’ groups. It’s really tough to gauge when they’re so truly, truly disgusting. Last year, we railed against a piece of legislation put forth by Rep. Dan Pabon that would have required a DNA sample from those charged with misdemeanors such as failure to pay taxes or unlawful recording of a live concert. We maintain the same attitude here. We expect the ACLU to denounce this obscene mailer. We also expect Tracy Kraft Tharp to denounce this disgusting attack. We also expect the donors, who gave to Priorities for Colorado to condemn this attack that their money bought.
Who are those donors, you ask? Here they are. A quick note. The donors all gave to Priorities for Colorado’s 527. That 527 is the exclusive donor to Priorities for Colorado’s IE committee. Many of the donors on this list are esteemed brands that we use every day, so we have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they did not know that their dollars would be used to produce such vile campaign literature.
Of course, then, there are the usual suspects.
Tim Gill Scytus gave $100,000. Education Reform Now and it’s advocacy arm gave $120,000. Fair Share PAC has given over $300,000. American Federation of Teachers gave $50,000 and Pat Stryker gave $20,000. United Food and Commercial Workers gave $50,000.
There is nothing wrong with pointing out an opponent’s poor policies or lack of character, but this false attack goes so far as to use a murdered child to score political points. That’s simply reprehensible.