Taxpayers for Liberty Update: Larimer County’s Sue Rehg Tells Her Story

A quick follow-up on the ripple effect that has come after I did a little firsthand reporting on the shadowy third-party group Taxpayers for Liberty (click the link if you need a refresher). I had a friendly phone conversation earlier today with Sue Rehg of Larimer County, whose name initially was listed as the group’s registered agent. Here essentially is her story as she recounted it to me:

In November an unnamed friend contacted Mrs. Rehg asking if she would volunteer her name to be used as a signatory on a letter accompanying a survey to candidates in the 2010 election, and that this also would require her name to be used as a registered agent with the Secretary of State’s office. She said she agreed the next day after three substantial phone conversations, and left convinced that Taxpayers for Liberty was an innocent project to which she had lent her name.

According to Mrs. Rehg, within the next week she and her husband Dick had lengthy conversations and decided she should remove her name and not be involved. She contacted the unnamed friend, asked to have her name removed, and received assurances of the same.

In early March a message was left on their answering machine from a Mr. O’Neill who introduced himself as the new Executive Director of TFL. The message requested any questions with regard to TFL be sent to him. Sue, no longer connected with the organization, did not reply and deleted the message. The next she heard about the group and the use of her name in connection with it was this past Monday after I broke the story.

Mrs. Rehg insists whatever highly limited connection she had with Taxpayers for Liberty began and ended in November, and that she had no direct interaction with the Secretary of State’s office. Yet while the registration with the Secretary of State’s office changed the address for the group from Mrs. Rehg’s to the Denver PO Box on November 25 (13 days after its initial filing), the unnamed friend failed to remove her name and replace it with Andrew O’Neill’s name until February 17.

A longtime Republican activist in Colorado, Sue and Dick Rehg came aboard the Buck campaign in late January of this year as Larimer County co-chairs. As a result of the revelation about Taxpayers for Liberty and the use of her name, a campaign official on Tuesday asked Sue for the sake of avoiding improper appearances to step down. She is obviously upset about the development, and was eager to tell her story to me to provide a more complete picture — which I was happy to do.

In short, to clear up any confusion from my previous post, there is no evidence of any connection between Ken Buck’s campaign and the shadowy 501c4 Taxpayers for Liberty. And by all accounts I can gather, Sue Rehg is a woman of integrity. As it looks like she may have made a careless mistake, perhaps there’s a lesson in this scenario for others. (Similarly, I could have taken greater diligence to contact Mrs. Rehg before publishing either previous post on this topic to provide a more complete picture of the story — a judgment call on my part.)

Mrs. Rehg is not prepared at this time to disclose the identity of the unnamed person behind Taxpayers for Liberty, but we shall see if the name is revealed in due time. Whoever it is, I hope he realizes that this group’s independent actions (in all likelihood, inadvertently) have the potential to hurt Ken Buck more than help him — not to mention the damage they do to the spirit of party unity and the integrity of the political process as a whole.

Yes, I still hope Buck comes out and denounces the tactic used by the group Taxpayers for Liberty. Not only would that strengthen my assessment that there is no connection, but also I believe it would clear up doubts others may have. Ultimately, that decision belongs to his campaign.

Full disclosure: While I have not made any final decisions on whom to support in the primary election for U.S. Senate, I voted for Ken Buck at the straw poll Tuesday night, and respect him personally.

One last note: I do plan to pursue any further leads on Taxpayers for Liberty as they become available. I did receive the press release from the Andrew O’Neill, who by his cell phone number appears to be from Virginia rather than Colorado. A personal email to him, as yet unanswered, will be followed by a phone call when I find a moment. But that makes it a topic for another post….

Comments

  1. kevinallen says

    Thanks for the follow up, and the clarification- both for Sue and the Buck campaign.
    I can certify that Ken Buck goes to great lengths to make sure his campaign is run by the rules, and with the proper spirit of party unity in mind. You don’t hear any negative ads from Ken, you don’t hear Ken bad mouthing any candidates. Ken Buck wants a strong and principled GOP and he runs his campaign that way.

    The slanderous emails being sent from anonymous @hushmail.com email address, and there are multiple addresses, are being directed at Ken Buck by his competition- the same people who then accuse his campaign of negative attacks. The Buck campaign is not involved in any sort of negative campaigning- period. If you can find a shred of evidence to the contrary bring it forward.

    Oddly, in the last day I’ve heard Norton call for a 3rd party, and Wiens deny that he’s run ads at all (most of which are negative). If you are looking for a strong Republican that will keep Reagan’s commandments, look to Ken Buck.

    Ben, thanks for voting for Ken at the straw poll, you helped to secure a solid, and fiscally conservative, victory for Colorado!

  2. Keith Olson says

    Taxpayers for Liberty need to fold up their tents and go home. Ken Buck has proven that a hard working candidate with charisma and likeability can successfully compete against the money candidate. Hopefully we have heard the last of Taxpayers for Liberty.

  3. says

    Good followup. It bothers me that the lady won’t reveal the name of the “friend” who is not the kind of friend I would want to have. The key point is that Taxpayers for Liberty is a Virginia-based outfit. It’s undoubtedly related to other Virginia based operations that make their money sending out direct mail pieces intended to support the kind of Republicans who became W. and Tom DeLay Republicans. They are the kind of people who upset Tea Partiers and 9.12 Project conservatives. And they are like Obama, Pelosi and Reid. They want to win at any price. They’re not real Republicans. And they’re not real conservatives.

  4. kevinallen says

    Well in that case Mr. Johnson, let’s ask Charlie Black about them- he knows the Virginia RINO crowd quite well, they’ve given him open access to their bank accounts. Somehow I don’t think Ken Buck gets any of that money.

  5. Val says

    Donald, I am most amazed that your whole statement is unsupported by any facts. That makes your blog suspect.

    While I know nothing about TFL, you’re being disingenuous, talking negatively about a “Virginia-based outfit.” Are all “Virginia-based outfits” bad? Where do you think Jane Norton is getting all her money?

    Ben, I appreciate your digging into this whole issue.

  6. Keith Olson says

    Donald, You’re more disgusting than the very organizations you try to indict. Let’s examine the facts about you. You posted a comment today on your own blog that Norton’s campaign has dirt on Ken Buck, which you have seen. As if that somehow makes it credible. You then direct people on your blog to review the comments posted by a woman who has posted unsubstantiated and easily refuted “dirt”. You have proven your willingness and inclination to engage in the very tactics you protest. I think I know who is sending the mass e-mailings Kevin is talking about, or at least I know of a person who is shown they are capable of such cowardly tactics.

  7. Brian Wilson says

    Donald,

    Despite the fact that I have no problem with TFL running the ad in support of Ken Buck – a recent supreme court decision comes to mind – apparently they have gotten some bad press for not providing surveys to all candidates equally. I’m sure Sue Rehg, who I know somewhat, probably has a church friend who’s name she doesn’t want to drag through the mud.

    Brian

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