Category: Republicans violating laws

Tina Peters supporters yell expletives at people trying to ask questions at an event billed as a “press conference”

An event held by embattled right wing Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters at the old county courthouse that was billed as a “press conference” turned out to be more of a rally of her supporters Monday, as the event was poorly attended by local media outlets. Two newspapers were represented, and no television stations were there.

Peters’ talk seemed to focus on impugning the Mesa County Commissioners for entering into another contract with Dominion Voting Systems to provide secure voting equipment to the County and keeping it maintained until 2029. Peters also waved what she said was a stack of emails from the county commissioners that she had obtained that she believes show the commissioners doing something detrimental to county citizens. Peters insisted she had exposed massive voter fraud in Mesa County, but still has not provided conclusive proof.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber’s long track record of harmful candidate endorsements

Longtime Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

Local candidates usually tout their endorsements by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, but the Chamber’s long track record of endorsing deeply flawed candidates shows that candidates should run from a Chamber endorsement as fast as they can, or at least politely decline it.

Observation of the Chamber’s endorsements going back a decade reveals that the Chamber does not evaluate candidates based on criteria like experience, background, education, knowledge or qualifications to hold office. Rather, the Chamber only considers a candidate’s political and religious ideology before endorsing them.

This extraordinarily narrow criteria has resulted in a flawed process that has proven detrimental to our community many, many times over.

Secretary of State lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk also names Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley

Belinda Knisley is described in the SOS lawsuit as “absent and/or unable to perform her duties,” like Tina Peters

The text of the Secretary of State’s lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (pdf) essentially says Deputy Clerk and Recorder Belinda Knisley lied to State employees with Tina Peters’ knowledge when she told them a non-employee County Elections staff allowed to access voting equipment last May was a County employee, when in fact he was not, and had never been a County employee. Knisley, described in the suit as a “possible successor” to Tina Peters in the Elections Department, is specifically named as a Respondent in the suit in addition to Peters.

Mesa County Commissioners approve extended contract with Dominion Voting Systems

Commissioner Janet Rowland gives angry audience a dose of reality, and votes to do the right thing

Screen shot of Zoom of today’s meeting, with chat box, while County Commissioner Scott McInnis was speaking. He was wearing a pink shirt.

The Mesa County Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon to extend the County’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems so they could get new voting equipment for no up-front cost from Dominion. The Commissioners voted to maintain the County’s contract with the company until 2029, and agreed to make progressively higher payments to the company throughout that time. The County needed new voting equipment to replace the equipment decertified by the Colorado Secretary of State because Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was unable to prove the equipment had been kept secure and had not been compromised.

Have you seen this woman?

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters fled the state with My Pillow Guy and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, and is currently on the run from multiple criminal investigations into her alleged actions to compromise election security in Mesa County.

Vice News reports Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is on the run, housed in secret locations by My Pillow Guy

 

Tina Peters is on the run

Vice News reports that Mike Lindell, the CEO of the My Pillow Company, has been harboring  Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in safe houses around the country and moving her from place to place to avoid detection. Lindell told Vice News he initially housed Peters in Texas after his 3-day Cyber Symposium in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she was  featured as an expert speaker on the subject 2020 election conspiracy theories, but after one of Lindell’s own disgruntled security employees leaked Peters’ location, Lindell moved her to another undisclosed location.

The FBI and the Mesa County District Attorney are investigating Peters for possible criminal activity. She is also under investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for allegedly breaching security protocols put in place to protect Mesa County’s voting equipment from tampering.

SOS to appoint replacement for Peters while Mesa County Commissioners hold a meeting tonight to decide whether to appoint a replacement for Peters

Yes, you read that right.

Denver news is reporting (video) that the Secretary of State will strip Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters of power and “appoint someone other than [Mesa County] Clerk Tina Peters to oversee Mesa County’s elections.”

At the same time, the Mesa County Commissioners are holding a special meeting tonight to consider only one item:  deciding whether to “approve or deny” an apparent replacement for Tina Peters.

Consider and approve or deny the conditional appointment of a designated election official pursuant to C.R.S. 1-1-104(8).  (Todd Starr, County Attorney)

This begs the question: Why are the County Commissioners holding a meeting to decide whether or not to replace Peters when the Secretary of State is already going to replace her? Is it just right wing theater to placate the batsh*t crazy “Stand for the Constitution” crowd? Or what is going on here?

The Commissioners don’t usually hold public meetings about personnel matters. They didn’t do it when Mesa County was dealing with County Administrator Frank Whidden and his multiple age discriminations lawsuits, charges of sexual harassment and other sordid situations.

The Commissioners’ single meeting agenda item has the name of County Attorney Todd Starr beneath it, so I called Starr’s office to ask why this meeting was being held. Someone answered the call who claimed to have absolutely no idea whatsoever about the meeting, who said no one was there who did, and said it was all the County Commissioners’ doing. That person referred me to the County Commissioners’ office. A call to the County Commissioners’ office was answered by someone who said they had no idea why the meeting was being held, and referred me back to the County Attorney’s office.

It was the classic Mesa County runaround.

At the same time, reports are that the FBI has now joined in the criminal investigation of Clerk Tina Peters.

So confusion reigns from top to bottom now inside Mesa County government, as Peters’ elected Republican pals struggle to figure out how to deal with what looks more and more like a criminal County Clerk who intentionally facilitated a security breach that compromised Mesa County’s own voting equipment.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in her own words

Instead of being in Grand Junction dealing with the breach of security in the Elections Office that’s going to cost County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters fled the state to appear as a featured speaker at the My Pillow Guy’s “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at which Mike Lindell, CEO of the My Pillow Company, promised to finally reveal long-sought-after proof that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. By all accounts, Lindell’s symposium imploded spectacularly. Lindell also heard during the conference that a judge allowed a $1 billion defamation lawsuit (pdf) filed against him last February by the Dominion Corporation, which manufactures the voting machines used in Peters’ office, would be allowed to go forward.

Peters was lauded as a hero at the event, and was introduced to the crowd as “an amazing patriot who is doing exactly what she should be doing and protecting and defending the vote.”

CO Secretary of State Griswold: “All evidence shows” Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters assisted in a security breach; S.O.S. decertifies Mesa County’s voting equipment

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (Photo: State of Colorado)

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold gave a press conference today (video) in which she revealed that last May 25th, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters permitted an unauthorized non-employee of the Elections Department to participate in a highly sensitive annual security inspection of Mesa County’s voting equipment called a Trusted Build. The name of the non-employee entered into the log that day was “Gerald Wood,” and Griswold revealed that Woods’ name was entered into the log by the Mesa County Clerk herself. Griswold noted that the non-employee “swiped in, but did not swipe out.”

“This was a breach,” Griswold said. “He was not an employee and he was not background checked. The Clerk misled the Secretary of State’s office about this information.”

Griswold said,

“To be very clear, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder allowed a security breach and by all evidence at this point, assisted it.”

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, defiant amid criminal investigation by Secretary of State, appears as “whistleblower” guest speaker at My Pillow guy’s Cyber Symposium

The Daily Sentinel reported today that Republican Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ office is under criminal investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) for an alleged election system security breach in which secret passwords to Mesa County’s voting machines were leaked and exposed on a right wing blog called GatewayPundit.

Why installing Rose Pugliese as County Attorney is a crazy mistake

Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist being considered for County Attorney.

A top headline in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel announced that former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which, as of 2019 was the highest-paid job in the County.

Based on Pugliese’s qualifications, or lack thereof, this is nothing short of crazy, and it smacks loudly of cronyism by Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs).

Pugliese won consideration as sole contender for the job despite having a track record that would probably get the rest of us fired.

Oh, where to begin?

Video shows Rep. Boebert accepting gift of a Glock pistol from member of the Three Percenters

Screenshot of video in which Boebert accepts a gift of a a customized pistol

Rural Colorado United emailed out a video January 25th showing CD-3 House Rep. Lauren Boebert accepting a gift of a custom-engraved Glock pistol from the Colorado group Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump.

The gift breaks several state and federal rules and laws:

1) It violates House ethics rules (pdf) which prohibit members of Congress from accepting gifts valued over $50. Glock 22s cost between $500 – $600 without custom engraving.

2)  As of 2013 it is illegal in Colorado to gift a gun to someone who is not an immediate relative (pdf) without first performing a background check, and,

3) Unauthorized use of the Congressional seal is a federal crime.

Boebert reimburses herself over $30k for mileage in 2020 — enough to circumnavigate the globe 1.5 times

Colorado Pols examined District 3 Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert’s campaign expenditures and discovered Ms. Boebert reimbursed herself a total of $30,177 in mileage expense from her campaign donations in 2020. She reimbursed herself about $22,000 of that in one lump on 11/11/2020.

For the sake of comparison, Colorado Pols compared Boebert’s mileage reimbursements with those of outgoing CD-3 Congressman Scott Tipton’s claimed mileage expenses over the entire time he served in Congress, and found Tipton reimbursed himself a total of $12,255 from his campaign — over the entire last TEN YEARS he held the office.

Mesa County’s newly-elected Republicans deny reality, promote conspiracies

Lauren Boebert is still promoting the lie that the election “isn’t over.”

With a few rare exceptions, it has become part and parcel of being a Mesa County Republican these days to flat-out lie to constituents, promote conspiracy theories, disdain science, cite full-on wacko nutbag sources of “information” to the public as though they were legitimate, authoritative sources and completely depart from reality to appeal to the base. We also are seeing an epidemic of Republican elected officials who, without having any background in medicine, epidemiology, virology, public health or any other scientific field, claim to know better than doctors and public health experts how to get us out of the pandemic.

That’s the case with many of our newly elected officials who are about to take office.

If you don’t think these folks are totally wack, just go check their social media accounts.

Mesa County Commissioners use taxpayer money to recruit evangelical Christian foster families

Janet Rowland’s religious nonprofit got $57,360 in taxpayer funds in 2017  to recruit Christian foster families and place adopted kids in religious homes. (Photo: KKCO 11 News)

Newly-discovered Mesa County documents (pdf) reveal that in 2017, the Board of County Commissioners handed over $57,000 in taxpayer funds to a Christian organization represented by Janet Rowland for the purpose of recruiting solely evangelical Christian foster families in Mesa County.

Rose Pugliese, John Justman and Scott McInnis — all Republicans — unanimously agreed to enter into a contract (pdf) to pay $57,360 in taxpayer funds to Project 1.27, a Christian ministry that works through churches to recruit religious foster and adoptive families to assure children are “cared for within Christian communities.”

Janet Rowland was Project 1.27’s national director.

The group engages in  “[foster] training with a solid Christian perspective,” and provides training to “Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.” The group’s website makes no mention of recruiting families belonging to any other religions or of no religion.

The county’s contract required 20 hours a month be spent on “faith based recruitment.”

Project 1.27’s website only addresses recruitment of Christian families, saying they provide “state-required, biblically-based training for Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.”

This is misleading since legally, no state can require “biblically-based training” in anything. Project 1.27’s website does not say it is open to recruitment of families from any other religion, or non-religious families.

Republican CD-3 candidate Lauren Boebert’s husband arrested in ’04 for indecent exposure to a minor

Lauren Boebert (formerly Lauren Roberts) and Jayson Boebert

A Garfield County Sheriff’s Office arrest report (pdf) has surfaced showing Lauren Boebert’s husband, Jayson, was arrested on January 28, 2004 for exposing his penis to young women at the Rifle Fireside Lanes Bowling Alley.

One of the victims was a minor who was 16 years old.

Lauren married Jayson in 2005, one and a half years after the indecent exposure incident.

CMU President Tim Foster appears to have quietly un-endorsed Janet Rowland

Original endorsement ad Janet Rowland posted ad on her Facebook page that violated the Hatch and Fair Campaign Practices Acts. She later revised it to remove Foster’s title as President of CMU.

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster appears to have quietly asked Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland (R) to remove any mention of his name from her campaign Facebook page, effectively un-endorsing her — a reversal of his previous whole-hearted endorsement.

Steve Bannon arrested for diverting donations from “Build the Wall” nonprofit to personal expenses, lavish lifestyle

Time magazine cover photo of Bannon, February, 2017

Western Colorado’s many Trump supporters won’t like today’s news that even more Trump associates are joining the universe of criminality surrounding President Donald Trump:

Former Trump campaign chair and White House adviser Steve Bannon has been arrested along with three others on charges they duped Trump’s supporters into believing they were contributing to building Trump’s border wall, when in reality Bannon and his colleagues diverted donations to fund their personal expenses and lavish lifestyles.

Bannon was arrested with veteran Brian Kolfage and political strategists Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea. The four operated a crowdfunding site called “We the People Build the Wall” that later became the nonprofit “Build the Wall.”