Swiftboating the Congressman

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All over the length and breadth of our great nation, lefty blogs such as Dailykos and Huffington Post have found a new target/victim: rookie Congressman Doug Lamborn.

For those of you with actual lives who don’t follow petty political spats, here’s some background.

A Monument couple, Jonathan and Anna Bartha, one of whom had worked for Jeff Crank in the 2006 election, wrote a letter to the editor accusing Lamborn of taking a $1,000 contribution from International Gaming Technologies, a manufacturer of gambling devices. Their letter was published in the Woodmen Edition. Lamborn, whose opposition to gambling is no secret, claimed that he had simply returned the uncashed check to IGT. The company confirmed his story.

The couple, it turned out, had based their accusation on data available from Federal Election Commission records. As any political reporter knows, these records can be incomplete, late, or inaccurate.

Meanwhile, Lamborn called the Barthas, and left two messages, suggesting that they needed to talk. Here’s what he said (in part):

“I would like to get together with you and show this to you and appeal to you as a brother and sister in Christ. You didn’t give me that opportunity but I am happy to overlook that and deal with you on that level because I think that is the right thing to do and show you where you made a blatant, wrong statement.
Now there are consequences to this kind of thing, but I would like to work with you in a way that is best for everyone here concerned…”

Does this sound bizarre, or threatening? I don’t think so. It just sounds as if an understandably annoyed/concerned Lamborn is trying to clear up a misunderstanding, or defuse a politically motivated attack. Consequences? He probably meant that they’d get a nasty letter from GOP headquarters, invoking Reagan’s 11th Commandment (“Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican”).

But here’s what happened: ignoring statements from both Lamborn and IGT, media and bloggers locally and nationally jumped on the story. Their line: the FEC records are holy writ, so Lamborn took the money! Lamborn’s phone call was a ‘Mafia Moment’-next thing you know, there’ll be a horse’s head in the Bartha’s bed! Call the House Ethics Committee!

This is simple swiftboating, politics at its nastiest. Take your oppponent’s strength, and twist it into a weakness with disingenuous half-truths. Perhaps the Barthas simply made an honest mistake, and Lamborn’s foes saw opportunity. In any case, this is the first salvo in the campaign by party rivals to Dump Doug.

5 Responses to Swiftboating the Congressman

  1. Hazelhurst,
    You’re the one ignoring the facts. Check out this article to learn more – http://spencerspeaks.com/2007/09/04/gambling-money-comes-back-in-plain-white-wrapper/

    Anonymous
    September 4, 2007 at 7:15 pm

  2. Come on John. This is not Swiftboating. For one thing they’re both from the same party. This is not about the definition of Purple Heart and the fact that a guy who has all his limbs blown off gets the same medal as a guy shot in the butt with a 22. This was a hypocritical donation, the FEC can find NO record of being returned. It will be now. Then there’s the twisted wink wink, nudge nudge, secret hand shake, “let’s talk as brothers and sisters in Christ”, in other words, you can’t criticize a fellow Christian, it’s not Christian, and I’m going to use that shame-base guilt trip on you to stop you from pointing out my hypocrisy. It’s almost as bad as his “apology” that his wife was dealing with a sick mother and that’s why the check was not in FEC records. Come on. He got caught. CREW is on the case now, this threat of “consequences” the IDIOT left on an answering machine is a violation of half a dozen statutes and House rules. The same guy that Hefley would not support threatened someone who caught him. They’re not unbiased and I’m not either, but that doesn’t change the facts of the case. Making apologies for him is about as twisted and the GAGzette, who has so far NOT reported the story at all. Their readers are not allowed to decide for themselves.

    CSaction.org
    September 4, 2007 at 8:34 pm

  3. I checked “the facts”, and they’re as I reported. Lamborn didn’t cash the check-it was returned, if after several months. Lamborn blames it on confusion and inefficiency at his office. Having dealt with his office several times, I’m inclined to believe him.

    Lamborn obviously has a lot of enemies-and he’s earned most of them. But that doesn’t mean that he accepted gambling industry contributions, and then tried to conceal them.

    And his telephone messages may seem shrill, even bizarre-but threatening? Anyone who’d actually feel threatened by Doug Lamborn would flee from a snarling teacup chihuahua.

    John Hazlehurst
    September 5, 2007 at 9:55 am

  4. Seamingly harmless teacup chihuahuas can be vicious ankle biters when confronted – apparently not unlike Congressman Lamborn.

    We told you that you should have publicaly supported Jay Fawcett.

    The 80906 Mavens
    September 6, 2007 at 11:36 am

  5. I think the jury is still out on whether or not he cashed the check, but FEC records show he recieved and accepted the check, as shown in the scans on Colorado Confidential.org.
    n the Denver Post, Scott Gessler a Denver attorney who works for GOP candidates says that FEC regulations require contributions made to political campaigns must be deposited or returned to the sender within 10 days. Lamborn took between 6 to 8 months, and the FEC still has no paperwork on the return.
    If the FEC finds out about Lamborns failure to obey the law and I am sure it will have to with the publiciity surrounding Lamborn’s threat against the Barthas, the FEC could impose a $6,500 fine on Lamborn for failure to obey the law. Gessler also says, “If he held the physical check and didn’t deposit it, it could be a violation.”
    This clown, who also recently voted AGAINST stiffer penalties for dogfighting, was also the ONLY rep to take a donation from a casino owner, Marc Murphy, for $500, since to do so would be an obvious violation no candidate would want to risk. He claims, about this contribution from IGT, “I never accepted a contribution from this company or any similar company”, BUT you can see the scan of the FEC form he used to REPORT the check to them, on Colorado Confidential.com. The FEC regulation is that a contribution must be “marked as such” when it is returned, and they have NO record of this still. All this in the week his largest contributor, Club for Growth, settles out of court for $355,000 in fines for corruption in that very election.
    LAMEborn expained that Marc Murphy paradox by saying they were both against further gambling in Colorado.

    CSaction.org
    September 8, 2007 at 7:40 pm