Campaign Integrity Watchdog’s stunning upset victory against the legions of lawyers defending “Both-Ways Bob” Beauprez’s ‘Colorado Pioneer Action’ group after months of pre-trial legal wrangling and a grueling two-day evidentiary hearing continues to draw coverage (and comment).
The Final Agency Decision (FAD) finding Beauprez’s ‘Colorado Pioneer Action’ guilty of multiple violations of state law not only imposed substantial penalties (even at a 90% “discount” from the amounts that could have been, and should have been, imposed according to statute, the $17,735 penalty amount is the largest imposed pursuant to a court’s adjudication in state history) but also (and arguably more importantly) ordered Beauprez and CPA to register the organization as a political committee and to file all required disclosures for the entirety of the 2016 calendar year.
Media coverage thus far has remarked upon both the ruling itself and the implications for CPA.
- Beauprez Group Guilty of Violating Campaign Law (Colorado Pols, 26 April 2017)
Highlighting not only the victory, but the questionable ethics of Colorado Springs Gazette and (Gazette online offshoot) ColoradoPolitics.com articles slamming CIW’s officer Matt Arnold in particularly vitriolic ad hominem attacks disguised as “journalism” – while failing to disclose the large sums paid to the authors of the Gazette’s articles and editorials by ‘Colorado Pioneer Action.’ Pols echoed the finding of the Denver Post’s editorial editor Megan Schrader that the failure to disclose the monetary ties “touches on questions of journalistic integrity” and constituted an “an interesting display of questionable ethics.” (Denver Post, “A sordid tale of Colorado campaign finance“, 4 April)
The Pols article was brutally frank in dismissing Gazette writer Njegomir’s disclaimer of knowledge that he was conducting political opposition “research” on candidates:
So we’re clear, folks, the odds that Dan Njegomir was not aware that Janak Joshi and Gordon Klingenschmitt were candidates at the time they were targeted by Pioneer Action are somewhere in the neighborhood of 0%. In fact, it’s patently ridiculous.
The article concluded:
In other words, Pioneer Action was found guilty of exactly what Arnold accused them of, and exactly what Njegomir denied on the witness stand. It’s an enormous credibility hit to Dan Njegomir and Bob Beauprez, and a major vindication for Colorado’s premiere political gadfly.
The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins, who was present to cover the trial, also wrote an article (“Judge says ex-Congressman Bob Beauprez’s group must pay $17,000 in campaign finance fines“) noting that “damages could have been 10 times worse— more than $170,000— but Spencer said he had discretion to reduce it” and commenting on the nature of enforcing campaign finance law in Colorado – which relies on private parties, not the state, to identify and prosecute violations.
Hutchins also quoted the Colorado Secretary of State’s office opposing the verdict – but failed to note the Secretary’s own pattern of violating campaign finance law, misallocating taxpayer resources to defend his political allies, and failing to collect campaign finance debts owed the state by his political allies from judgments imposed by court orders (in violation of his duties under state law).
The Gazette’s coverage was terse, and failed to mention any of the ethical issues surrounding the paper’s coverage of Campaign Integrity Watchdog in the weeks leading up to the trial. Shocking.
- Crickets from Colorado’s “newspaper of record” Denver Post
Aside from the editorial noting the Gazette’s questionably ethical coverage of the pre-trial and trial phases of the case, the Denver Post has yet to publish any “news” about the verdict. Shocking.
Perhaps the most extensive coverage was published in the monthly, Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle, in the May edition.
The Chronicle’s article covers not only the judgment in the latest case, but provides additional background on the pattern of “Both-Ways Bob” activities in a similar vein in past election cycles, including dirty-tricks dark-money operations supporting Beauprez’s 2nd failed run for governor.
The article indulges in some informed speculation on the likely sources of CPA’s secret funding, and concludes by noting:
In this litigation Matt Arnold has scored an incredible victory against overwhelming odds. It is truly a David versus Goliath matchup. Arnold is not an attorney yet he bested one of the best law firms in the state. Beauprez has millions at his disposal from people who will do anything to prevent from having to come out of the shadows.
If there is anyone in Colorado who will find out who the dark money source is, it will be watchdog Matt Arnold. It is not easy to fight alone against some of the richest and most powerful people in the state. Incredibly he seems not to be deterred. We can’t wait to see what he discovers next.