Monday Media Review: Clear The Bench Colorado in the news

The wheels of justice grind slooooooooowly…

Approaching the one-year anniversary of the initial “Colorado Ethics Watch” (CEW, pronounced “sue” – it’s what they do) attack on Clear The Bench Colorado via filing a campaign finance complaint (a complaint which was later held to be “frivolous, groundless, and vexatious” – in other words, completely lacking legal merit – in court, although CEW tried again and got a judge to buy their argument a couple of months later), a final resolution on the many issues surrounding the case(s) – including the court’s award of legal fees payable by CEW to Clear The Bench Colorado, which they’ve so far refused to pay, despite owing us since July – drags on.

Several news articles last week picked up the story again when the Colorado Secretary of State – continuing his predecessor’s position that Clear The Bench Colorado rightfully relied on guidance to file as an Issue Committee, not a Political Committee as CEW alleged CTBC should have done instead, despite guidance to the contrary – filed an amicus brief in support of the appeal entered before the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Naturally, CEW cried foul – whining about the intervention and attempting to spin the story (with the aid of the Colorado not-so Independent media mouthpiece) to try to make Secretary of State Scott Gessler look bad.  However, even the left-wing spin machine Colorado Pols admitted not only that “Buescher’s staffers advised Clear the Bench to register as an issue committee” but also that

  1. The Secretary of State’s office has an obligation to provide public interpretations of the campaign finance laws to the public, candidates, and committees. Here, the previous Secretary, Bernie Buescher, told Clear the Bench to register as an issues committee. The ALJ said he wasn’t bound by Secretary Buescher’s opinion, which the ALJ believed was wrong. The brief addresses only one issue, which is whether or not the ALJ was bound by the Secretary’s interpretation of the campaign finance laws.
  2. Bernie Buescher is the supervisor of the attorney who filed the brief. That attorney is without a doubt the best and most ethical attorney in the State of Colorado. If you can find anyone who has ever been involved in a case with Maurie who disagrees, I will eat my laptop. That’s easy to say, because you won’t find anyone.
  3. It’s common for an administrative agency or officer to file a brief defending the power and prerogative of that agency or officer. I don’t remember any cases where the officer previously represented the party that would benefit from the decision if the court decides the way the officer argued, though.
  4. If Clear the Bench came before Secretary Gessler and Gessler participated in a decision involving CtB, then I would be all over that in a heartbeat. That would be a clear conflict of interest. That’s not what’s going on here, though. This is just a brief telling the Court of Appeals that the ALJ should have done what the previous Secretary said.

All spin aside, it is clear that “Colorado Ethics Watch” (CEW, pronounced “sue” – it’s what they do) is desperately on the defensive in all aspects of this case – losing the judgment on the issue of attorneys’ fees, losing the attorney who successfully argued CEW’s round 2 complaint (working pro bono for CEW, Aaron Goldhamer of Sherman & Howard, LLC – as he dropped CEW as a client), and now likely to lose even that transitory “win” on appeal.  The organization has been discredited not only for transparently partisan bias, but for their lack of effectiveness in arguing cases (the former acceptable to their financial backers, but the latter – litigative and legal incompetence – the one inexcusable sin).

Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts.  We will continue to work with legislators and others interested in reforming the systemic shortcomings of Colorado’s so-called “merit selection & retention” system to increase transparency and accountability to the public, and to provide useful evaluations of judicial performance.

However, we can’t do it alone –  we need your continued support; via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions.  Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.

Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.

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