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Does AG candidate Phil Weiser represent Colorado? Do his opponents?

Author: Conrad Swanson - September 1, 2018 - Updated: September 24, 2018

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WeiserPhil Weiser, former dean of the University of Colorado Law School, speaks at the state Democratic Assembly in Broomfield in April.
(Photo by Andy Colwell/Colorado Politics)

There’s subtle irony in Colorado Rising Action’s recent video questioning whether Democratic Attorney General candidate Phil Weiser is in touch with the state’s moral standards.

“Phil Weiser wants to be Colorado’s next attorney general, but does he stand for the centennial state’s values?” says the video, which Colorado Rising Action released via social media Thursday. “Weiser has almost no experience in the courtroom and spends his time fundraising out of state.”

The subtle irony comes in the fine print, which reveals that the organization behind Colorado Rising Action is based in the Washington, D.C., area.

Brian Rogers, the political nonprofit’s principal agent listed on the group’s articles of incorporation, is based in Arlington, Va. He is also listed as the executive director of America Rising Squared or AR2, another political nonprofit based in Washington.

On its website, AR2 claims its “communications team is among the most aggressive in Washington, D.C., advancing conservative policies and pushing back on liberals by engaging in a wide range of press outlets in the conservative and mainstream media across the nation on every platform.”

The site also says Rogers worked as the communications director for former U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who died Aug. 25. Rogers also held positions in McCain’s 2008 presidential bid and at the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Lindsey Singer, communications director for Colorado Rising Action, confirmed her organization operates under the umbrella of AR2, but noted that Thursday’s message comes from Coloradans.

Colorado Rising Action was formed in June and two of its three employees are from Colorado, Singer said.

Adding to the irony, Singer said she comes from Boulder.

“Not a lot of conservatives come out of Boulder,” she said with a laugh.

Singer reiterated that she and another colleague at the nonprofit are “doing this because we’re Coloradans and we care” about the state’s issues.

Indeed, Weiser has raised more money from out-of-state donors than his Republican opponent, George Brauchler.

So far Weiser has raised $1,040,955.68, according to campaign finance filings submitted this month to the Colorado secretary of state. More than 17 percent of that money came from out of state.

On the other hand, Brauchler has raised about $403,928.71 in the same period. Less than 4 percent of that money came from out of state, the filings indicate.

Colorado Rising Action’s video also claims that Weiser supports sanctuary cities, has less courtroom experience than Brauchler and has participated in cyberbullying.

In response to accusations of cyberbullying, Weiser tweeted an apology Aug. 17.

“I apologize. Recent tweets took a turn I did not anticipate and do not support. I wrote about a young man trailing me on the campaign to highlight my opposition to secret dark money in politics. That led to responses targeting this young man’s appearance, which were wrong,” he wrote.

The offending tweets were deleted once the campaign learned of them because they did not follow the appropriate guidelines for the campaign, campaign manager Colin Hornsby said in a response released that week.

Weiser is a former University of Colorado Law School dean, while Brauchler is the current district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.

Conrad Swanson

Conrad Swanson