Wikileaks email shows ProgressNow Colorado bragged over 2010 gubernatorial race

This was a bad one for Republicans, with the establishment favorite Scott McInnis losing the primary after he was found to have plagiarized a paper on water policy. Dan Maes, the Tea Party candidate who won the primary, went on to lose not only to Democrat John Hickenlooper but to former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who ran with the Constitution Party.

Politico’s Ken Vogel has been going through the trove of emails released by Wikileaks and found one in which ProgressNow Colorado brags about getting the plagiarism story into print without their fingerprints on it.

The subject line is: how we just changed an entire Governor’s race in 48 hours–without any fingerprints

“As you may have heard with the hard work of the folks at ProgressNow Colorado as part of Colorado’s communication hub they dug up weeks ago and carefully passed on information to the mainstream media on how the leading GOP candidate for Governor, former Congressman Scott McInnis plagiarized a report he provided on water policy for a foundation in Colorado.

In the past 48 hours, McInnis and the entire Republican party of Colorado are in free-fall. There are now calls even within the Republican party for McInnis to withdraw.

The best part is that ProgressNow Colorado nor any of our allies had their fingerprints on any of the excellent behind-the-scenes work to develop and then break this story. This has led to three straight days of front page Denver Post coverage as well as the editorial below and statewide media, a share of which is linked to below.”

ProgressNow Colorado’s Alan Franklin shrugs in response.

It is, in fact, true that sometimes people give things to journalists and say, “You didn’t get this from me,” and journalists look at it and decide it’s a story regardless of the agenda of the person who gave it to them.

When ProgressNow has its fingerprints on a story — like the apparently forged signatures on Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser’s nominating petitions, Republicans accuse the media of doing ProgressNow’s bidding. Those forgeries looked serious enough, though, that one petition-gatherer faces criminal charges.

In a response to Franklin, Vogel says he’s not calling it scandalous.

ProgressNow Colorado’s mission is to shift public opinion on policy issues that matter to progressives.

Meanwhile, Vogel has an interesting story out based on the Wikileaks emails that show Chelsea Clinton raising “serious concerns” about potential conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation.

And Vogel himself has been caught up in Wikileaks revelations. Last year, he found himself having to explain why he sent a story about fundraising to the Democratic National Committee in advance.

And that’s been your Tuesday afternoon look at how the sausage is made.



Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, or @meltzere.