CEW complaint against Clear The Bench Colorado noted as a “cheap political stunt” by news coverage, showcases desperation tactics of status quo defenders of Colorado Supreme Court

First they ignore you; Then they ridicule you; Then they attack you; Then you win.”      Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi

Clear The Bench Colorado has now officially graduated to the 3rd phase of Gandhi’s aphorism, after yesterday’s filing of an unfounded “campaign finance complaint” by notorious leftist attack yap dogs “Colorado Ethics Watch” (CEW, pronounced “sue” – it’s what they do).

The left-wing attack machine was arrayed in full force yesterday, in a concerted (coordinated?) barrage of allegations, insinuations, and misleading statements chock full of omissions – attempting to create an “echo chamber” effect for CEW’s slung mud by publishing CEW’s press release more or less verbatim in multiple venues as “news”.  The artificial echo chamber (echo-turf?) continued today with no less than two articles published in the Colorado Independent (formerly known as Colorado Confidential) (Campaign to replace state Supreme Court justices draws ethics complaint and “In a firey (sic) blog post Clear The Bench dismisses ethics complaint as politics“) along with a number of other websites & blogs barely worthy of mention.

Granted, it’s hard to take seriously a publication that can’t even spell “fiery” correctly [UPDATE: the headline has since been fixed, but the URL retains the original mis-spelling] but fortunately some real journalists (and reputable publications) have also picked up on the story.

Actually, the spurious CEW complaint was first brought to the attention of Clear The Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold by a phone call from reporter Michael Roberts of Denver’s Westword alternative weekly seeking comment (proving that good investigative journalism still has ONE home in Denver print media).  Obviously attempting to steal a march (along the lines of Mark Twain’s quote “a lie travels around the world before the truth gets its boots on“), CEW issued a press release at the same time they dropped the complaint in the mail (and, after reviewing the complaint, it’s apparent that CEW spent more time on the press release than on the substance of the complaint – which is so baseless that it’s not even worth awarding a day in court).

Roberts’ Westword article this morning highlights the “pathetic political ploy” perpetrated by CEW, and notes that Clear The Bench Colorado followed the Secretary of State’s guidance in filing as an Issue Committee:

“When we were exploring the type of committee to file under, we asked the Secretary of State for guidance, and they recommended that we file as an issues committee. And we followed their guidance.”

Moreover, Arnold argues that “Colorado Ethics Watch knows about this.”

“They telegraphed their punch,” says Arnold, who hadn’t heard about the complaint until he was contacted by Westword. “Now that we’re becoming successful and starting to bring in larger amounts of dollars, they decided they’re going to go after us.”

Roberts closes his article by quoting Clear The Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold’s statement that “it’s a clear sign of desperation — and a clear sign that they’re very concerned about the success of Clear the Bench Colorado.”

Another (reputable) publication covering the issue is the legal affairs journal Law Week Online.  After getting suckered into printing the CEW press release yesterday (and missing CTBC’s response due to a communications snafu), Law Week Online published a more balanced and comprehensive article this afternoon, getting the whole story both directly from Clear The Bench Colorado and from the Secretary of State’s office.  The Law Week article also highlights the nature of the CEW complaint as a “cheap political stunt” and confirmed the accuracy of our response:

“They [Ethics Watch] know very well that the Secretary of State issued guidance with Clear the Bench Colorado to file as an issue committee,” Clear the Bench director Matt Arnold told Law Week Colorado.

“This is a sign of desperation on their side. They are concerned that we are gaining momentum. They are concerned about the resonance and welcome we are receiving from Colorado citizens that are becoming aware of this very important issue.”

Clear the Bench posted a longer response to the complaint on its website.

Arnold’s claim that he received guidance from the Secretary of State’s office is substantiated [emphasis added] by an e-mail the office shared with Law Week, posted below. According to the e-mail, members of the Secretary of State’s campaign finance team rejected Clear the Bench’s original filing as a political committee on the grounds that its stated purpose of “Judicial Retention” was “too vague and would also classify them as an issue committee.”

Finally, Clear The Bench Colorado Director Matt Arnold was contacted by the Denver Post’s judicial beat reporter Felisa Cardona (who, back in February, wrote the front-page Post article noting that “Four Colorado Supreme Court justices face a tough vote in elections” as she follows the story.  It remains to be seen whether her bosses at the Denver Post will allow her to publish a follow-up article or if they’ll continue to favor the interests of their largest rent-paying tenant over the interests of truth and news coverage (the Post appears to remain stuck in Gandhi’s first phase – c’mon, guys, wake up and smell the story!).  [Ed. as of press time, not a peep from the Post]

So, to summarize: CEW’s latest attack fits an ongoing pattern of unsuccessful, politically motivated “ethics” complaints designed to distract, disorient, and sling mud in the (vain) hope that something might stick.  Ultimately, they don’t care if they win or lose the case (their lopsided loss-win ratio bears this out), since their priorities are (1) smear, (2) frame the media debate and gain attention, (3) divert resources & attention, (4) intimidate, and (5) maybe (if they get lucky) occasionally win a case.

Now more than ever – stand with Clear The Bench Colorado in defense of your constitutional rights.  Exercise your right to vote “NO” on the 4 ‘unjust justices’ of the Colorado Supreme Court’s “Mullarkey Majority” (Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your home or business from against eminent domain abuse, your right to fair representation in government, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering under rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.” Support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and your contributions and exercise your right to vote “NO” on retaining these unjust justices on the bench for another 10-year term!

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