Schmuck of the Week

Laura Bradford: In case of specially treated representative, everyone's a shmuck

About the only good thing that has come out of the Representative Laura Bradford mess this week was the sarcastically suggested name (on Twitter and elsewhere) for a future Capitol Hill dive bar called the "Legislative Function." Every other aspect of this situation, from the way the police handled it to the way Bradford's party is dealing with it, to Bradford's actions in and of themselves, deserves a swift veto.

As you may recall, Bradford, a Republican from Mesa County, was stopped by Denver police late last week for making an improper lane change; she was coming from an East Colfax bar where elected officials, lobbyists and bureaucrats often congregate after work.

When the news broke two days later, the police said they had wanted to test Bradford to see if she was drunk, but decided against it because Bradford had involked legislative immunity -- a law that that prohibits police from arresting lawmakers on misdemeanor charges during a legislative session. Bradford allegedly told the cop she was coming from a "legislative function," which could have meant any number of things.

Bradford -- who, oh, by the way, was packing heat when she was stopped -- vehemently denied that she had invoked the immunity clause, and the police were later forced to retract their earlier statements.

In fact, the police admitted that Bradford has repeatedly asked to be treated like a regular citizen -- and revealed that they were investigating the sergeant who had treated her in a special way anyhow.

But that isn't the only ongoing investigation. Representative Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican who serves as Speaker of the GOP-controlled state House of Representatives, said he planned to proceed with an ethics investigation into Bradford's conduct.

An ethics investigation? Perhaps. Or, maybe a retribution against Bradford, who hasn't always voted with her fellow Republicans on various bills and issues. As a result, Bradford is now threatening to leave the Republican Party, something that would even out the numbers in the House between Democrats and Republicans.

So, who is the biggest shmuck in this twisted case. The gun-toting, wine-swilling, lane-changing legislator? The lying cops? The lawmakers using the situation for their own political purposes? It's a tough call.

Maybe we should all head to the Legislative Function and hash it out over a few beers -- and then take the bus home.

More from our Shmuck archive: "Doug Lamborn's shmucky tantrum results in a sorry state of the union."

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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