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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 12, 20173min3340

Prominent and politically plugged-in Denver attorney Jon Anderson was elected 2017-18 chair today by the Board of Directors at the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. Anderson, a partner at prestigious law firm Holland and Hart who once served as chief counsel to then-Gov. Bill Owens, long has been a go-to guy in state Republican circles.

The association — “CACI” to its friends — is Colorado’s de facto chamber of commerce and the voice of the state’s biggest and most prominent businesses. An e-announcement about Anderson’s election quotes him regarding the organization’s role in the business climate:

“CACI has led the effort to establish Colorado as a pro-business state. … Colorado has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and is enjoying a thriving economy because of this focused effort to grow and expand our state economy. Colorado’s next challenge will be to ensure that state and local leaders do not take our thriving economy for granted.”

Anderson added a cautionary note: “Colorado has experienced a recent surge in legislation, ballot measures and policies that would hamper and harm Colorado businesses and Colorado workers.”

Longtime CACI President (and onetime state House Speaker) Chuck Berry weighed in:

“Jon has a keen sense of advocating for business interests in the public arena and he is an ideal person to lead our Board in these challenging times.”

Among the strong suits making him that ideal person:

Anderson’s political and election law practice includes representing corporations, non-profits, and candidates on federal, state, and local activities. In the current election cycle, Anderson represents members of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, a U.S. presidential campaign, non-profit organizations and multiple Super PACs and 527 committees. …

… Anderson’s government practice is focused on high stakes matters before federal, state and local government. …

CACI’s board meanwhile also chose Rhonda Sparlin, a partner at RubinBrown LLP, as chair-elect, and elected several new board members. Here are details on those and other developments at CACI.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 11, 20173min7470

You know the war over Broomfield’s anti-fracking proposal — or any pending ballot issue, for that matter — is heating up when a former governor steps into the fray. Republican Bill Owens, who served as Colorado’s chief exec until 2007, took to the airwaves and digital media this week with a video denouncing Question 301 on Broomfield’s November ballot.

In the video, Owens calls 301 “a deceiving measure” and a “cynical power play focused on blocking energy development.” The former two-term guv also assures viewers “Colorado already has the toughest oil and gas regulations in the U.S.”

The proposal would grant the combined city-county municipality “plenary authority to regulate all aspects of oil and gas development, including land use and all necessary police powers.” Plenary means absolute (we had to look it up), and there’s a problem with that: It’s a power that the state government contends local governments don’t have.

If it passes, the ballot measure probably would set Broomfield on a collision course with the state as the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled the state government, via the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, holds ultimate authority over oil and gas exploration.

That likely showdown prompted some residents to band together under the slogan, “Don’t let them divide Broomfield” in opposition to 301. They say they’re tired of their community serving as a jousting green over oil and gas politics.  In 2013, voters there OK’d a five-year drilling moratorium, but it was mooted by the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling. Earlier this year, voters turned back an attempt by anti-drilling resident-activists to recall a city council member perceived to be too soft on oil and gas exploration.

In siding with the No on 301 campaign, Owens — who before his time in elective office ran the Colorado Petroleum Association — appeals to war-weary Broomfielders in his video:

“National outside groups are trying to turn Broomfield into a political battleground over oil and gas development — again,” he says as the video opens. “Well enough is enough.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 10, 20173min520

Onetime state GOP chair, conservative stalwart and talk-radio host Steve Curtis — charged in March with voter fraud and forgery in Weld County for allegedly casting his ex-wife’s mail-in ballot in last November’s election — will go to trial Dec. 4.

The Greeley Tribune’s James Redmond reports Curtis pleaded not guilty in District Court in Greeley Wednesday to one count of voter fraud and one count of forgery, a class five felony. He could go to prison for up the three years if convicted.

By way of recap, here’s Denver’s Fox 31-TV at the time of Curtis’s first court appearance on the charges in March:

Weld County Prosecutors discovered the forgery when (former wife) Kelly Curtis called the Weld County Elections Office in October asking how she could vote since she had just moved to South Carolina but was still registered to vote in Colorado.

That’s when she said an election worker told her she had already voted by mail, and the elections office already had her ballot.

…verification judges for the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office got involved.  “We compared her (ballot) signature just to the signatures on her registration,” said Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes, who quickly determined the signatures didn’t match but noted the the ballot was sent from Steve Curtis’s home in Firestone, Colo.

He was allowed to remain free following his initial court appearance in Greeley March 21.

Curtis was chair of the state GOP from 1997 to 1999, a tenure marred by infighting that pitted his hardline, pro-life wing of the state party against more moderate elements that included then-Gov. Bill Owens.

As we’ve noted before, Curtis, a vocal death-penalty advocate during his years at the party’s helm, had been a victim in a grisly homicide in 1989 at his southeast Denver home. He was shot and left for dead alongside a roommate who was killed.

Curtis was a talk-radio host on Denver’s KLZ-560 AM radio at the time he was charged last March, but a staffer at the station confirmed today his show no longer is in the station’s lineup.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 20, 20174min1912

We are supposed to be on top of these things. Alas. Here we are, just now reporting that Colorado’s third woman lieutenant governor — she was the first Republican woman to have held that office — went to Washington last month to become director of intergovernmental and external affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Yup, another Coloradan joins the Trump administration.

Jane Norton served as lieutenant governor during Republican former Gov. Bill Owens’s second term, from January 2003 to January 2007. She served Owens in his first term as his director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She went on to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 in a high-profile Republican primary, narrowly losing that race to Ken Buck, who in turn lost the general election to current Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Norton is married to a former U.S. attorney, Mike Norton.

So, we were asleep at the switch. In our defense, we could find no mention of Jane Norton’s appointment via any other Colorado media, either; it was reported in brief by Beltway-insider Politico.

The pro-life, socially conservative Norton’s selection has not gone unnoticed by her philosophical foes, though. Rewire, a pro-abortion rights website that covers and comments on reproductive rights and related issues, had this to say about Norton in a post last month with the headline, “Trump’s HHS Won’t Stop Adding Anti-Choice Extremists“:

Norton’s record appears to be the most extreme on abortion rights …

During her failed bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Norton became the first candidate to ever receive the endorsement of anti-choice legislation mill Americans United for Life …

Norton began waging a war on Planned Parenthood in the late 1990s. Under her leadership, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment moved to ban organizations providing abortion care from receiving state funding.

Meanwhile, yet another Colorado Republican has joined Team Trump in D.C. — also at HHS — and she’s a close comrade of Norton’s. As reported by Politico, Lynn Johnson, the chief exec of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services, has been tapped to become assistant secretary for family support at HHS.

Johnson had served as chief of staff to Norton when Norton was lieutenant governor.