Babbitt: Dirty campaign tactics supporting Millie Hamner
Ryan Summerlin October 29, 2012
Re: “Friction peaks between candidates at Frisco forum,” by Caddie Nath, Oct. 12 and “Mammogram mudslinging targets independent HD61 hopeful,” by Caddie Nath, Oct. 17
SDN reported CO House District 61 independent candidate Kathleen Curry’s complaints about negative radio and mailer ads attacking her health care record. Ads supporting Democrat candidate Millie Hamner accuse Curry of writing a bill to let insurers deny care for mammograms, a charge she vehemently denies. In response, Hamner has asserted: “I am running a clean and positive campaign. I’ve never said a negative word about any of my opponents.” Democratic Party official Matt Inzeo told SDN he was not familiar with the ad campaign: “I haven’t seen them or the issues they address.” Since the SDN articles, additional mailers have appeared that falsely accuse both Curry and Republican candidate Debra Irvine of allowing insurance companies to deny coverage for mammograms, restrict access to birth control, and that they do not support insurance coverage for children with pre-existing conditions and want to prevent insurers from cancelling coverage when a policy-holder gets sick. The mailers include photographs of Hamner and state that “only Millie Hamner will stand up for women’s health.” I know Debra Irvine, and I can assure voters that these attacks are baseless lies.
Some research into these mailers raises questions. SDN noted that the Colorado Secretary of State website (Tracer) contains detailed information on candidates and political committees, including the Colorado Accountable Government Alliance Independent Expenditure Committee (CAGA), the organization paying for the negative mailers. CAGA has assets of over $3.5M and funds national campaigns of Democrat candidates; its donors include many unions and special interest groups supporting liberal views. Tracer reveals that, contrary to Hamner and Inzeo claims, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in Wash DC contributed $100k to CAGA. Tracer reveals that Hamner’s campaign paid tens of thousands on professional photo shoots and mailers to Mad Dog Mail, a Florida firm specializing in ads for Democratic candidates. Tracer also shows that Hamner paid the Colorado Democrat Party $357 for a “Mad Dog Photo Shoot.” That might explain how the offensive CAGA mailers got access to the many professional photos of Ms. Hamner which are very similar to photos in Hamner’s own mailers. Hamner and the Colorado Democratic Party should explain how CAGA received campaign photos of Hamner, given that it is a violation of election laws for a candidate to coordinate with 527 groups on election materials.
As a former education committee member, I resent the use of education and teachers union funds to influence elections, especially considering that teachers have no control over how their dues are used. I urge voters to ignore these hurtful, libelous ads.