Evading Serious Questions Ties Bill Ritter and Obama Nominee Villafuerte

President Obama’s nomination of Stephanie Villafuerte to be Colorado’s next U.S. Attorney has put Governor Bill Ritter in an unwanted situation. Serious questions remain unanswered about Villafuerte’s role in the political smear of federal ICE agent Cory Voorhis during the 2006 election that led to his near conviction. But Ritter thinks it’s too much trouble for us to bother with the questions now:

She also declined to answer questions this week about whether she provided the FBI with a complete accounting of any contacts she had with the DA’s office about [illegal immigrant Carlos] Estrada-Medina. A message and detailed e-mail left by The Post for Villafuerte were returned instead by Evan Dreyer, spokesman for Ritter. He said Villa fuerte, now Ritter’s deputy chief of staff, would not comment until possibly after she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Colorado’s top federal law enforcement official.

“When it’s over, she may be more able to talk,” Dreyer said.

Villafuerte may be more able to talk when it’s over? As if the confirmation process is a mere formality, and the issues raised aren’t of a serious nature?

The lawyers in this case are much better able to determine what constitutes obstruction in a court of law, but this sort of response sure smacks of hubris from Bill Ritter and company.

A similarly troubling reaction is reported in today’s Denver Post:

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who recommended Villafuerte for the position, and Sen. Michael Bennet, who approved of her nomination, also reiterated their support for her.

Bennet, through his spokesman Michael Amodeo, said he has “no plans” to ask Villafuerte any questions about the matter.

If the junior appointed Senator Michael Bennet’s goal is to look like a Barack Obama crony with no opinions of his own on major issues and no concerns about the integrity of Colorado’s U.S. Attorney office, then he is doing a fine job.

But most of the political heat from this story is aimed directly at vulnerable incumbent Governor Bill Ritter. Which is why Rocky Mountain Right diarist Hestons Ghost posts yesterday’s press release from the Colorado Republican Party and asks “What did Bill Ritter know and when did he know it?” Even the Dead Governors recognize this as bad news for Ritter, and speculate that Villafuerte may never actually take office.

Barack Obama’s nomination of Stephanie Villafuerte has put Bill Ritter in a less-than-desirable political situation. Yet like a co-dependent abuse victim, Ritter continues to put his name on mass emails shilling for Obama Care — sent to people like me who merely wanted to support the state’s quest for federal education reform dollars.

Maybe Ritter, Bennet, and company would rather Villafuerte just withdraw rather than answer any serious questions about the political smear of Cory Voorhis. That would be fine. But if they think she can take the important job of U.S. attorney while they all stonewall on this issue, they will have a most serious problem on their hands.

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