Long Live the Vilsack

For what may be the last time…


You’d be hard-pressed to find a more corrupt county government in the country than Jefferson County has been in the last couple of years. Republicans have been running around the “Taj Mahal” like high school kids whose parents are out of town. As Ann Schrader of The Denver Post reports:

Jefferson County commissioners are urging county employees to cooperate with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as it probes the hiring of a private investigator with public money.
Last week, Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey asked the CBI to look into allegations that Commissioner Jim Congrove and former County Attorney Frank Hutfless used taxpayer money to hire a friend of Congrove’s to investigate county workers and private citizens.

Congrove has said he welcomes the CBI investigation as a way to answer any questions about the work. Professional Investigators Inc. – operated by former Denver police Officer Daril Cinquanta – was paid more than $7,500 last year to investigate a county critic and others over a 16-month period.

In a memo posted Wednesday on the county’s intranet, the three commissioners listed a CBI phone number that employees can call. If employees are contacted by the CBI, the commissioners are asking them to provide any information that will assist the investigation.
A watchdog group, Colorado Citizens for Ethics in Government, asked Storey and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to investigate what it called a potential embezzlement of public funds.

Congrove’s political buddy, former Treasurer Mark Paschall, has already been indicted for allegedly soliciting a kickback from a former employee.


Colorado Reps. Mark Udall and John Salazar are leading a last-ditch effort to halt drilling on the Roan Plateau in Glenwood Springs. As Nancy Lofholm of The Denver Post reports:

Environmentalists, wildlife advocates and local officials made an eleventh-hour appeal Thursday for congressional action to stop or curb planned drilling on the Roan Plateau – a request that angered the oil and gas industry.

A meeting initiated by the Colorado Environmental Coalition with Democratic U.S. Reps. John Salazar of Manassa and Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs was marked by an absence of Bureau of Land Management officials.

The meeting came as the BLM prepares to release its final management plan for 73,602 acres on and around the Roan Plateau. Leases for drilling could be put up for bid as early as November.

“Congress needs to act,” said Steve Smith, regional director for the Wilderness Society. Smith requested the entire Roan planning area – not just the top of the scenic plateau between Rifle and Parachute – be made off-limits to surface disturbance while land managers take “some breathing space” and until better drilling technologies are developed.

During the six-year planning process, the society had asked that the top of the wildlife-rich and recreationally popular plateau be off-limits. But Smith said new information from wildlife managers about the need for summer and winter mule deer range prompted his wider request.

Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert and Garfield County Commissioner Tresi Haupt also reiterated that the recreational opportunities and scenery of the plateau are more valuable to their economies than drilling.

If all else fails, we could always ask the animals to migrate around the drilling sites.


Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who finished his job as governor in January, will need to figure out a new post-gubernatorial career. Vilsack will reportedly drop out of the running for the Democratic nomination after being a full-time candidate for less than two months. As the Associated Press reports:

Democrat Tom Vilsack is abandoning his bid for the presidency after struggling against better-known, better-financed rivals, a senior campaign official told The Associated Press on Friday.

Vilsack left office in January and traveled through states holding early tests of strength. He had faced a tough challenge from rivals such as New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards, who have had more success raising money and attracting attention — even in Vilsack’s home state of Iowa.

Vilsack was scheduled to make a formal announcement later in the day. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the Democrat’s statement.

Sadly, Vilsack’s departure eliminates the name that was most fun to say of all the Presidential contenders. ‘Vil-SACK.’ It’s just more fun to say than ‘Edwards.’ Plus, you can’t say ‘Edwards’ in the voice of the AFLAC duck.


Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn not only supports the military doing whatever it wants overseas, but he supports the military doing whatever it wants in the U.S. as well. As Dick Foster of the Rocky Mountain News http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5371872,00.html] reports:

The Army’s plan to add 418,000 acres to its Pi