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.
At least one ethics complaint submitted to the State of Colorado about Mesa County’s crazy Clerk Tina Peters is starting to bear fruit.
Luis Lipchak, the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Enforcement Manager, determined that a complaint by Mesa County resident Scott Bielfuss (pdf) alleging that Peters violated campaign finance laws has merit and their office has decided to pursue it.
Bielfuss alleged that Peters “flew up to Mr Pillows cybers-symposium on a private plane provided to her and is staying as a guest of the Pillow foundation in clear violation of accepting gift laws. Complainant [Bielfuss] alleges that by engaging in the aforementioned activities, Respondent [Peters] failed to report contributions or expenditures associated with said activities and accepted gifts over allowed amounts.”
Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) Jena Griswold filed a lawsuit today asking a judge to remove Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters as Designated Election Official (DEO) for the county. The suit asks for Wayne Williams to be appointed as the DEO and Sheila Reiner be appointed Director of Elections for Mesa County. Sheila will apparently replace Brandi Bantz, who was Director of Elections for Mesa County according to her LinkedIn page. Bantz was the fourth Director of Elections Peters hired during her tenure.
A press release said the SOS was acting quickly because time is short before the November elections. It also said that the legal action “is necessary because although the Secretary of State’s Office can require supervision of a county clerk’s conduct, it cannot remove a sitting county clerk from acting as the Designated Election Official.” The suit asks a judge to remove Peters.
Item #7 on the agenda at the Mesa County Commissioners’ meeting tomorrow (Monday, August 30) at 9:00a.m., is signing a contract, (pdf) drafted by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams himself, that will officially make Williams Mesa County’s Designated Election Official (“DEO”) for the November 2021 coordinated election for the County. The contract says Williams will get a salary of $180/hour, discounted from his normal rate of $400/hour, and Mesa County will pay any non-lawyer assistants Williams taps from his law firm for help at the rate of $50/hour. The County will also pay Williams’ travel expenses to and from his home in Colorado Springs.
There is no stated maximum expense Mesa County will incur from retaining Williams for this position. Rather, the contract states the expense can be unlimited:
“Any estimate of fees and costs that we may have discussed is only an estimate, and is not an agreement to a fixed or maximum fee. Accordingly, we have made no commitment concerning the maximum fees and costs that will be necessary to resolve or complete this matter.”
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.
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.
Rumors are that former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese hopes to run as the Republican candidate for Colorado Secretary of State, but thanks to the recent antics of her Republican pal, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, there is no clearer indication anywhere on Earth that any candidate is so absolutely unsuited for office than Rose Pugliese is for Colorado Secretary of State.
That’s all anyone needs to know, and it should put an immediate end to Rose’s political ambitions in Colorado, forever, period.
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.”
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.”
“To be very clear, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder allowed a security breach and by all evidence at this point, assisted it.”
So this appears to be the big news from Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium. They are saying Jena Griswold, the Colorado Secretary of State, along with Dominion “raided” the elections department of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (with a search warrant). pic.twitter.com/PvSSpxYq8E
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) August 11, 2021
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.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a National Terrorism Advisory (pdf) 1/27, warning of a heightened risk of violence by domestic extremist groups across the country who have been emboldened by the insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th.
The Advisory says,
- “…some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”
The Advisory says domestic violence extremists (DVEs) are
- “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and … opposition to immigration…”
The bulletin further states,
• Threats of violence against critical infrastructure…increased in 2020 with violent extremists citing misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 for their actions.”
Local elected officials promote this extremist ideology
Donald Trump repeatedly claimed in the months following the election that he had won the election by a landslide, but it was stolen from him due to massive voter fraud.
It was the most outlandish lie of Trump’s term, maybe the craziest of his life, and it led thousands of his supporters to violently attack the Capitol in an insane attempt to overturn the results of the election on his behalf. We all watched, horrified, as hordes of angry Trump supporters bashed their way through barriers and stormed the Capitol holding their Confederate and “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow Gadsden flags, intent on capturing and killing legislators, journalists and anyone with a political opinion different from their own. The insurrection, based on lies, caused the death of five people, including a police officer.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports today that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters tweeted from her personal Twitter account on January 3, 2021 about just how unsafe and insecure local elections are. Peters wrote the Tweet “as the one that administers elections in my county.”
Peters boasted about how one can count ballots that favor a certain candidate more than once, or how it is possible to “change algorithm in a voting machine.”
Click to hear the radio ad write-in candidate Bob Prescott made in response to Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis’ repeated bullying (now playing on Moose Country radio stations):
The leader of Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs), Scott McInnis, has told write-in commissioner candidate Bob Prescott to his face, twice now, that he needs to get out of the race, because “You’re not on the team,” and “You need to just go away” because “you’ve already lost.”
Prescott reports McInnis dissed him this way most recently at a Mesa County Republican Party luncheon held at Warehouse 2565 where around 30 people were in attendance.
Why is McInnis so rude to Prescott?
Employees of the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections department haven’t correctly understood what counts as a valid write-in vote, but the misunderstanding was discovered in enough time to correct it before the November general election.
The problem became apparent on July 13, 2020 when write-in candidate for the District 3 County Commissioner seat Bob Prescott, went to the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections Office to ask exactly what constitutes a valid write-in vote.
Prescott asks the clerk “What do you consider a legal vote” for a write-in candidate?
The clerk responds “That’s up to you. It needs to appear just like this, as ‘Bob Prescott.’ If they put in ‘Robert,” it would be rejected.”
According to Colorado law, that information was wrong.
Eagle County Treasurer and Public Trustee Teak Simonton (pdf) produced a report to the Colorado Secretary of State (pdf) on August 7 reviewing and making recommendations to improve the operations of the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections Office. The Colorado Department of State hired Simonton as a consultant to observe the Elections Division during the June 30th primary and make recommendations for improvement. Simonton, who has 14 years of experience in administering elections, concluded that while there is a lack of experience among the staff, numerous problems that need fixing and best practices that are not being employed, the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections staff as a whole is a dedicated and capable group of employees.
Her review of the Mesa County Clerk herself, though, was not good.
Now that the effort to recall Mesa County’s retaliatory, blaming, bumbling and high-spending Republican County Clerk Tina Peters fell short about 1,000 signatures of the 12,192 needed, and Peters has refused to resign, citizens must continue to put up with Clerk Tina, her embarrassing social media antics and her now infamous inability to handle the duties of her office.
Case in point: the massive employee turnover in her office is continuing just one day after the recall effort failed.
The County has posted yet another job opening for an Elections Manager, on August 5, this time just three months before the November, 3 2020 election, and just a day after the failure of the recall attempt against her was announced.
After she was elected, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters spent a substantial amount of money remodeling her personal office.
Ms. Peters used over $3,600 in taxpayer funds to purchase paint and furnishings, including a $700 executive desk, two reclining chairs, a 50″ flat panel TV with wall mount, surge protectors and cables (pdf), framed wall posters, fancy pull knobs (pdf), an ice bucket (pdf) and other items from Home Depot, (pdf) American Furniture Warehouse (pdf), City Market and Ross Dress for Less. (pdf)
The above photo is of Clerk Tina’s remodeled office.
You can page through a complete, documented accounting of her office remodeling expenditures here.
Taxpayers should get to see it. After all, they paid for it.