First up: the Colorado Senate race. Republican Bob Schaffer has been busy trying to explain his past associations and actions away since announcing. From a growing mound of evidence demonstrating his connections to the ethically corrupt Jack Abramoff and his support for sweatshops and forced abortions to not being able to recognize the difference between Pikes Peak and Mt. McKinley (which is in Alaska, Bob), things have been busy. Now another piece of Bob’s past is coming back to haunt him.
A Republican activist from Aurora who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in connection with a larger fraud prosecution was sentenced Monday to a year’s probation and a $3,450 fine. Scott Shires, 55, faced up to a year in prison after pleading guilty to filing false tax returns in connection with a case against his one-time employer, Octane International Limited, which purported to be making an alternative-fuel additive. Shires is well connected in GOP circles in Colorado and recruited Bob Schaffer to be a board member of Octane International in 2004.
Part of the problem here: Bob Schaffer first said he hadn’t been compensated for his services as a board member. Turns out, he did. But Bob left his income from Octane off of a 2007 campaign disclosure form. Rank-and-file Republicans might want to take a closer look at their party’s leadership: the propensity to volunteer and donate doesn’t seem to happen too much up at the top. Given Republican officials constant charges aimed at Democrats, it seems they know best what elitism really is.
[Update] Another poll shows Mark Udall with the same 9-point lead over Bob Schaffer that a Rasmussen poll showed earlier. This poll has Udall up 46%-37%. Considering the only ads that have gone out have been generic, introductory-style, I don’t see things getting better for Schaffer any time soon.
Second: Colorado’s 4th Congressional District (CO-04). Democrat Betsy Markey is targeting Marilyn Musgrave’s seat. Previously, the DCCC had announced it is including Markey in their Red to Blue program. In 2006, “Red to Blue” raised an average of over $400,000 per candidate. Expect that number to grow this year with the increased focus and energy on the poor state of our nation. Now, word comes that environmental groups are also planning on targeting CO-04, possibly to the tune of $500,000 by themselves. The group spent $1.5 million to oust the ethically challenged Republican Richard Pombo of California in 2006 (does anyone see a pattern here?).
Marilyn Musgrave has been a very loyal pro-oil and gas voter while in Congress (for tax breaks for large corporations & against increased gas mileage for vehicles). After her very narrow win in 2006, she has made a concerted effort to change her image. Which sort of makes her actions even more out of step with Coloradans. We don’t tend to like hypocrites.
Add in what Betsy Markey herself will raise, a competitive Senate seat and a competitive Presidential contest and a whole lot of money will likely be spent in Colorado this year.
Third: Citizens are asking the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to not issue one-size-fits-all rules that they are considering for oil and gas drilling. Conditions aren’t the same around the state, they argue, and so any rules they develop should reflect that. I don’t know all the ins and outs of their individual cases or how the proposed rules would impact them, but on the surface I tend to agree with their statement. We’ll see how the rules are eventually implemented. What I don’t think is that if the rules are implemented, oil and gas industries will collapse in Colorado.