Ethics scandal in Colorado House not exactly in Blagojevich territory

In today's Rocky Mountain News, Lynn Bartels demonstrates once again why she made our list of the five journalists who the Denver Post should poach first in the event of a Rocky closure -- a sidebar to the feature article headlined "The Rocky Mountain News is Going Down." In her piece "Ethics Charge Filed in Race for GOP Post," she aims her microscope at Centennial representative David Balmer (pictured), who was expected to vie against Frank McNulty, a rep from Highlands Ranch, for the minority leader's position in the Colorado House that opened up after Parker's Mike May announced his resignation to concentrate on business interests. Instead, May abruptly un-resigned -- and Bartels reveals that Balmer is the target of an ethics complaint that likely involves Colorado Chiropractic Association lobbyist Erik Groves.

Accusations of "outside influence" in the selection of a minority leader smack of the current brouhaha involving charges that Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama's old Senate seat to the highest bidder -- but the scale is infinitely smaller. Note that the donation the Colorado Chiropractic Association gave to Balmer during the 2008 campaign was $3,250. Blagojevich wouldn't have appointed someone as a bathroom attendant for that kind of coin.

Clearly, Colorado is in the minor leagues when it comes to political scandal. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. -- Michael Roberts

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