July 29, 2010

Norton Attack Ad Improperly Taken From People’s Press Collective Video

By Julian Dunraven

Honorable Friends:

This morning, Eileen Mahony, D.C. Bureau Chief for the People’s Press Collective, put up a very amusing piece about how the Norton campaign borrowed rather liberally from PPC to produce their latest attack ad against Ken Buck. Well, borrowed might not be quite accurate. Given that they took video from PPC, edited it to remove the PPC copyright notices, cropped the size of the video to remove the PPC title bar, and then added it to their ad without any citation to PPC whatsoever, some might even call that stealing. Unfortunately, that seems to be the theme of this election.

Judging from the comments in Ms. Mahony’s post, some have mistakenly assumed PPC is favoring Ken Buck in the primary. This is not true. PPC does not endorse in primary elections. However, its members do tend to object when campaigns try to steal their material. It seems they have objected rather strenuously too. PPC has provided access to a series of documents detailing this matter, including the PPC cease and desist letter to the Jane Norton campaign, the Norton campaign’s response, and PPC’s reiteration of its cease and desist demands.

As one of the PPC commentators has already suggested, this incident reveals a disturbing and lack of character in the Norton campaign. Not only did the campaign grossly distort Buck’s words in its ad, it took material from the PPC without permission or even attribution to do so. The PPC’s final letter to the Norton campaign asks, “If even allies of the campaign cannot depend upon it for fair dealing, how is the rest of the state supposed to trust it?” That is a question I think many of us will be considering.

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July 18, 2010

7th Congressional District Primary Enters Final Stretch

**Update from Sias campaign spokesman Sean Walsh:
"We’re hard-charging into the homestretch--Lang is energetic and upbeat . . . the momentum shift that started two months ago continues – Lang handily won the only straw poll held May 17; he came within 17 votes of top line at the May 20 Convention; we’ve received over $10,000 from donors who previously donated to our opponent; our latest fundraising quarter was our best one yet (our opponent was $50,000 short of his previous quarterly mark); in two televised debates Lang demonstrated a greater command of the issues, he’s far better prepared to lead – and he’s the only candidate in this race who will beat career politician Ed Perlmutter. And let’s not forget - Lang has achieved it all despite jumping into the race six months after our opponent – and being outspent nearly 5 to 1. Lang is heading a truly grassroots campaign that has shocked the pundits, the donors and the Colorado GOP establishment.

This isn’t just spin from the campaign manager. It’s all verifiable, relevant and part of the public record. Any 7th CD Republican who is reading this should avail themselves of both debates before voting next week – available for viewing on the Channel 9 KUSA and Channel 4 KCNC websites."
Walsh added that Sias was determined to beat Rep. Ed Perlmutter, regardless of who voters decided to put on the November ballot:
"If Councilman Frazier wins our party’s nomination for this seat, the first person who congratulates and endorses him will be Lang Sias. This race has never been about Lang or any other single person involved in the Republican Party – it’s about winning back this seat for the GOP. Whether as a candidate or in a supportive role, Lang Sias will continue to fight to defeat Ed Perlmutter."

With primary ballots set to hit mailboxes early next week, Republican voters in Denver's suburban 7th Congressional District are getting their last opportunities to learn about Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier and aviator and Top Gun instructor Lang Sias.

"I feel good about where we're at. We've knocked on 33,000 doors to date, made 40,000 phone calls and have been joined by over 2,000 volunteers. The grassroots support has really pulled together, and we're on the right track for August 10," said Frazier.

In three weeks, however, only one of the two men will be the Republican nominee squaring off against Democratic Representative Ed Perlmutter, who won his 2006 and 2008 contests handily.

"Whoever comes out of the race as the Republican nominee needs support, and I am committed to supporting and uniting to win back the 7th Congressional District," Frazier explained, "but I expect to win."

Frazier was attending Saturday's Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Party, hosted annually by the Independence Institute.

Sias' campaign could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels profiled Frazier and Sias earlier this weekend.

9NEWS political reporter Adam Schrager hosted both candidates on "Your Show" this week:



July 17, 2010

Buck Responds to Norton Ad: "She Has Questioned My Manhood"

"You'd think Ken would be man enough to do it himself"--Jane Norton, from her new TV ad

"Why should you vote for me? Because I do not wear high heels. She has questioned my manhood, I think it's fair to respond"--Ken Buck, referencing the Norton ad

Jane Norton's newest ad calls out her opponent and takes aim at the "shady interest group doing the bidding of Ken Buck", Americans for Job Security, that has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Colorado Senate race on Buck's behalf:

On Saturday at the Independence Institute's Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Party, Ken Buck responded to the Norton ad:

Buck took the shoe analogy one step further speaking, ahem, metaphorically about the state of politics in our nation's capital:
"I have cowboy boots. They have real bullsh** on them. That's Weld County bullsh**, not Washington DC bullsh**."
With a hotly contested primary still three weeks away, it is certain Colorado Republicans haven't heard the last of the two candidates exchanging "pleasantries" in their TV ads or on the campaign trail.

And that's no bull.



July 16, 2010

Threat of McInnis Plagiarism Scandal Extends Beyond Gubernatorial Race

"I’m not getting out of this. They are bullying the wrong guy. I love the fight''--Scott McInnis to The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels

The political ramifications of the plagiarism charges against GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis that came to light earlier in the week have begun to build as the results of new polls, mounting denunciations in state news editorials (including his hometown paper), and criticism from fellow politicians demonstrates a move to abandon the erstwhile Republican frontrunner.

Following perceptions that McInnis badly mishandled the self-described "mistake", which he initially called a politically motivated charge and a "non-issue", the former congressman subsequently appeared to exacerbate his difficulties when his attempts to lay blame for the omitted attributions to a 20-year-old article on water rights on his 82-year-old former research assistant were accompanied by a letter that McInnis hoped would absolve him of responsibility for the alleged plagiarism. Rolly Fischer refused to sign the exculpatory letter admitting any blame, calling McInnis a liar.

Even ameliorating evidence in a second purported incident of plagiarism, this time involving a Washington Post column and its subsequent use by McInnis in his own op-ed and House floor speech, did little to mitigate the furor over the earlier allegations.

McInnis even drew comparisons to disgraced former CU Ethnic Studies Professor Ward Churchill from two Democratic CU Regents who voted for the professor's removal in 2007 after a faculty panel had moved for dismissal. Public officials, according to former Rocky Mountain News Editor John Temple, should not be held to different standards from other professionals when it comes to the issue of plagiarism.

The Hasan Family Foundation called for an investigation into the allegations of plagiarism leveled at McInnis earlier in the week over the 150 pages of water-related "issue papers" he had written as part of a foundation fellowship for which he was paid a hefty $300,000 sum. In a press release issued earlier today, the organization called on McInnis to repay the fellowship fees in full:
It is the finding of the Hasan Family Foundation Board that the work Congressman Scott McInnis performed under the Senior Fellowship was only a fraction of the work he was obligated to perform under the terms of his Fellowship. Of the little work that he did, he has admitted it was neither fully completed by him, nor fully original. In view of the public disclosure by Mr. McInnis as well as by Mr. Rolly Fischer, it is clear that Mr. McInnis has not fulfilled the terms of our agreement, and there is no need for any further investigation by the Foundation.

The Foundation demands he repay all monies paid to him under the Fellowship. The Foundation shall be making no further comment on the matter and will immediately return its full attention to the worthy causes it proudly funds and oversees.

Dr. Aliya Hasan, in an interview on KHOW's Caplis and Silverman show earlier today, indicated that the Foundation's intent was to offer McInnis a competitive, full-time fellowship. McInnis quickly responded, promising complete reimbursement:
"I have said since this matter was brought to my attention that the articles provided as part of the Hasan Family Foundation fellowship were faulty. I explained how this problem arose, and I accepted responsibility.

"I apologized to the Hasans for this mistake, and I expressed my determination to make it right with my dear friends. I will be in contact with the Hasan family to make full payment arrangements. I agree with the Foundation that this brings this matter to a close, and I look forward to continuing to speak on the campaign trail about the critical issues facing all of Colorado, including jobs and economic recovery."

The matter, however, is far from coming to a close.

Canceled appearances on Thursday in Erie and Friday at a prominent fundraising dinner for Denver and Arapahoe counties featuring Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have also set tongues wagging, coming on the heels of snap polls indicating the McInnis campaign hemorrhaging support as those surveyed showed eroding confidence in their preferred candidate and, more importantly, from voters in both registered Republicans and "likely voters" categories.

Calls to McInnis spokesperson Josh Green about other possible canceled appearances by the campaign in coming days went unanswered.

In both polls, each conducted Thursday, numbers show a staggering loss of support for the embattled Republican. Sixty-four percent of registered Republicans in the Denver Post/SurveyUSA poll who claimed to back McInnis before the plagiarism row indicate a willingness to leave their top choice for an alternative list of speculative GOP gubernatorial replacements, including former Congressman and conservative firebrand Tom Tancredo, current US Senate candidate and former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, outgoing State Senate Minority Leader and former gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry (who is currently the campaign manager for Norton's senatorial bid), and current University of Colorado President and failed former Colorado gubernatorial candidate (1994) Bruce Benson. Only when asked if they would switch to "another candidate"--ostensibly the other name on the already-printed August 10 primary ballots, businessman Dan Maes--did McInnis appear to hold some ground. Overall, 37 percent believed that McInnis should simply drop out of the race, with just under half urging him to soldier on to the primary.

The Western Slope Republican also retains a measure of strong support in his base centered around Grand Junction.

In head-to-head polling with Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper, however, the effects of this week's news is clear. According to Rasmussen, the Denver Mayor has retaken a narrow two point lead (45-43) among "likely voters" for the first time since his post-announcement bounce in February, when current Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter announced his retirement and Hickenlooper's entry cleared the Democratic field.

Pollster.com's Colorado Governor tracking poll

On a more critical front, the McInnis "inner" exodus begins, as members of McInnis' campaign bail on the reeling gubernatorial candidate:
Three key staffers for Republican Scott McInnis quit Friday after a week of plagiarism allegations and accusations of campaign mismanagement battered their boss.

Policy director Mac Zimmerman, political director Dustin Zvonek and regional director T.Q. Houlton packed up and left, according to sources close to McInnis’ gubernatorial campaign.

The disaffected staffers "can no longer defend" the actions of McInnis:
"The turning point in the campaign was the interview with Rolly Fischer," the source said. "Jaws dropped. They couldn't believe Scott tried to pin it on him … It was game, set, match. It was a crusher."

In the meantime, possible scenarios to replace the battered Mcinnis and even his primary rival Maes abound on blogs (also here and  here), in the media, and in the highest echelons of the party. Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams sought to quell questions about possible write-in candidates, vacancy committees, and candidate race-switching, assuring that the primary process had produced two certified candidates, and that the Republican primary voters would have the final decision.

In a video from KDVR Fox 31, calls for McInnis to drop out immediately for the good of the party came from Tancredo, whose name has been widely bandied about as a possible replacement and has given the clear impression of a willingness to run, even as an independent (and who was the subject of much speculation himself last fall when Penry unexpectedly dropped out of the race).

While rumors that the Republican Governor's Association had decided to pull out of Colorado over the plagiarism flap were hastily denied by the group, the Colorado GOP meltdown turned attention to the ongoing US Senate primary for possible replacements. US Senate candidates Ken Buck and Norton remained relatively mum on the subject, saying the decision was in McInnis' hands, and their respective focuses remained on their tough primary battle.

Rampant speculation aside, replacing a candidate (or two, should Maes decide to stay in) with a vacancy committee could be difficult under state law:
The process of trying to get a new candidate is procedurally complicated. First, the Aug. 10 primary ballots are printed and go out by mail Monday. Forty-six of the state's 64 counties are holding all-mail elections. Second, state law is unclear. On its face, it appears to prohibit another candidate getting in the race unless both Maes and McInnis drop out. In that case, a Republican vacancy committee would appoint the nominee.

But Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Colorado secretary of state, said his office was researching whether it was possible for a committee to replace a second candidate if someone drops out. He expected an answer in the next day or two.

In either situation, there is a strong likelihood that ballots will already be in the hands of voters. It's unclear how votes for a new candidate would be cast.

Even Secretary of State Bernie Buescher (D) declined to issue a "hypothetical" opinion on candidate replacement in a primary race.

Republican activist Nikki Mata, founder of R Block Party, noted that several Tea Party and 9/12 groups had already begun to discuss how much input grassroots conservatives might be able to confer should a vacancy committee become a reality, and possible defections should the process be mishandled:
"In the state where Tea Party and grassroots involvement is the highest in the nation, to go ahead and conduct a closed-doors meeting without outside input and anoint a replacement candidate would essentially amount to political suicide for the party. There is already talk of going to a third party if this happens."

She pointed to the outrage amongst grassroots conservatives last December when a McInnis interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News dubbed him the "Tea Party candidate" following what appeared to be an establishment-backed clearing of the field as Penry hastily exited the governor's race.

Northern Colorado Tea Party organizer Lesley Hollywood agreed that the political fallout could be disastrous should the Republican party turn a deaf ear:
"If the situation arises where a new nominee will need to be chosen, the Colorado Republican Party needs to tread very carefully. In the year of the Tea Party; the year where one in three Colorado voters belongs to a Tea Party or similar organization; the year in which the energized "base" is not coming from within the GOP, but the pro-liberty movement sweeping the state; it's important for the establishment to bring the grassroots voices to the table.

The ramifications of anything less could be devestating to the gubernatorial race and the 2010 election. Some may lean toward a third party candidate, such as Benjamin Goss of the Constitutionalist Party. There is also the likely possibility of voter revolt, with many choosing to rebel against the establishment choice by not voting at all. And of course, the public outrage could be incredibly damaging to the Republican Party image as a whole."



July 14, 2010

Plagiarism Renders Scott McInnis Unfit to Practice Law or Govern

By Julian Dunraven, J.D. M.P.A.

Honorable Friends:

Yesterday’s Denver Post reported that Scott McInnis plagiarized the work of Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs in articles McInnis drafted for the Hasan Family Foundation. The foundation paid McInnis $300,000 for these articles.

After the story broke, Mr. McInnis blamed a researcher for the problem and claimed in his own press release that the plagiarism was unintentional. This is rubbish.

Mr. McInnis is certainly familiar with academic and professional writing standards; he is a doctor of law, after all. Thus, he should know he has an obligation to review any material submitted by a research assistant. However, he should also know that, if he intends to use whole pages of text submitted by his research assistant, then he has a responsibility to list the research assistant as a minor coauthor and cite his contributions. Mr. McInnis failed to do either of these things. Instead, he claims he took whole passages of text, supposedly submitted by an assistant, added them to his article, and represented it all as original and finished work, but somehow did so unintentionally. In order to believe such acts can be accomplished unintentionally, we have to believe that Mr. McInnis was not in control of his own body or mind. Perhaps he was possessed at the time. Otherwise, he is lying. Which do you suppose is more likely?

Plagiarism represents the height of intellectual dishonesty and reveals a complete lack of academic integrity. Not so long ago, virtually all conservatives and most liberals agreed that a similar lack of academic integrity rendered Ward Churchill unfit to teach at a university. I cannot now find any ethical way to apply a lesser standard to a man who seeks, not simply to lecture a few dozen students in a classroom, but to govern the entire state of Colorado.

During law school, I sat on the faculty’s academic affairs committee as a student member. During one of our meetings, we discussed what to do about a few students who had indulged in plagiarism. The guilty students put up the same defense McInnis now offers. They claimed they did not fully understand that they were plagiarizing and that it was all unintentional.

I had no sympathy for such excuses. The idea that anyone can get into a top tier law school like the University of Colorado and not understand plagiarism is absurd. Thus, I recommended immediate expulsion for these students. The professors, however, did not want to appear unmerciful. They simply gave the students failing grades in the classes in which they were caught plagiarizing. The law school then forwarded a report of the incidents to the Colorado Supreme Court’s Board of Law Examiners, detailing the penalties discussed and imposed. The Board of Law Examiners, however, agreed with me. None of these students were permitted to sit for the Bar Examination—they were not permitted to become practicing attorneys.

Already a practicing attorney, McInnis cannot be prevented from taking the bar exam. Nonetheless, I strongly suspect that the Colorado Supreme Court will soon review McInnis’ actions and sanction him for violating Rule 8.4 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Anyone seeking to file a complaint about McInnis’ conduct should contact the Attorney Regulation Counsel.

Plagiarism renders a person unfit to teach at a university because academic dishonesty undermines trust in all legitimate scholarship. Plagiarism renders a person unfit to practice law because a person who would lie about a mere academic paper cannot hope to be trusted with protecting both the finances and liberties of his clients—not to mention the integrity of the justice system. The temptation to lie becomes too severe for such an unprincipled person. Yet, neither a professor nor any individual lawyer holds such public trust as a governor of a state.

The Tea Party movement, in its call for accountability in our public servants, reminds us that this issue of trustworthiness is of paramount importance today. The Republican Party is laudably attempting to address these concerns and redeem its past mistakes by demanding responsible limited government always accountable to the people. Mr. McInnis, however, has dishonored himself and proven totally unworthy of the people’s trust. Yet he has the audacity to ask the Republican Party to nominate him as its candidate for governor. After the Republican fury over Ward Churchill, nominating McInnis would be the height of hypocrisy and further alienate already disillusioned voters and Tea Party activists.

For these reasons, I must regrettably join in the call for Mr. McInnis to withdraw from the gubernatorial race in order to spare himself and our Party from further embarrassment. At this point, no ethical Republican could vote for him without shame or with any expectation of reform in government as usual. If plagiarism demonstrates such unprincipled character as to make a man unfit to teach and an attorney unfit to practice law, then it should certainly render a candidate unfit to be the governor of Colorado.

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