The Lehman family which publishes the Loveland Reporter-Herald and Longmont Times-Call endorsed embattled Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez today in dual editorials fueling further speculation that the northern Front Range papers are enveloped in a media blackhole. Beauprez’s campaign has been mired in scandal for the last week since initial news reports alleged that an attack ad against Democratic candidate Bill Ritter featured non-public information from a restricted federal crime database.
On October 17, the FBI formally joined the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the matter. The Rocky Mountain News reported the federal penalties for both unauthorized access or exceeding one’s lawful access of the database is punishable by one year in prison and fines. Other charges are likely, inlcuding conveying of federal records which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and fines. State penalties may also apply.
Needless to say, these are very serious charges for both the person who obtained the information and those who accepted it.
On Friday, October 19, statewide media was abuzz with the announcement that Cory Voorhis, a registered Republican and Denver-based Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, was targeted by the FBI and CBI as the possible perpetrator.
Hours later, Beauprez held a hastily arranged press conference to again deny involvement. Incredulously, he called the ICE agent a “whistleblower” and “conscientious member of law enforcement” for leaking sealed criminal records to benefit his political campaign.
Meanwhile, the Reporter-Herald and Times-Call completely turned a blind eye to Colorado’s own version of the infamous Watergate scandal in which White House operatives illegally obtained information for use against their political enemies.
Nowhere in the editorials is there any mention of this scandal nor the repeated and well-documented missteps of the Beauprez campaign including:
- Lt. Governor candidate Janet Rowland’s foray into the scourge of sheep marriage
- the League of Conservation Voters naming Beauprez to it’s annual Dirty Dozen list
- a desperate and ill-considered fundraising letters to a public official of the other party
- a gross exaggeration of abortion statistics for which he was pressured to apologize
- approval of natural gas drilling in environmentally sensitive areas and municipal watersheds on the Western Slope
- the curious purchase of a Beauprez nephew’s prized bull at the National Western Stock Show Junior Assocation by a private prison firm that has contributed to both congressional and gubernatorial campaigns
- a ludicrious plan to train elk to migrate around oil and gas drills
That the editorial board ignored the very tepid response Beauprez received during an August 28 debate with Ritter in Loveland – before the CBI/FBI probe was even a glimmer in the media’s eye – truly belies the logic of this endorsement.