In a video taken last September, House Rep. Lauren Boebert touts “replacement theory,” the racist ideology that led an 18-year old to massacre ten Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, March 14, 2022. Payton Gendron, the shooter, left behind a 180-page manifesto that showed he was fixated on the idea that White people in the U.S. are being intentionally replaced — the same idea Boebert spouts in this video.
A third ethics complaint (pdf) was filed against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on May 9, 2022.
This one is about her failure to report contributions to her legal defense fund, in particular the $800,000 donation that My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell said he made to Peters’ fund. Lindell disclosed the donation at an election denier event at the state Capitol April 5. 9News in Denver described it as the single biggest contribution ever made to any elected official in Colorado history. The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) designated the latest complaint as Complaint No. 22-22. It is the third ethics complaint filed against Peters since she became a high-profile election denier.
Taking a leaf from the QAnon playbook of turning school boards into battlegrounds for unhinged conservative politics, a woman named Gabriella Moorman threatened individual members of the Telluride School District board in San Miguel County as a way to rail against district policies that guided masking during the pandemic, sex education, Critical Race Theory (which is not taught in K-12 schools) and other practices and policies the school board has taken in the past.
Moorman wrote to board members that “you could lose your house, your cars, your job, your retirement, etc., if you DO NOT PAY ATTENTION. You are inviolation of multiple State, Federal and International laws … and you could be facing time in FEDERAL PRISON for your actions if you do not cease and desist.”
Tina Peters was booked into the Mesa County jail this afternoon on $500,000 cash-only bond after surrendering at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Daily Sentinel, if she is convicted on all charges, and if they run consecutively, Peters could get a maximum penalty of 28 years in jail and $2.7 million in fines, and Knisley could get a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison and $2 million in fines.
Peters blamed her arrest on Democrats and establishment Republicans who dislike Donald Trump. She gave a long statement to the Daily Sentinel that said in part, “Using a grand jury to formalize politically motivated accusations against candidates is (a) tactic long employed by the Democrat Party.”
The grand jury indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters this morning (pdf) on 13 counts related to her official misconduct and tampering with election equipment. The charges include a mix of felonies and misdemeanors.
Peters is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant (a Class 4 felony), one count of attempting to influence a public servant (a Class 5 felony), one count of criminal impersonation (a Class 6 felony), one count of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation (a Class 6 felony); one count of identify theft (a Class 4 felony) and one count of first-degree official misconduct, a Class 2 misdemeanor. Peters is also charged with one count each of violation of duty and failure to comply with the Secretary of State, both unclassified misdemeanor offenses.
The grand jury also indicted Deputy Mesa County Clerk Belinda Knisely on violation of duty, failure to comply with the Secretary of State, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, and multiple counts of attempting to influence a public servant.
Speaking to members of the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club on February 21, 2022 (video), Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters claimed that she was “framed” when election workers found “429 ballots” uncollected in a ballot box from the 2019 election.
The ballots were discovered when election workers went to empty the box for the 2020 election, but Peters refused to petition a judge to open and count them and include them in the final vote tally from the 2019 election. In her talk, Peters also got the number of uncounted ballots wrong. 574 ballots were discovered left in the ballot box, not 429.
Peters claimed without evidence that “they stuffed the ballot box with 479 ballots” in order to “take over my office” and said it was part of an effort to “take over the western slope.”
Lots of people have been saying it under their breath, but no one has come out and said it publicly. Mostly people have just gotten angry at Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters for her increasingly strange behavior, but maybe it’s time to start pitying Tina.
We can all agree that Tina’s behavior has been very far outside what is considered normal for an elected county clerk:
Normal clerks don’t compromise their own election equipment. They don’t flee the state on private jets, spend weeks hiding in safe houses in secret locations around the country or accept largesse from multi-millionaires to promote wacky election conspiracy theories. Normal clerks don’t blow off their obligation as clerks (pdf) to get certified to run elections as the state requires. Normal clerks don’t proclaim that the candidates who won an election shouldn’t have won because they were the wrong people to win. Normal county clerks don’t get their homes raided by the FBI.
On February 11, 2022, the same day she was officially arrested and booked on charges of obstruction, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appeared as a speaker at an “Emergency Town Hall” event held by the right wing extremist group Faith, Education, Commerce United in Castle Rock, Colorado.
During the Q &A, a member of the audience asks Peters:
“I’d like to hear from Tina. Would you bring us up to speed on all this? I read in the paper … I don’t get it, I mean I sort of get it, but the whole thing .. They walk into a restaurant, they arrest you and then they let you go. I don’t get it. Could you give us a nice little synopsis here? What started this in the first place?”
Tina responds by saying in part,
“So I did not go out on a fishing expedition, I did not go out to, you know, find something to prove that Trump won. It was very obvious, I think, to everybody. But when I saw the City Council election, I said ‘there’s no way, there is NO WAY that these people won in our town.'”
Matt Crane, the Executive Director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, who is a Republican, responded to this statement by Tina Peters by saying:
Embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters doubled down on her wild, unfounded claims of election fraud in a “Thursday Night Patriot” Zoom call held November 18 that featured both her and Sherronna Bishop, just days after law enforcement executed legal searches on both their homes pursuant to ongoing criminal investigations into Mesa County’s compromised election equipment.
Bishop posted a recording of the hour-plus long Zoom call on her Facebook page. Over 100 attendees joined the call, and the video has had over 5,800 views. The video excerpt above is the roughly four minutes in which Tina Peters spoke.
In May, 2020, Lauren Boebert, the Republican candidate for House Representative in the 3rd Congressional District (our district), was a guest on an online right wing political talk show called “Steel Truth” hosted by Ann Vandersteel.
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) May 18, 2020