Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Democratic chicanery in Colorado
Special to the Daily
September 11, 2012: four Americans, including our ambassador, were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. The Obama administration lied about the cause for weeks, misrepresented known facts and in the end shrugged the whole thing off. Remember “What difference does it make?” There’s nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
The governor of New Jersey, who Democrats have somehow divined as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2016, may or may not have been involved in creating a four-day traffic jam on a well-traveled bridge. According to Democrats and their useful fools in the media, it’s THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT. Number of deaths: zero.
This is not to belittle political interference in the operation of government, either to reward friends or punish enemies. This is a serious issue, one that the Founders were concerned enough about to distribute power widely in an effort to thwart. But complaints of this sort about malfeasance coming from a party whose leader habitually uses the organs of government in this manner has a powerful stench of hypocrisy. Think of the IRS and 400-plus “TEA party-type groups,” or the EPA and the Gibson guitar company, or your tax dollars and Solyndra if there is doubt.
Colorado, smug as we are about our enlightened state, is not immune to these abuses. Consider the strange case of our Sen. Mark Udall, the state’s Department of Regulatory Affairs, and 250,000 Coloradoans whose health care policies were canceled in the wake of Obamacare’s implementation.
That number is significant not only for the inconvenience and additional expense it represents to the people involved, but for the issue it raises for the senator’s re-election campaign. Remember, Udall echoed the president’s promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” It’s part of the public record. He didn’t say “If you like your health care plan, you can buy another one like it, for a little more money,” weasely staff explanations to the contrary.
So like any unscrupulous politician with something to lose, when Colorado’s Department of Insurance noted that 250,000 people here had lost coverage because of Obamacare, he had his staff do the dirty work. His Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Britton emailed and phoned state Department of Insurance employee Jo Donlin demanding the embarrassing figure be redacted — or else. Donlin blew the whistle, and the wagons started circling.
It didn’t take long for Alan Salazar, one of Gov. Hickenlooper’s principal advisors and a former Udall staffer, to be in touch with Marguerite Salazar, Colorado’s Insurance Commissioner. In their exchange, released in response to an open-records request, she responded that “we all want the same thing.” Over the next few days, what that was became clear.
On Jan. 14, two days after the “hostile phone call” accusation surfaced, Barbara Kelley, Gov. Hickenlooper’s appointee to head Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies, announced that she had convened a “neutral and objective panel” which interviewed the people involved, gathered emails, and had come to the conclusion that nothing untoward happened. But Ms. Kelley’s account had some gaps.
Who was on the panel? She wouldn’t say. What documents were involved? She wouldn’t say. What was the process? She wouldn’t say. But, she insisted, there was “no evidence of intimidation or coercion.” Thanks to open records requests from “Complete Colorado,” whose coverage of this sordid mess has been more persistent than most of Colorado’s flaccid and agenda-driven media, we now know a bit more.
The “neutral and objective panel” consisted of three members: Ms. Kelley, her Deputy Michelle Pedersen, and John Cevette, former chief of staff for Colorado’s Senate Democrats. No record of the alleged interviews, or of any formal meeting exists. No agenda, no notes, no documentation of any kind. And since Ms. Kelley has been backtracking on her original statement since it was issued, there’s ample reason to suspect that she simply lied to cover up a matter potentially damaging to the good Sen. Udall, desperately trying to make it go away.
Republican legislators have called for hearings on the harassment and the cover-up. Democrats, who control the legislative committees, have denied the requests.
What does it say about the citizens of Colorado that our political leaders believe they can pull this scam off without a murmur? How arrogant are they, and how stupid and sheep-like do they think us, that they assume they can bury this example of political thuggery with a simple say-so? “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”
But there is, and we should all take a long look.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.
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