Protect Colorado’s Future Fails 9News Truth Test, Brands Itself as Deceptive

It’s still early in the campaign cycle, but the political group known as Protect Colorado’s Future has already hung the banner of “Liar” around its neck. It’s hard to see how much more credibility the group will have as the election season heats up. Protect Colorado’s Future is overwhelmingly funded by a coalition of labor unions. The commercial it aired is designed to attack Right to Work (Amendment 47) and two initiatives that have yet to be certified on the ballot.

In the interest of full disclosure, one initiative (#53), aka Ethical Standards – designed to “prevent public payroll systems from collecting and bundling money to special interest groups that hire lobbyists and make campaign contributions” – has been supported by research from the Independence Institute, where I work.

9News did a “Truth Test” on Protect Colorado Future’s television ad (video link). A sample of the 9News analysis:

  • “The sentiment conveyed here is opinion, but the fashion in which it’s conveyed is false.”
  • “inaccurate”
  • “Part of this statement is true and part is false.”

Then there’s my favorite about their claim that efforts to collect signatures for Right to Work, Ethical Standards, and Government Contracting Reform “have been described as fraudulent and deceptive”:

This certainly needs some context and there are those who would see the citations listed on the bottom of the screen and label them somewhat deceptive.

That’s because if you look at the Denver Daily News from May 30, 2008 (http://www.thedenverdailynews.com/article.php?aID=624) or the Denver Post from April 6, 2008 (http://www.denverpost.com/ci_8818688?IADID=Search-www.denverpost.com-www.denverpost.com) or www.rockymountainnews.com (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/jul/08/business-briefing-july-9/) from July 8, 2008, you will find that the people describing the measures as “fraudulent” and “deceptive” are the very people behind this commercial. They’re quotes from officers with Protect Colorado’s Future.

Protect Colorado’s Future has filed a lawsuit against the supporters of those ballot measures alleging fraud and deception, but its claims have not been decided by a judge. Certainly, the newspapers cited at the bottom of the screen have not come to that conclusion either.

What a great strategy … make an accusation about someone that gets quoted in the newspaper, then cite the newspaper article as proof of your accusation. This almost makes the case for the Ethical Standards Initiative by itself.

As a watcher put it, Protect Colorado’s Future tactics – which also include telephone push polling – are examples of “modern day union thuggery.”

The truth? Here is Jon Caldara’s email published by 9News:

“They say we hired criminals. We hired no petition gatherers. We contracted with a professional firm who, in turn, legally contacted with individuals. A good analogy would be if we went to a printer to get campaign postcards made and the printer contracted with a “criminal” to run the press. What would that have to do with our initiative? How could that make any proponent guilty of a campaign of “fraud and deceit?”

Interestingly, the same big labor groups hired the exact same firm two years ago to get petitions for their minimum wage amendment, and didn’t ask for background checks then. The pot calls the kettle black.

Further, on our initiative we required ALL petitioners to sign a form saying they understood the initiative, would not misrepresent it and would follow the law in getting signatures. (happy to show you the forms) Not too sure what else we could do.

The petitions for 53 have just been turned in, so how would they know who our petitioners were? It hasn’t even been certified yet and I doubt it was even open to public viewing before they ran the ad. Number 59 hasn’t even been filed yet! Yet they know the petitions that will be turned in? Impossible.

The ad implies that Nancy is involved somehow with 59. She is not attached to it at all. Their complaint to the Secretary of State has her name as the sponsor of 59. What an embarrassing and sloppy error. For questions on 59 you should talk to them, Tom Lucero is the point man.

And finally, shouldn’t they be complaining about Governor Ritter??? He vetoed HB 1406 which would have outlawed “criminals” from petitioning. Nancy (Spence) voted for the bill!” – Jon Caldara

Unable to engage in an honest debate about Right to Work or Ethical Standards, Protect Colorado’s Future has resorted to deception, hypocrisy, and underhanded tactics. This move of theirs just might backfire.

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