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U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s latest TV ad, titled “Both Parties,” alternates between the narration of two individuals — a man whose name is in blue, a woman whose name is in red — giving viewers the impression his environmental work has the support of both major political parties.
But both people in the ad are registered Republicans and the woman, who is cited as an environmental advocate, founded a group five months ago that has no history of environmental work. Environmentalists who have advocated here for decades say they’ve never heard of it.
The man in the ad is Larry Kramer, a former deputy director of the state parks department. His name appears in blue throughout the ad, but his Facebook page shows he is a Republican who shares Republican posts and has a friends list that’s a who’s who of prominent Colorado Republicans.
The woman in the ad is Allie Killey, founder of Wild for Colorado. Until recently, Killey was a legislative aide for state Sen. Paul Lundeen, a Monument Republican who has sought multiple audits and investigations into Gardner’s opponent, John Hickenlooper.
Wild for Colorado was founded as a limited liability company March 9 — the same day Gardner introduced his Great American Outdoors Act, the bill she touts in the ad — and is based out of a house in Golden. Its Facebook page is listed as a “personal blog” with four fans and the extent of its advocacy work appears to be one ringing political endorsement, for Gardner.
Killey and Wild for Colorado did not respond to requests for comment. Gardner’s campaign declined to comment.
I contacted a half-dozen of Colorado’s most prominent environmental groups; none were familiar with Wild for Colorado. In the world of environmental advocacy, where collaborations are common, no one knew of the group or Killey before Gardner’s ad appeared a week ago.
“Not only have we not worked with this group, or ever heard of them before, it appears that their website is a hollow shell that lacks any substance and was only recently created,” said Jennifer Dickson with The Wilderness Society. “…This group appears to be a mystery to all.”
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A Castle Rock man and three others, including former White House adviser Steve Bannon, face federal charges for their part in a GoFundMe to raise money to build a border wall that federal prosecutors say was a scheme to rip off hundreds of thousands of people.
Capitol Diary • By Saja Hindi
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the effects of forced pandemic closures on restaurants and other businesses, but the closures have also affected state agencies.
And that means Coloradans are feeling it.
When I was reporting a story earlier this week about the backlog of people trying to get into the DMV for driver’s licenses, people on social media told me they were waiting two and three months to get in for appointments.
After we published the story, I started getting emails from people who were dealing with the same kinds of backlogs for various documents across state agencies. Older Coloradans who can’t go in person for appointments. People who need public benefits or state IDs.
Jose Navarro of Metro Caring told The Denver Post that the backlog has acutely affected his agency’s at-risk and senior clients. The organization works to help people access food and other benefits, its mission aimed at addressing poverty.
Through a grant program, the organization provides about 650 vouchers a month for participants to get IDs at the DMV at no cost. But the vouchers are only good for 30 days and participants now aren’t able to get in for months. The DMV doesn’t have the capacity to accept them online, Navarro said.
Participants in the program have faced similar issues trying to obtain other vital records, he said. Service providers are going to have to get creative as they work to meet these demands.
More Colorado political news
- It’s the “summer of no parties,” Polis says, and now, no open fires
- These 8 measures will be on Colorado’s November ballot
- More than 200 officers have resigned or retired since Senate Bill 217 became, but it’s unclear how many are directly related
- Here’s how Colorado’s vote-by-mail system works
#COSen 2020 • By Justin Wingerter
It is finally over
One Friday morning — Oct. 12, 2018 — a nascent group calling itself the Public Trust Institute filed a nearly 200-page complaint about John Hickenlooper with Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission. Six hundred and seventy seven days later, the case was resolved.
The commission’s release of a formal opinion Wednesday brings to a close the most high-profile case in the commission’s history. It resulted in the largest fine of any case and was the only one to include a contempt citation. It will live on this fall in attack ads and debate zingers.
But what, if anything, will its legacy be beyond that? I asked people on each side of the case.
Suzanne Staiert, director of the Public Trust Institute: “History will remember John Hickenlooper as the first person to ever be found in contempt for ignoring a subpoena from the Ethics Commission and as the first governor found to have broken state ethics laws. That, and he and all his $525-an-hour taxpayer-funded attorneys lost to one woman with an outdated laptop.”
Curtis Hubbard, a pro-Hickenlooper consultant: “This has been a partisan hit job from the start and, after John Hickenlooper is elected to the U.S. Senate, the episode will be remembered primarily as Republicans’ desperate attempt to manufacture a distraction against gale force political headwinds and a further weaponization of the state’s ethics statutes.”
Frank McNulty, founder of the Public Trust Institute: “John Hickenlooper validated the Colorado Ethics Commission. Because of Hickenlooper’s unwillingness to cooperate, he forced the Ethics Commission to use the full weight of their authority to get him to show up. Because of Hickenlooper, the Ethics Commission demonstrated that it will hold people in contempt, and that it will not hesitate to use its authority to enforce findings of contempt…This is the most important legacy of Hickenlooper’s ethics violations.”
Melissa Miller, Hickenlooper campaign spokeswoman: “Anyone who’s been following this dark-money political circus knows that it’s been an unprecedented weaponization of the ethics process to try to tear down a good man for political purposes.”
More federal politics news
- From Sunday: Our look at the outsized role health care is playing in the 3rd District race.
- Gardner faced questions about Postal Service slowdowns during an Aurora stop Monday. On Tuesday, the state joined a lawsuit and USPS said it would halt its reforms.
- A Denver health care advocate spoke at the Democratic National Convention this week.
- A bill introduced by progressive Rep. Joe Neguse, stalled in the U.S. Senate for months, has received support from an unlikely ally: the president.
Mile High Politics • By Conrad Swanson
As one shelter shuts, another may open
Denver officials are proposing a new homeless shelter on 48th Street, which they say is needed because of recently lost shelter capacity and the increasing need of those living on the city’s streets for more shelter space.
The proposed 10-year, $20 million lease at 4600 E. 48th Ave., to be funded mostly through federal CARES Act money, could help close those gaps, city officials told council members at a committee meeting earlier this week.
The proposal will head before the entire council in about two weeks, said Derek Woodbury, spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Housing and Stability. But it’s not yet clear when the shelter could open, if it’s approved, and some of the finer details must still be worked out.
This shelter, which would sit just to the east of the Salvation Army’s shelter on 48th Avenue in Northeast Park Hill, could host up to 450 people, Woodbury said.
There is an increasing need for space and diminished capacity, in part because the city closed its large shelter at the National Western Center earlier this month.
And while Hancock announced last month that the city would open temporary sanctioned outdoor encampments, the only concrete site suggested for the first camp has been scratched and no other site has taken its place. So it’s unclear when that outdoor campsite might open.
In the meantime, in a continued approach that contradicts the pandemic response recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control, city officials cleared out two homeless encampments downtown earlier this week, and two more encampment sweeps are scheduled for next week.
More Denver and suburban political news
- Denver City Council quashed a proposal Monday night from Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca which would have asked voters in November to abolish the Denver Police Department and create a “peace force” in its place.
- Denver City Council’s committee process — meant to workshop measures within the group — worked against CdeBaca as council members delayed two of her proposals meant to check the mayor’s authority.
- The Denver Coliseum parking lot is no longer under consideration for the city’s first sanctioned homeless encampment, and no other site has been seriously proposed in its place yet, officials say.
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