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Norton Goes Negative?

April 22, 2010

Very interesting developments in the GOP senate primary. Last week, Jane Norton announced that she was going to petition onto the primary ballot. For those–like me a couple of months ago–who are not aware of the intricacies of Colorado election law, a candidate can get on the primary ballot in one of two ways: either by capturing 30% or more of the delegate count at the appropriate assembly or by collecting enough signatures on petitions in all of Colorado’s 64 counties.  Norton and Buck came out nearly even in the precinct caucus straw poll last month at about 41% each, although Buck was slightly ahead.

Which reminds me: there are a lot of petitions going around these days. Don’t accept the word of someone asking you to sign as to what it’s all about: read it yourself. Most are pretty short anyway.

Yesterday (April 21) Norton announced that State Sen Josh Penry, once himself a candidate for governor, is her new campaign manager. Josh had been working with the McInnis campaign–in what exact capacity I’m not sure, but he did stand in for McInnis at the El Paso County assembly.

Here’s where it gets interesting. On that same day, Penry made a dig at  Buck’s campaign manager, Walt Klein, over Klein’s firm doing advertising work on behalf of Referendum C–the 2005 tax increase that Jane Norton supported. Penry wrote:

“Hi Walt. I’ve given Rich strict instructions not to respond to your e-mail until you return all the money you made off of buying ads to pass Ref. C – you know, since it was such a terrible idea.

New game Walt. See you on the trail.”

But don’t take my word for it: Lynne Bartels documented it at the Denver Post.

I have three problems with Penry at this point (although I was supportive of his run for governor):

  1. Josh, this isn’t a game and what you’re doing isn’t a “new game;” it’s the old one. Our country faces one of the most pivotal elections in its history. Get serious and debate issues.
  2. Political firms and ad agencies sometimes support one side exclusively and sometimes are good non-partisan capitalists who take work from all sides. And you know it.
  3. Klein’s firm earned their money for services performed–why should they return it? People are pointing out that you did not return campaign money you were given to run for governor: are you going to return that?

How do I know about this tiff?  I was sent an essentially anonymous email at 6:52am this morning (Apr 22) from a mailbox called “Social Conservatives for Life” ( with the subject “Buck campaign manager paid to pass Ref C” and pointing me to the Denver Post link. Perhaps they though I wouldn’t actually read the whole story. Well, I did but it was after Walt Klein had a chance to respond with the rest of the story.

Who are these Social Conservatives? I don’t know. I had one previous anti-Buck email from them on April 12. I responded asking who they were and how I got on their email list. No reply. No website. Reputable organizations who send mass mailings give you a link to unsubscribe; nothing like that here.

The message and the timing are awfully closely aligned with the Norton campaign. Is this a front group? Do establishment Republicans engage in the kind of behavior I expect from the far left? The Bennet and Romanov campaigns must be either rubbing their hands with glee at this infighting or are envious of it.

If true, this is distressing behavior coming from a candidate who I heard repeat more than once Reagan’s dictum about never saying anything negative about a fellow Republican. Perhaps she thinks it is acceptable if her campaign manager or some of her supporters say it instead.

I hope that the Social Conservatives for Life have nothing to do with Norton or any other real conservative movement: they are not liberty activists, that’s for certain. Neither their nor Penry’s tactics are going to win over any disaffected conservatives, centrist Democrats, independents or libertarians. It certainly doesn’t sit well with this state assembly delegate either.

Play nice, kids: this time it is a new game –we are holding you all to a higher standard.

  1. Char permalink
    April 24, 2010 3:21 pm

    Buck has been attacking and smearing Norton for months. Buck SUPPORTED Ref C when it was an issue. Norton is conservative on every issue, and she has the track record to prove it. Norton has followed Reagan’s eleventh commandment and has not attacked anyone. Buck has two ethics charges. One comes from grabbing 5,000 tax returns illegally. The other one from malfeasance during his time in the US Attorney’s office. He is not electable! The press and Democrats know the stories, and are doing all they can to have Buck be our nominee. They know they can beat him easily. The Democrats do not want Norton to be our nominee. They know she will beat Bennett easily.

  2. April 24, 2010 6:04 pm

    Can you provide some detail about the tax returns and the “malfeasance” in office? Was he charged in either case?

    As I wrote, I do hope neither Norton nor her campaign staff are behind these “Social Conservative for Life” emails–and there are still other good possibilities as to who it is.

    • Char permalink
      April 25, 2010 8:02 pm

      Buck grabbed 5000 tax returns, and their supporting documents, from a Hispanic tax preparer on Oct. 17, 2008. Atty Gen Suthers told him not to do it! He said to show probable cause, obtain a legal search warrant for just the few he thought were guilty of identity theft. Buck did not listen! He could not even find a judge in Weld to write a search warrant and had to go to Larimer. It was a generic, non specific search warrant. He was sued in two lower courts and lost. He then lost in the State Supreme Court in a 4:3 decision. He has cost his county $300,000 fighting his legal battles. He has an ethics charge for the illegal search and seizer, violating 4th amendment rights under the US Constitution. He also violated Colorado law with the illegal search.

      Buck was head of Criminal Investigations at the US Attorney’s office. He was number three in the office. He was told over and over to prosecute a pawn shop owner who was selling guns illegally. Numerous sting operations tied the guns to the pawn shop. Buck refused to prosecute and another attorney was brought in who did go after the gun seller. The prosecution knew they had a strong case. Right before trail, critical prosecution information was given to the defense. The case was destroyed and the gun seller walked with a hand slap. Buck was demoted to low man in Civil Investigations, then out of the office. Buck is the one who compromised the case. Buck has also received campaign contributions from the gun seller to his Senate campaign. There is a federal ethics charge sitting in the Dept of Justice. Obama has already been out here endorsing Bennett. He will have Holder release the ethics file if Buck is our nominee.

      The Dems and the press know these stories and are doing everything they can to have Buck be our nominee. We will loose for sure if he is. These stories are why Norton was asked to run by top Republicans in our state. Buck made up the lie that it was McCain who recruited her. Buck is not electable!

  3. April 24, 2010 6:25 pm

    AC – The tax return case is highly publicized, where Ken sought and obtained a search warrant to obtain all the tax records of a tax preparer on the basis that some might be returns of illegal aliens. This is exactly the type of fishing expedition the 4th Amendment is designed to prevent. That said, DA’s don’t get prosecuted for much of anything, not less something like this, where Buck did in fact get a warrant. As to ethics charges, the Colorado Office of Attorney regulation is more like the SEIU for lawyers. And given Buck got the warrant, which in my view he was wrong to seek, it is dubious whether he would be charged for any ethics violations with OAR.

    He may well have been in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, but they’re almost never enforced against DAs. Rare case are the two Larimer judges Blair and Gilmore, who committed major violations that kept an innocent guy behind bars for 10 years, let the real murderer get away, and subsequently cost Larimer $4.1 million in a settlement. And all they got was a public reproval letter. That’s it.

    I am undecided on the race, and my understanding is that the tax returns incident does not represent a pattern on Buck’s part of constitutional over reaching. He took the case to the Colo. Sup. Court and lost.

    I know nothing about the US attorney allegations, except I’ve seen them in comments sections on blogs. It would be nice if these folks spelled them out.

    It also appears per Don Johnson that the left is going after Norton big time, including HuffPo.

    So maybe that is because Norton is more electable. Apart from this case, and his use of the transgender crime statute, he seems quite good. Bright, answers questions. Has been very transparent with his DA budgets with both Don and me.

    I’m belatedly adding you to blog roll. I’ve been reading on 2.0 until now, and participated in live blogging with you caucus night at the DP.

    Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer

  4. April 25, 2010 8:37 pm

    Char, your summary of the tax preparer case is absolutely accurate as I recall from my research into it. Could you please provide a case name, or better yet, some links regarding the incidents while Buck was an AUSA.

    Also, I don’t recall off-hand the Suthers role in the warrant quest. Do you have any link to that to make life easier for us hardworking bloggers.



    • Char permalink
      April 25, 2010 10:21 pm

      Suthers told me personally that he told Buck to show probable cause, obtain a search warrant, and follow the law, before he grabbed the tax returns. You have an advantage because you are an attorney, where I am not. Here is the story I found after the first of the year. I could not find it tonight, so Buck may have taken it down, somehow. I do know it is wrong to hand over evidence, way past the discovery stage, to the defense right before trial. Buck was immediately demoted to handling traffic tickets at the AFA. He would not release any of his records when he ran for DA. The press knows all these stories but refuse to put them out.

      Jim Frazier, member
      Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.

      — For Immediate Release —

      *Time for *Buck* to Answer the Questions and Explain the Irony*

      Ken *Buck* won the Republican primary in Weld County without revealing his professional records. Then he won the District *Attorney* race. Now he reigns as the top law enforcement officer in Weld County – the District *Attorney*.

      Why did *Buck* not release his professional records? The question is still pertinent. He admitted in public interviews that he was demoted as Chief of the Criminal Division for the *US* Attorney’s District Office. But Republican *Buck* claimed Democrat Tom Strickland demoted him over political clashes, because *Buck* supported Republican Wayne Allard for the *US* Senate seat – not Strickland.

      Perhaps, but let’s look at some facts, and the court records. *Buck* still needs to explain the irony.

      Tom Strickland took office as the *US* *Attorney* for Colorado on April 20^th ^ 1999, the day after the Columbine High School murder-suicide tragedy. As supervisor, Strickland replaced Ken *Buck* 40 days later on June 1 with an experienced judge, Richard Spriggs. *Buck* never filed another criminal case for the *US* Attorney’s office. Strangely, the official *US* District Court records show he only filed six criminal cases in his 12 years in the office. This is puzzling since *Buck* claims to have been a tough prosecutor on crime.

      In October of 1999, after the Columbine shootings and after Ken *Buck* had been demoted, *US* District *Attorney* Strickland started Project Exile with cooperation from Mayor Wellington Webb, Denver DA Bill Ritter, numerous law enforcement groups and private foundations. The stated purpose was to “strictly enforce existing gun laws.” The primary goal was to sweep illegal crime guns off the streets of Denver, and to stop gangland homicides then terrifying Denver residents.

      Over the next few years, Strickland’s Project Exile was responsible for nearly tripling the number of gun prosecutions statewide, according to studies.

      Ken *Buck* was Chief of the Criminal Division of the *US* Attorney’s office when the Columbine shootings started, and also during the two years *prior* when many “crime guns” flowed to young gang members in the Denver area. Strickland’s Project Exile began to eliminate many illegal guns within 40 days after Ken *Buck* was removed as Chief of the Criminal Division for the *US* Attorney’s office. Those are the facts.

      Now for the mysterious irony. The source of many illegal guns was a pawnshop owned by a prominent, active Republican. In fact, the owner of the pawnshop was Chairman for Stephen Forbes’ 2000 Presidential Campaign. That means he raised money for a major Republican presidential candidate. That’s an important position in the Republican party which means he had “connections.” Who is this Republican who provided illegal guns?

      Gregory Galyansky is an immigrant Russian-Jew who believed strongly in the Second Amendment–the right to bear arms. Galyansky was openly critical of the “Clinton Justice Department.”

      During Ken Buck’s reign as Chief of the Criminal Division, while shootings escalated in Denver, many illegal guns were traced to ABC Loan, an Aurora pawn shop owned and operated by Galyansky. Thus, Galyansky’s company sold guns illegally during the time he was Chairman for the Stephen Forbes 2000 Presidential Campaign. This is documented by police records and at the core of the mysterious irony.

      From May of 1997 to May of 1998, a yearlong “sting” operation was conducted by BATF officers on Galyansky’s pawnshop. The 9 separate stings documented illegal purchases of 24 guns. The shop had previously sold 66 guns to one woman, a straw-purchaser. Experts testified that she turned the weapons over to a 20-year-old gang member named Rambo. According to expert testimony in the court records, many of those guns were later traced to serious crimes in Denver and Los Angeles.

      Ken *Buck* was in charge of the Criminal Division during the year long “sting” by BATF officers. Yet, *Buck* never arrested the outspoken Republican gun merchant, Galyansky.

      Frustrated by the flow of illegal guns into the streets of Denver, the _Denver Post_, on December 19 of 1999, published an investigative report that traced many “crime guns” back to Galyansky’s shop. Galyansky is quoted in the article as stating he believes in “the Second Amendment*.”** * He protested later that the article was politically motivated.* *

      The point is that Republican Ken *Buck* not only didn’t arrest Galansky at the time, *Buck* apparently didn’t do anything to stop the illegal gun sales – which continued.

      In May of 2000, five months AFTER the _Denver Post_ article, Galyansky was finally arrested. The court-recorded indictment asserts that illegal gun sales continued “up until the arrest.” Why was this allowed? That is a big question. But there is more to the story. The mystery grows deeper. He received little punishment.

      The evidence against Galyansky seemed overwhelming, yet two years later, the owner of the pawnshop walked out of court with no jail time and little punishment at all. The official Plea Bargain indicates he received a $25 fine and one day of probation. That seems like an unfair sentence for such a serious crime. However, Galansky was forced to forfeit $15,000 worth of guns confiscated by the BATF. For some, that accomplished the goal of getting guns off the street.

      But does something seem wrong with this picture? What really happened? Insiders say the case was seriously compromised. Court records indicate a strange situation developed. A serious legal event, a leak, may have weakened the case.

      Here are the details. The Defense Attorneys for Galyansky made a formal motion on July 24^th , 2000 for release of inside *information*. In short, this means the defense asked for secret *information* developed by the prosecution during the case.

      This Defense Motion refers to a “privileged” (secret) internal memo in the *US* Attorney’s office. The Defense for Galyansky requested the memo because they “believed it contained *information* that would comment on the ‘prosecutive merits’ of the case.

      In simple words, the Defense Attorneys believed that the inside paperwork would illustrate weaknesses in the case against Galyansky. Again, the Defense requested this secret *information* created in meetings within the *US* Attorney’s office while Ken *Buck* was Chief of the Criminal Division. .

      But the question is, how could they have knowledge about the secret memo, and the contents? Obviously, someone inside the group prosecuting the case must have told the defense attorneys about the *information* – a leak. Apparently, an *insider* *leaked* *information* to the defense team. How else would the defense know that any memo even existed?

      Of course, the prosecutors refused to provide the *information*. But how they refused illustrates the seriousness of the issue. The prosecutor’s reply was filed on August 1, 2000.

      *The Prosecutors state that the Defense wants “privileged internal
      government documents.” The Prosecutors argue that “documents
      regarding whether and how to charge a case are the classic example
      of privileged work product.” *

      Again, “privileged” means “secret.” The reply continues for 20 pages so the issue was significant to the case. Again, during the time the internal documents were created, Ken *Buck* was Chief of the Criminal Division.

      Later, after Ken *Buck* was demoted, he only handled civil cases for the *US* attorney’s office until he departed in February of 2002 to work in Greeley as a “craft training coordinator” for a major construction company, Hensel-Phelps. Then he ran for District *Attorney* of Weld County based on his background in the *US* Attorney’s office. He refused to disclose his professional records, and still won the election. But the basic facts remain.

      Ken *Buck* was the Chief of the Criminal Division for the *US* Attorney’s office, and the 3^rd highest law enforcement officer in the state during the escalation of illegal crime gun sales in Denver.

      Tom Strickland’s Project Exile, after *Buck* was demoted, quickly tripled the number of prosecutions for illegal gun sales in Denver. That suggests that *Buck* could have accomplished the same goal as Chief of the Criminal Division. But he did not.

      Ken *Buck*, as Weld County District *Attorney*, still needs to answer these questions before citizens can feel comfortable with him in office as the top law enforcement officer in Weld County. Would he refuse to arrest a Republican Campaign Chairman if the person was breaking the law? Will *Buck* “selectively prosecute” people who break the law?

      What really happened? Galyansky received a slap on the wrist for serious gun crimes. Why?

      These are serious issues and deserve a serious explanation. Weld County citizens should not be confident that *Buck* will prosecute criminals fairly in Weld County until he answers these questions.

      Jim Frazier


      2338 51^st Ave.
      Greeley, CO. 80634


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