Were state resources used for partisan politics?
A Colorado Confidential report raised that very question yesterday, when it was revealed that ColoradoSenateNews.com, the Web site for the Senate Minority Office, had promptly severed all visible links to Republican operative Brad Jones.
This fact merited mention in Denver’s two major newspapers today, with interesting responses. Before yesterday, Jones was registered as the owner of ColoradoSenateNews, and before that, the site had included a line of text naming his company, Brad Jones LLC.
Jones is also the owner of Face The State Inc. and was responsible for releasing the incendiary e-mail which in part lead Democrat Rep. Mike Merrifield to step down from the House Education Committee.
From the Rocky Mountain News:
He noted that a Senate Republican press aide used his state e-mail account to distribute a press release bearing the state seal titled “Incendiary e-mails backfire on charter school foes.” The Republican release linked readers to the Merrifield e-mail bearing the “Face the State” logo.
Fitz-Gerald was alarmed to hear that a state employee was using the Colorado seal while distributing a partisan attack.
“That’s really where you’re crossing the line,” she said.
Jones said he stamped the Merrifield e-mail with his logo for “free advertising.”
From the Denver Post:
“Nobody in this office knew anything about it until after it happened,” he said. But, McElhany added, it wouldn’t matter if they did.
From Mike Littwin:
I asked Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany about a possible connection. He said he didn’t see one.
He said of those who obtained the Merrifield-Windels e-mails: “I think they wanted to keep us in the dark intentionally, and probably for our own good. And I’m glad they did.”
So, here’s where we stand: We had a minor scandal that could either blow up in the faces of those who exposed it – always fun – or, conversely, it won’t.
In order to answer these questions, Colorado Confidential filed an open records request with the Senate Minority Office yesterday, in an effort to determine any connections to Jones.