The Latest Trailhead Boondoggle

State Rep. Buffie McFadyen is the latest to get wacked by the Trailhead Group – and is the latest Democrat to consider taking legal action against the Denver-based group for attacking her with misleading ads.

An article in today’s Pueblo Chieftain details the attack, and the possibility that a criminal complaint will be filed against Trailhead for producing misleading information. Specifically, the group is accusing the second-term Democrat from Pueblo West of voting for fee increases. However, the bills that Trailhead attacks McFadyen for didn’t include fee increases.The newspaper says that Alan Philp, Trailhead executive director, claims there are “plenty of examples showing McFadyen’s voting record for raising taxes and increasing fees.”\

However, Philp did not specify any examples to the newspaper.

Philp couldn’t explain why the ads highlight HB1151 and two other measures that don’t actually raise taxes, impose fees or hikes utility rates.

“We could have chosen more compelling examples, and in the future we’ll do that,” Philp said. “But we had a long list, and we apparently chose fairly randomly which ones to select.”

In recent weeks, Trailhead has been accused of airing misleading and false ads against Democrats in other Colorado races as well, including John Morse, who is running against Ed Jones in Senate District 11. Other ads have attacked Betty Boyd, who is running against Matt Knoedler in Lakewood. Even Trailhead, a Buena Vista-based outdoor outfitter, has denounced the political group with the same name.

Last year, the Colorado legislature established a law outlawing such false ads.

Specifically, the law stipulates that it is a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to “…recklessly make, publish, broadcast, or circulate or cause to be made, published, broadcasted or circulated in any letter, circular, advertisement, or poster or any other communication any false statement designed to affect the vote on any issue submitted to the electors at any election or relating to any candidate for election to public office.”

This is not the first run-in that McFadyen has had with Trailhead. On Aug. 31, the two-term legislator, a staunch opponent of private prisons, was accused of “using her office to enrich herself,” the Chieftain reported.

But another recent Chieftain piece suggests that Trailhead may be wasting their money going after McFadyen. On Aug. 13, the newspaper noted the following about McFadyen’s Republican challenger in the race, Jeff Shaw:

It’s been hard for Shaw to get fully geared up for the race right now after his wife, Dacia, gave him the news earlier this summer that she’s expecting the couple’s first child.

“We just found out a couple of weeks ago that she’s pregnant, which is going to make this campaign a little bit more interesting,” Shaw said during an interview in his law office in the Thatcher Building on Pueblo’s Main Street. “We had been trying to have children, but decided to stop for a while and go through the campaign, and then see what happens. Next thing I know, we’ve got a baby due in March.”