Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Following a Leak to its Source

At 11:15 this morning, Bob Beauprez will hold a press conference to discuss "the source of information regarding Bill Ritter's plea bargains for criminal aliens." That someone leaked info isn't really the story, though -- or it shouldn't be. Journalists depend on leaks, and someone clearly leaked much of the information contained in Beaprez's new cold-case files to the Denver Post in advance of its big Sunday story twelve days ago.

But if the source of the leak can be traced back to the Trailhead Group, then that's a real story -- because it would be a violation of campaign laws. The trickle-down effect of the 527 has been felt in numerous Colorado campaigns, and there are indications that it's been too chummy with both the Beauprez campaign and the Colorado Republications, which would violate the rules. To recap:

On September 12, Colorado Republicans sent out a press release titled "Eight Strikes and You're Out," providing the case of drunk driver Ramon Romero as the first real example of Ritter's plea bargains. But the Repubs had used the death of Sonja DeVries as a political pawn without notifying her parents, and the release soon disappeared, as related in "Cold. Very Cold."

A week later, the Beauprez campaign sent out an alert about the "Bill Ritter Cold Case File," with the warning that it should not be unsealed until 9/19/2006. But September 19 came and went without the release of any files.

Instead, on September 21 Trailhead released "Walked Off," the ad starring September Dixon, whose four-year-old was killed by a hit-and-run driver six five years ago (and who was charged with attempting to run over her ex-boyfriend last month).

Finally, two weeks ago, the Beauprez campaign got back on the cold case with the series of releases/ads on aliens, both legal and illegal, who'd gotten deals from the DA's office. The information in the ad starring Carlos Estrada Medina is the source of the current controversy.

This morning, we may learn who gave the info to the Beauprez campaign. But the real question will likely remain: Who was the source's source? -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun