August, 8th 2007

More problems for the Republican running for the open CO-Sen seat

– Liz Mair

A while back, I wrote about how the Republican nominee-presumptive, who will face off against Mark Udall in the battle to replace Wayne Allard in the CO-Sen race next year, seemed to have got himself in a spot of bother by virtue of having taken campaign contributions from those connected with a company, to which he helped dish out money in connection with charter school programs.

Well, it turns out that this might be worse than it looked on the face of it when I first wrote on this (which was bad enough, given that Colorado is not a good environment for Republicans at the moment at all). From ColoradoPols:

Check out this highlight from a press release sent out today:

Schaffer, in his current role as a member of the Colorado State Board of Education, recently cast the deciding vote for a for-profit company, owned by David Brennan, to continue to receive hundreds of thousands of Colorado taxpayer dollars for programs that the company sells to Denver's charter schools. (Denver Post, May 10, 2007). The Denver School Board had voted 6-1 to get rid of Brennan's costly programs. (Rocky Mountain News, May 10, 2007)

Schaffer took money from Brennan both before and after the vote. Schaffer still has not disclosed to the State Board that since this recent vote he has taken thousands of dollars more in campaign contributions from Brennan within weeks of his vote for Brennan's company...

...In the December 10, 2006, Schaffer lectured his fellow Board Members on the need for disclosure of political contributions to members of the SBOE.(SBOE Recorded Minutes 12/10/2006, 2:47:10) Schaffer pontificated “Government grant making as the most corrupt aspect of civil government in America.”

SBOE Member Karen Middleton called on Schaffer to pursue a “written conflict of interest policy” for the members of the SBOE. (SBOE Recorded Minutes 12/10/2006, 2:44:05)

Schaffer, while agreeing to take the lead on drafting a policy over eight months ago, has yet to introduce a SBOE Conflicts-of-Interest Disclosure Policy.[
My emphasis]

Whoops! It's one thing to try to explain away a vote that appeared to be a conflict of interest, but when you were waving the flag over making disclosures just a few months earlier...well, this is really starting to look bad. The public thinks every politician takes money for favors, so there was only so much damage this could have done, but when you can throw in a word like "hypocrisy" it makes things a whole lot worse.

Yeah. Now, I know that it's a liberal group making a big deal about this, and some people would say a center-right commentator shouldn't be lending credence to such things, but the point is, the electorate are going to hear about this and I think it's another big problem for Schaffer, who I don't think is likely to take more than 48% in this race, as it stands.


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