Bob Boswell, state rep hopeful: Is his plea for lobbyist cash honest, stupid or just plain greedy?

A series of letters from Bob Boswell, Republican candidate for state representative, urging lobbyists to "align yourselves and your clients" with his campaign, has prompted widespread cackling on political blogs. The former Western Sizzlin' operator's ham-fisted way of seeking donations sounds a lot like he's putting his yet-to-be-won seat up for sale, or at least lease.

Some cynics have even complimented Boswell on his honesty. In his latest appeal, he writes, "Well, we're getting down to the nut-cutting... I'm a neophyte at politics and understand that maybe I've not sent out all the right signals, so let me try again. I am going to win this race... Please help me insure this victory for pro-business interests by supporting my campaign and encouraging your clients to do likewise."

The solicitation is not illegal, but it does raise ethical questions. And as the Greeley Tribune points out in a thoughtful op/ed piece, it would be easier to overlook Boswell's "rookie mistake" if he hadn't made such a big deal of being a candidate of the people, beholden to no special interests. In past guest commentaries, he's described lobbyists as "scumbags" and demanded that the whole sordid business of buying access to power should be outlawed.

The best you can say about Boswell's unsubtle begging for cash from the same old special interests is that he seems to have made a clean break from his noble principles of yore and is prepared to grovel with greater enthusiasm than a jaded incumbent. Such eagerness is refreshing.

So pony up, scumbags. It would be a shame to let this gravy train leave the station without you.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast