More GOP Web Site Troubles

First they changed the registration, and then they pulled the seal.

The Rocky Mountain News is reporting that, a partisan site linked to Republican operative Brad Jones, has removed the state seal from its web space after it was discovered that it was a felony to use the seal for anything but official documents.

In the article, Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany reveals that the Web site was made through a “handshake agreement” and paid for by a GOP political group.

An open records request filed with the Senate Minority Office made by Colorado Confidential also shows that there are no documents or correspondences relating to the Coloradosenatenews.Click here to view CORA response.

From the article today:

McElhany said Tuesday that he used $2,700 in private contributions from the Senate Majority Fund, a GOP campaign account, to pay Jones to design and build the Web site and run it from his computer server.

He stressed that Jones had no involvement in the Senate press Web site’s editorial content, which is provided by the Republicans’ press staff.

McElhany said the deal with Jones was a handshake agreement – no contract exists.

“I knew how we were paying for it was eventually going to be questioned,” McElhany said. “We decided we make a gift to the state out of the Colorado Senate Majority Fund in the interest of getting out the truth to Colorado citizens.”

McElhany also took time to criticize liberal blogs and the media for questioning the relationship between Jones and Coloradosenatenews. But Colorado Citizens for Ethics in Government, a  nonprofit group, isn’t so relaxed:

“What concerns me is that a political committee is funding the creation of a Web site that purports to be a news and information site (that was) bearing the Colorado state seal,” said Chantell Taylor, director of Colorado Citizens for Ethics in Government.

“Nowhere does it indicate that it’s the Web site of the Minority office. It just says it’s the “Senate News,” she added. “I think that is misleading and disingenuous, because clearly the Senate Majority Fund has a very partisan motive.”

Coloradosenatenews used to have a line at the bottom of its page that said it was “An online service of the Senate Minority Office” less than a two weeks ago.

The CORA request filed with the Senate Minority Office found no communications between Brad Jones and members of the Senate Minority office.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at