Gold Dome, Jon Caldara, Politics

Capitol harassment investigators need investigating

Ever watch an episode of some crap show on Netflix and before you know it your whole weekend is blown? You’re blurry-eyed and wondering how you binge-watched a show about vampires running a baseball team in the 24th century.

That’s what happened to me several Fridays back watching proceedings to expel state representative and alleged harasser Steve Lebsock. It had all the subtlety and sophistication of a soap opera.

For seven hours legislators came to the well to emote in a massive group therapy session. Supportive hugs were given. Bible verses recited. Colleagues were admonished for using salty language in the high holy place of the Colorado Capitol (oh my). Tears were shed by women, then, of course, from Democrat men, who then confessed they were wearing bullet-proof vests, presumably to protect themselves from vengeance of Lebsock’s evil. One representative even detailed the horrible rape of his wife.

Oddly, Lebsock wasn’t actually accused of trying to shoot someone, or of assault or rape. But you wouldn’t know it by the show-trial being over-acted in front of the cameras.

In my opinion, Lebsock has deservedly earned the reputation of being terribly horny and overly creepy.

But, the floor debate should have been about who should decide to remove him from office, his constituents or his colleagues, most of whom don’t like him.

The investigation of the Democrat’s alleged misdeeds and those of three Senate Republicans was conducted by the Employers Council, an organization that lobbies the same legislature it was hired to investigate. You’d think that would conflict them out of the job, but nope, because, well, this is Denver.

Fortunately for us, we now can get an inside peak on the investigative reports on two of the Republicans, Sens. Jack Tate and Randy Baumgardner, as they have been leaked and published by KUNC and respectively.

Read the reports yourself. You might come to the conclusion the female investigator just used her own internal divining rod to play judge. It’s petrifying that the careers of people hang in the balance because of such embarrassingly sloppy, secret, subjective reports.

So you know where I stand, I’d love to see both Tate and Baumgardner thrown out of office. Their immense cowardice in supporting a bill that took away our right to vote on tax and debt increases, stole our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights tax refunds and hiked our state income taxes makes them key figures in the largest betrayal of fiscal conservative values in Colorado political history. They are spineless puppets of special interests and weak, sad excuses of representatives of taxpayers.

But the question is sexual harassment.

Both reports rely on the investigator’s subjective sense of their credibility, like how they sounded, not what they said, and how they looked.

Of Sen. Tate, who stands accused of the high crime of acting “flirtatious” with an unnamed woman and saying, “I like the way that skirt looks on you,” the presumption of guilt was derived by such indisputable facts as, “Mr. Tate speaks in generalities,” and “It appeared Mr. Tate was a relatively larger man, taller than most.”

And my favorite “…during his interview, Mr. Tate seemed to lack an awareness of how social perceptions of certain eye movements, or comments, could possibly make someone feel uncomfortable. This hindered his credibility.”

And of needed witnesses to this he-said, she-said drama? “…this allegation was allegedly witnessed by a third party. However (the witness) did not return this investigator’s attempts at contact.” Perry Mason would be proud of that due process.

Of Baumgardner the investigator relied on solid evidence like he “appeared quick tempered” and became red in the face. So, “this apparent quick temper also hinders (his) credibility.” And while the nameless accuser didn’t actually see who it was that “slapped” her on her tush, I guess she just knew it was Baumgardner. So, of course, Lynch the bastard.

I’m not saying these men didn’t do what their faceless accusers assert, but now that the reports have been leaked the real investigation needed is on the Employers Council. Or to use their terms — their subjectiveness and lack of rigor hinders their credibility.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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