January 27, 2014
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.— New revelations show that the Hickenlooper Administration has not been honest to reporters and the public about an investigation into a scandal involving U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.
“Sen. Udall’s attempt to bully state employees for political cover has now turned into a scandal that has embroiled Gov. Hickenlooper and his Administration,” Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call said.
Earlier this month, emails were made public that show Udall, D-Colo., ordered his staff to make “hostile” phone calls and tried to pressure the Division of Insurance to “trash” numbers proving that hundreds-of-thousands of Coloradans lost their insurance due to Obamacare.
In light of the emails, a state representative requested that the Department of Regulatory Agencies, or DORA, investigate the matter. DORA’s director, Barbara Kelley, who was appointed by Hickenlooper, responded to the request, saying:
"A neutral and objective panel from the executive director's office interviewed a number of Division of Insurance staff, collected and reviewed e-mails and other correspondence between the (division) and Sen. Udall's staff,” and that they found "no evidence of any intimidation and 'the level of coercion by Sen. Udall and/or his staff' was zero."
Despite her assurances, Kelley later led many to believe that there was never a panel. In response to an Open Records Request that asked for, amongst other thing, the names of those on the panel, she stated:
"For clarification purposes, the Department first conducted a fact finding review, focused exclusively on DORA staff and processes, actions and perceptions during and after e-mail exchanges in early to mid-November, with Senator Udall’s staff. Having found no evidence of any intimidation or coercion as a result of this fact finding review, there was no need to proceed with any further investigation.”
Yet, late this afternoon, Kelley released the names of those serving on the panel, and revealed that they were all Democrat appointees, including herself; her deputy, Michelle Pederson; and John Cevette, DORA’s lobbyist, who also served as former Democrat Senate President Brandon Schaffer’s chief-of-staff.
“It’s clear that Gov. Hickenlooper never wanted to get to the bottom of this scandal. Instead, it appears he had his Administration do everything in their power to protect Sen. Udall, even if that meant misleading the press and the public,” Call added. “Coloradans deserve better. The lies and misinformation coming from Gov. Hickenlooper and Sen. Udall’s offices must stop, and they must stop now.”