Mark Udall confirms arrangement with Senator Jeff Sessions over Stephanie Villafuerte nomination

Still no resolution in the case of ex-ICE agent Cory Voorhis, who's fighting to get his old job back years after being sacked for passing information from a restricted database to gubernatorial candidate Bob Beaprez. But an interesting bit of news has surfaced regarding Stephanie Villafuerte, who withdrew her nomination as U.S. Attorney after being hit with splash-back from the Voorhis matter.

Last December, Alan Salazar, an aide for Senator Mark Udall, told Westword that his boss had spoken to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions about Villafuerte doing another interview to address still-lingering questions about her alleged accessing of the aforementioned database, which she denied. Instead, Villafuerte chose to take her name out of the running for U.S. Attorney. The Denver Post, which had done much of the heavy lifting on the stories involving Voorhis and Villafuerte, didn't report this development, and when Voorhis advocate and KHOW host Peter Boyles asked Post publisher Dean Singleton why not during a February conversation, Singleton responded that he hadn't seen the story because he doesn't read Westword, and went on to say that this publication doesn't care about facts.

Now, however, Boyles has obtained a letter from Udall to a constituent in which the senator confirms the account Salazar shared with Westword. Read it below.

April 6, 2010

Dear xxxxx,

Thank you for contacting me about the Cory Voorhis case. I appreciate hearing from you.

Late last year, I asked my staff to look into allegations that Mr. Voorhis was the victim of an improper federal prosecution and other concerns surrounding the way his superiors and colleagues at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) participated in that prosecution. Without Mr. Voorhis\'s permission, there are limits on the constituent service my office can provide, but my staff and I would be pleased to meet with him and his attorney to discuss his case should that be something he wants to pursue.

On the underlying issue of alleged corruption and mismanagement at ICE, I have contacted the Secretary of Homeland Security and have also indicated my support for the inquiry Senator Jeff Sessions initiated in questions he posed to Secretary Napolitano when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. I am not a member of that committee but I do take seriously concerns about how ICE handled Mr. Voorhis's case, since the office he worked in is headquartered in Colorado. Apart from the inquiry Senator Sessions initiated, I have expressed my own concerns to the Secretary\'s office regarding allegations of mismanagement at ICE arising from this case and asked that they be fully investigated and corrected.

As you may know, former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar and I recommended three individuals to potentially serve as U.S. Attorney for Colorado. One of these people, Stephanie Villafuerte, was nominated by the White House last year. I supported her nomination and when questions arose concerning her statements to the FBI with regard to Mr. Voorhis's case, I interviewed her a second time and felt that she was not only qualified for the job but also was willing and able to answer any further questions put to her by the Senate Judiciary Committee. When Senator Sessions suggested that she submit to a second FBI interview to clear her record, I felt this was a reasonable request and confirmed as much with Senator Sessions. Ms. Villafuerte declined this path for personal reasons and in a letter to the White House withdrew her nomination.

I look forward to a fair and just resolution to Mr. Voorhis case and will continue to work with Secretary Napolitano to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security and the ICE office operates with integrity and professionalism.

I will continue to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation's politics. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at

Warm regards,

Mark Udall

U.S. Senator, Colorado

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts