A short blurb in the Sunday, Feb. 8, 2020 Daily Sentinel offers a lesson on why Republicans are such harmful elected officials.
The Sentinel has a regular weekly news quiz on Fridays, and gives the results in the following Sunday paper. An item today stood out for what it demonstrates about the ramifications of conservative Republican views not just for the western slope, but for society.
History shows that if Republicans had their way in the last century, most of America wouldn’t have electricity.
Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner voted this afternoon to acquit President Trump of the high crimes of obstructing Congress and abusing the power of his office, even though House Representatives presented overwhelming evidence during the impeachment trial that the President was guilty on both charges. A vote of two thirds of the Senate was required to convict the President. With the exception of a single Republican vote by Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to remove the President, the vote was divided along party lines.
The House accused the President of withholding taxpayer funds destined for Ukraine in an attempt to force Ukraine to announce fake investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden — a move that Trump envisioned would advantage him in the 2020 elections — and of blocking Congress from accessing witnesses and documents pertinent to the President’s actions.
GAO concluded Trump broke the law
A rally to urge Colorado’s elected officials to impeach and remove President Donald Trump is planned in Grand Junction on Tuesday, December 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the federal building at 400 Rood Ave. Senator Cory Gardner’s office is in the federal building on Rood and House Representative Tipton’s office is in the Alpine Bank Building next door.
This national mobilization is scheduled the day before the House of Representatives is expected to vote on adopting two Articles of Impeachment (pdf) against President Trump that the House Judiciary Committee approved on Friday, December 13. The articles describe high crimes and misdemeanors the President has committed while in office:
The large number of Trump supporters living on Colorado’s western slope no doubt vehemently oppose his impeachment. This blog is to help them understand why impeaching the President is imperative to protect our country, our democracy and our national sovereignty.
Trump has broken important U.S. laws, multiple times. In so doing, he has demonstrated that he poses a profound threat to our country. One of the laws he violated protects our country from foreign interference at very high levels of government:
Soliciting foreign interference in our elections
Trump has repeatedly invited foreign interference in our elections to benefit himself, an act that violates 52 U.S. Code § 30121, titled “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals.” This law states it is illegal for a person to solicit or accept “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national, “or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election” with a foreign national.
Every elected official in Colorado is now on notice: you cannot block constituents from your official social media accounts because they don’t agree with your point of view. If you do, you’re breaking the law.
ACLU of Colorado announced a settlement (pdf) today on behalf of Anne Landman, a constituent who State Senator Ray Scott blocked from his official social media accounts in 2017 after she was publicly critical of several of his policy positions. As a result of the lawsuit, Scott has now unblocked Landman and must refrain from censoring anyone else with critical viewpoints from his social media accounts as a Senator, or in any future elected position.
“The overwhelming majority of cases has made very clear that the official social media pages of public officials, like Senator Scott’s, are public forums where individual’s speech is constitutionally protected,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Sara Neel. “Recognizing this, Senator Scott has agreed to unblock all users from his social media pages and will not block anyone else in the future based on viewpoint.”
Upset citizens have been contacting the City of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department and the Mesa County Elections Bureau left and right to complain about the “Recall Polis” campaign violating laws by putting up tables and signage in places that require permitting or where it is prohibited by law.
In the photo above, the Recall Polis people had set up their operation at Spring Valley Park on Patterson Road, a public park. A reader sent the above photo and complained to the City about it, upon which G.J. Parks and Rec Department responded:
[Update 8/14/19: Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland pulled this ad from her Facebook page after this article was published].
People are questioning whether an ad that Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland recently posted on her campaign Facebook page violates the law.
In the ad, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster endorses Rowland for commissioner in his capacity as president of CMU, not as a private individual as the law requires. The law says Foster is permitted to make such an endorsement, but ONLY in his capacity as a private individual; he is specifically prohibited from using his position as a state employee for politicking or attempting to influence an election.
The ad appears to violate two separate federal laws: the Hatch Act and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
Technical guidance issued for state employees by the Colorado’s Division of Human Resources (pdf) on the implementation of these laws states,
“The Hatch Act limits the political activities of individuals employed in state departments and higher education institutions (departments) that have programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”
CMU accepts federal funding, thus Foster is subject to both laws.
A Daily Sentinel article from May 24 details how Republican State Senator Ray Scott double-billed his legislative expense account and his campaign account for over $1,000 in Uber rides, and didn’t correct it until the Sentinel exposed it and questioned him about it. The Sentinel obtained information on Scott’s expenditures through a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to the state.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported on March 15 that Mesa County’s three Republican County Commissioners publicly admonished a Collbran landowner for violating the law by hosting commercial events on his property for years without required permits.
Then they rewarded him by making his activities legal.