After wading through the usual barrage of pop-up, pop-under and pop-everywhere advertisements that seem to have completely taken over The Denver Post website, we finally made our way to Tuesday’s editorial criticizing 7th District challenger Joe Coors’ ad highlighting the questionable ties between a failed solar firm and incumbent U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden).
The aggressive spot that has The Post so hot and bothered calls attention to the fact that Deana Perlmutter, Mr. Perlmutter’s ex-wife, was paid $140,000 to lobby on behalf of the solar firm Solyndra – work she began in 2008 before her divorce with Mr. Perlmutter was finalized.
The infamous solar company benefitted from passage of the 2009 Obama stimulus spending bill, which Mr. Perlmutter supported, before collapsing in 2011 after receiving more than $500 million in taxpayer subsidies.
“Congressman Perlmutter voted for [the stimulus]. Lobbyist Perlmutter got paid. And taxpayers got scammed,” the Coors ad notes.
Predictably, the Post blasted the Coors ad as “deceitful,” unequivocally assuring its readers that it is “absolutely false … that Perlmutter is corrupt.” As proof, The Post reminded readers of a 2006 commitment Mr. Perlmutter made to “put in place office rules that addressed his wife’s lobbying so as to avoid conflicts of interest.” But we’ll come back to that latter claim in a moment.
What is perhaps more notable than what the editorial said, is what it didn’t say. For all of their sanctimony and indignant bluster, the folks at The Denver Post were unable to disprove any of the claims in the ad — grudgingly admitting that the Coors spot is “technically true.”
And what else could they say? Mrs. Perlmutter did indeed lobby Congress on behalf of Solyndra in 2008 after Mr. Perlmutter was elected (and before the two were legally divorced). Mr. Perlmutter did indeed vote for the failed stimulus that provided truckloads of cash to the doomed solar firm. And Mrs. Perlmutter was indeed paid $140,000 by the failed solar company for her services.
So yes, as our friends at The Post concede, the ad was “technically true.” But if you don’t want to take their word for it (we never do), you can review one of the many federal lobbying disclosure reports and the timeline of events to see just how “technically true” it is.
Now back to those Perlmutter “office rules” we mentioned earlier.
In their mad dash to help the embattled Mr. Perlmutter out from under the dark ethical cloud the Solyndra scandal has generated, The Post editors note that Mr. Perlmutter put “office rules” in place to avoid such apparent conflicts, citing that 2006 commitment from the Congressman that Mrs. Perlmutter “would not lobby him or any member of the U.S. House.”
It was a commitment that The Post called “essential” at the time.
There’s just one problem: Those pesky federal lobbying disclosure reports we mentioned earlier reveal that Mrs. Perlmutter did lobby members of the U.S. House – which is precisely what Mr. Perlmutter pledged would not happen.
The Denver Post is certainly entitled to their opinion, even if their opinion is that Mr. Perlmutter’s 2006 commitment to create a “D.C. firewall” to prevent “entanglements with lobbying relatives” is no longer as “essential” today as it was back then. But we do wonder – would The Post be so charitable if Mr. Perlmutter were a Republican who had voted to expand oil drilling after Deana was paid $140,000 to lobby on behalf of Exxon-Mobil?
We believe the answer to that question is as self-evident as The Denver Post’s motives.
If The Denver Post ultimately endorses Joe Coors, we will be happy to “stand corrected.”
Until then, we will simply interpret the one-sided, misinformation in Tuesday’s copy of Denver’s daily rag as an in-kind gift to the ex-husband of a six-figure Solyndra lobbyist.