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What happens when the head of your state ticket gets caught in a "Watergate" before the election. As ably reported by pacified over in this diary at SquareState, the Beauprez Republican  candidacy for Colorado Governor has just taken a Hilti gun to its campaign coffin. When the FBI is threatening jail time for someone supplying info to the campaign - it's time for Don meredith to sing.

The question is: with a decapitated ticket, what does that do to the Democratic chances in Colorado?

More below the fold:

Beauprez has run ads against Bill Ritter attacking his record as a DA. The ads contained information on the subsequent actions of some of the individuals he gave plea bargains to. ( this diary, again by pacified, lays out the early parts of the story]. Unfortunately, the source of the data was identified very early on as a federal database for use only by law enforcement officers and from which it is illegal to use the data for non law enforcement purposes.

But Beauprez continued to refuse to disclose the source of the information. This diary at Colorado Confidential recounts the contortions the campaign went through to hide the informants idenity. My favorite is comparing the disclosure of information to the Beauprez campaign to disclosure to a reporter - and therefore protected under the shield laws. Unfortunately, the campaign forgot that the access to the federal data base they illegally used to get the data is a password protected and access code logged system. Crossreference the name of the individual you researched and all individuals who previously accessed the data are shown. Oops.

Anyway, the question is - what does a preelection gaffe at the head of the ticket do to the ticket in Colorado? Especially after the Joel Heflye gratuitous kick to the.. wherever... of the Republican CO-05 candidate? Should this impact the turnout in Fort Dobson (how does the "Values" party turnout for a candidate who appears to have broken the law)?

So give some love to all the Colorado candidates:

Jay Fawcett
Angie Paccione
Bill Winter
Ed Perlmutter
Ken Gordon for SoS

Update: At this ColoradoPols diary there is discussion about the informant and the campaign. One important note is that Beauprez is claiming they never knew where the data came from but they claim they verified the data after receiving it. If the data came from a closed database and they verified it... Oops.

Update 2: Commenters have asked about national coverage. This diary by ColoradoLib lays out the fact that the AP took this story national. More national coverage appears to be swirling.

Update THREE - the Beauprez campaign (as noted in comments below) is now claiming the disclosure was "whistleblowing" to expose his opponent's prior record and therefore is A OK. Whatever...

Update Four Well, Colorado Confidential has a new diary that sets forth the entire Bob Beauprez "whistleblowere" defense":
Breaking News: Beauprez Statement from Press Conference (ENGLEWOOD, CO) Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez made the following statement today at a campaign press conference.

My campaign is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation and providing law enforcement 100% of what we know, which we will continue to do, including providing the identity of our source.

Several months ago, we were approached by a source in federal law enforcement who had seen firsthand Bill Ritter's despicable policy of purposefully putting deportable criminal aliens right back into our communities, only to commit crimes again.

Our source saw a terrible wrong that needed to be made right. And he blew the whistle.

Our source blew the whistle on a policy that Bill Ritter had kept secret for many years. A policy of Bill Ritter's that included systematically plea-bargaining with criminal aliens, offering them obscenely lenient plea deals for "trespassing on farmland"--in the City and County of Denver--only to put them right back out on the streets when the law called for deportation.

So after this travesty was uncovered--after Bill Ritter's dirty little secret was brought to light, he complains that the public doesn't have a right to know about his ridiculous policies that made our communities less safe. Well I disagree.

I think the public does have a right to know that Bill Ritter put a heroin trafficker back on the street who went on to be arrested for the sexual abuse of a child. Bill Ritter has never denied that he did this. Bill Ritter has never accepted responsibly or apologized to the people of Colorado for his failure.

Now Mr. Ritter has embarked on a witch-hunt, demanding that my campaign release the name of our source. Instead of explaining why it is that Bill Ritter put dangerous criminal aliens back into our communities, when they should have been deported, he wants to destroy the life and career of a good man who blew the whistle.

A conscientious member of law enforcement exposed a reckless policy embraced by Bill Ritter and now Bill Ritter is demanding to know his name so he can destroy this person. Well, He won't be getting it from me.

I'm not going to confirm nor deny whether the agent named in today's newspapers is the same individual as our source, because doing so would compromise the ongoing investigation. And unlike Bill Ritter apparently believes, I think politicizing an investigation is wrong, and I think everyone deserves due process.

If anyone should understand that, it should be a former DA. Unfortunately, Bill Ritter is more interested in getting elected than preserving due process and explaining the truth.

Here's what I will tell you. Our source--in my opinion--performed a great act of courage and public service by bringing this story to the public domain. Now there will be an investigation and with all due process the case will be examined and handled by law enforcement. That is the law and I support that. What shouldn't happen is the destruction of those who put themselves in harm's way to protect us.

That is what Bill Ritter is bent on doing. To cover up his own policy of cutting deals with criminal aliens while jeopardizing the safety of Colorado families, Bill Ritter wants to destroy a person who had gotten a bellyful--saw a wrong and tried to make it right.

It's typical of Bill Ritter's entire approach to law enforcement and basic justice--give violent illegal immigrants a break but blame the victims, the police, or the federal government whenever anything goes wrong.

But I will not throw a good and decent man to the wolves just to gain personal political advantage or satisfy Bill Ritter's desire for retribution or election.

###

Yup, a courageous employee, please note the first release of this "needed" information was a campaign ad, not disclosed to the press to help disclose. Also, note the information came "several months ago" - nice timing; something like the accusations on the Foley information release? - hope KO gets ahold of this one. I think we have a fine candidate for WPITW

Originally posted to tjlord on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:23 AM PDT.

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