Schwartz responds to Western Tradition Partnership attack

State Senator Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, has responded to attack mailers sent out by GOP dirty-trickster group Western Tradition Partnership that depict her as Donald Trump firing Coloradans. Long an unofficial arm of the big oil and gas lobby in the state, Western Tradition argues Schwartz is eliminating jobs not as a billionaire boss like Trump looking for the best executives but in service of an “extreme environmentalist” agenda.

“My campaign is about what I can offer the people of my district,” Schwartz said in a release sent out Friday. “The deplorable, hate-filled mail that distorts the public record comes from a variety of independent organizations and federal law appears to allow it. I absolutely do not condone such mail. I believe that it undermines the integrity of our political process, offends basic standards of decency, and degrades our ability to engage in civil discourse.”

Western Tradition Partnership is headed up by GOP operative Scott Shires and was active in the 2008 Garfield County commissioners race that attracted vast sums from the oil and gas industry as well as from environmental groups. Two defeated Democrats in the race complained bitterly about last-minute attack ads, mailers and fake newspapers.

Joyce Rankin, campaign manager to Schwartz opponent Bob Rankin, said she was unaware of the Western Tradition Partnership mailing. She said the Rankin campaign will begin sending out its own mailers in the district but that “they’ll be positive and stick to the issues.”

The problem of non-profit outside money spent in elections has escalated this year, the ads produced and aired with the money growing increasingly erroneous and prevalent. The campaign finance-free speech Supreme Court case Citizens United vs FEC last year brought increased attention to the expanding web of thinly unregulated billions being spent to influence U.S. elections. In Colorado, the midterm 2010 elections have drawn money from corporations and nonprofits across the nation. One recent ad produced by Washington-based anti-abortion Americans United for Life targeted Colorado Democratic Rep. John Salazar. The ad brimmed with factual errors, including referring to “Ken Salazar,” Rep. John Salazar’s brother, throughout.

Sen. Schwartz’s full release:

“I appreciate the frustration you as a voter have with the barrage of media and mail you are receiving. I have publicly committed to running a clean campaign for re-election. I have a mail plan that includes several pieces of mail, and I am responsible for the content and cost. My signature is on every mail piece from my campaign and also includes the following statement: Paid for by the Committee to Elect Gail Schwartz. My mail contains statements about my work, my record, and my personal story. It does not attack or even mention of my opponent. The distortion of my physical appearance adds another level to the distortion of facts that WTP actively engages in.

My campaign is about what I can offer the people of my district. The deplorable, hate-filled mail that distorts the public record comes from a variety of independent organizations and federal law appears to allow it. I absolutely do not condone such mail. I believe that it undermines the integrity of our political process, offends basic standards of decency, and degrades our ability to engage in civil discourse. That is why I publicly announced a clean campaign. A long term solution for this problem must be sought at a federal level. I would welcome such reform.

I stand on my record of sound public service to you and the future of Colorado.”

Thank you,

Senator Gail Schwartz

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