Ritter’s VP credentials: slim and none

This Capitol Review also appeared at HumanEvents.com.

It’s hard to imagine anyone in Colorado touting rookie Gov. Bill Ritter as vice presidential timber. Yet 2,000 miles away, locked in the surrealism of the Beltway, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has done just that.

Oblivious to Ritter’s indecisiveness on fulfilling major campaign promises, Gerson thinks Ritter stands out because he is “authentically pro-life.”

Come again? (more…)

Rocky: State’s help to Ritter tax hike would be campaign contribution

Kudos to Vincent Carroll at the Rocky Mountain News who noted in today’s On Point column that it’s a little late for Gov. Bill Ritter and his tax-hiking buddies to be fleshing out the details of how their oil and gas tax increase will be showered upon lucky college students.

Unfortunately, the time to provide such details has passed. Government agencies are barred from spending public money to influence the fate of a ballot initiative. If the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, which Skaggs directs, draws up rules for the scholarships that help the measure pass, as they very likely would, then that work would amount to an “in-kind” campaign contribution.

Carroll also noted that higher ed chief David Skaggs is in a tough spot on this one:

I sympathize with Skaggs’ dilemma: He can set his agency to work now and risk violating the law or wait until November and, if the measure passes, risk running afoul of the new law’s 2009 timetable

I doubt Mr. Skaggs asked for this quandary. Despite my political disagreements with the former Boulder congressman, Mr. Skaggs has always struck me as a man of class and principle, and I thought it was quite a coup when Gov. Ritter convinced him to join his cabinet. I don’t envy the position in which he now finds himself, thanks to yet another not-ready-for-primetime policy proposal by our rookie governor.

An aside: You will remember how Ritter campaigned on his “Colorado Promise.” To propose that these scholarships paid by higher oil and gas taxes be named “Colorado Promise” scholarships is an unseemly exercise in legacy building for someone whose first year and a half on the job has been undistinguished.

Mark Hillman elected to RNC

BROOMFIELD—Colorado Republicans elected former state senator Mark Hillman to a four-year term on the Republican National Committee at Saturday’s state GOP convention in Broomfield.

Hillman, a Burlington wheat farmer who also served as state treasurer, will succeed former Congressman Bob Schaffer as one of Colorado’s three voting members of the RNC.

"Principles are more important than politicians, personalities or incumbency," Hillman told delegates. "In 2006, voters lost confidence that they could count on Republicans to fight wasteful spending and balance the budget. We must work to regain their trust." (more…)

RMN: No wiggle room on Amendment 41

Rocky Mountain News
On Point
By Vincent Carroll
February 15, 2007

Desperate supporters of Amendment 41 are arguing, some even with a straight face, that their attempt to rewrite their monstrosity after voters enshrined it in the constitution is no different from what occurred after passage of Amendment 27 a few years ago.

Early in 2003, they point out, the legislature wrote "clarifying language" to smooth 27’s rough edges regarding campaign finance. That’s all they want the legislature to do today with Amendment 41, they insist. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal? Let’s see: How about two wrongs don’t make a right? As a Rocky editorial complained in 2003 (and remember, we opposed 27 just as we opposed 41 last fall), one popular legislative plan amounted to "a brazen attempt to get around the strict campaign contribution limits that had been approved by voters in last year’s Amendment 27."

Former GOP senate leader disputes 41 rhetoric

Source: ColoradoSenateNews.com

A former Senate Republican leader, who carried legislation to enact a campaign-reform amendment approved by voters in 2002, says his bill was fundamentally different from a now-pending attempt to exempt large groups of people from voter-approved Amendment 41.

Mark Hillman, who served as Senate majority leader in 2003-04 and as minority leader in 2005, was Senate sponsor of a 2003 bill that implemented Amendment 27. Hillman disputes current claims that the bill made substantive changes to Amendment 27 in the way that some now propose for Amendment 41, the government-ethics law voters adopted last November.

 “Legislators are in a real bind. Either they uphold the plain language of the constitution, which is the first oath that they take, or they do what is politically popular and ignore the plain language of the constitution.”