An unfair and off-balanced look at Colorado politics.

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Obama painting joins hall

By Charles Ashby
Monday, May 2, 2011

Though it was scheduled weeks ago, the timing was perfect for some that President Barack Obama's portrait was officially hung in the Hall of Presidents in the third-floor rotunda of the Colorado Capitol today, given yesterday's announcement by Obama that U.S. forces found and killed terrorist Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.

The portrait was painted by Colorado Springs artist Sara Boardman. It was done in the style of Massachusettes artist Lawrence Williams, who painted the portraits of all the other presidents in the hall. Williams died in 2003.


Dan Maes breaks silence

By Charles Ashby
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dan Maes, the GOP candidate for governor who only garnered 11 percent of the vote last year, sent out an email blast today to people once on his supporter list to talk about former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams and his conversations with him.

Maes started out facing several GOP candidates for governor, including former state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and former 3rd Congressional District congressman Scott McInnis. Penry ended up dropping out of the race and a few months before the August 2010 primary, McInnis' campaign was rocked by a plagiarism scandal, leaving Maes as the sole candidate.

Former congressman Tom Tancredo, a Republican who once represented the 6th Congressional Districts, didn't care for that. He briefly quit the Republican Party and became the gubernatorial candidate for the American Constitution Party. He later called on Maes to drop out, offering to do so too so the Republican Party could find what Tancredo called a more viable candidate. Maes refused.

As a result, Maes and Tancredo split the vote and Democrat John Hickenlooper became governor, even though the former Denver mayor still got 51.1 percent of the vote.

In his long message for former supporters, Maes says this:

The last important exchange that must be corrected was that of just days before the ballot certification via phone. Dick has publicly said that he had TT willing to get out if I would. Dick called me to say that a deal was available. I remained totally confused as to why this was happening but must admit that the constant pounding over that 24 hour period was wearing on me. The proposal was this. I had to write a letter stating I was stepping aside, as a man of honor, and I was to give Dick that letter. Then TT would do the same AFTER I did. Now my friends, I was born at night but, well , you know. I then said here is what I would consider. TT would first right his letter, give it to Dick, call me personally and tell me he was getting out, and then I would consider doing the same. You see, I knew that would never happen. And of coarse (sic), it didn't. Dick never mentioned that part of the conversation, did he?

More of his comments can be found here.


Suthers goes after another immigration service

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Attorney General John Suthers' office reached a settlement agreement today with a Colorado Springs business that offered immigration services in the state, requiring the business to pay a $20,000 restitution to its clients.

The company, Simply Done Immigration, had been selling immigration documents that people otherwise could have received for free from the U.S. Center for Immigration Services, a government program, Suthers' office said.

According to Suthers' office, the company falsely claimed that customers would receive help from specialists who actually turned out to be sales staff. The company was charging fees ranging from $300 to $1,000 for documents consumers could have gotten for free at

The office also said the company was trying to make it appear it was associated with the federal government.

Suthers said the company's business model was similar to another Colorado Springs firm, Immigration Center. The attorney general won a suit against that company in 2009, winning a $2.5 million default judgment.


Bruce appears in Denver court

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce appeared before a state judge Monday to answer an indictment that he's not guilty of several tax-related charges filed against him by a state grand jury.

As Colorado Springs Gazette reporter John Schroyer reports on his blog, Second Reading, the Colorado Springs resident told the judge he did nothing wrong.

Bruce, a former El Paso County commission who served one year in the Colorado House, called the charges politically motivated by Attorney General John Suthers. Both men are Republican.

Bruce faces charges of evasion of taxes, a class-five felony; filing a false tax return, a class-five felony; attempt to influence a public servant, a class-four felony; and failure to file a return or pay a tax, a misdemeanor offense. Bruce could face up to six years in prison or up to $500,000 in fines if convicted of the most serious charge, attempting to influence a public servant, a class-four felony.

He is to appear in court again in June.


Claims against state senator dismissed

By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Senate ethics committee looking into complaints that state Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, claimed too much in per diem was dismissed as frivolous today.

Stephanie Cegielski, executive director of the right-leaning Colorado Government Accountability, tried to claim that Morse, majority leader in the Colorado Senate, has claimed 331 days of per diem last year, but didn't work all those days.

While the number of days were more than any other lawmaker in recent memory, there was no evidence that Morse didn't actually work them and deserve the $99-a-day in per diem.

The committee of three Democrats and two Republicans had asked Cegielski to provide proof Morse violated any laws, but she did not respond. She formed her group a year ago allegedly to act as a watchdog of government, but has since been repeatedly criticized for doing work that is incomplete and partisan. Cegielski is a Republican.

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