Colorado has it backwards. State capitols are where shenanigans are expected to cross the line from political to criminal.
West of the Continental Divide, they say, “Hold my beer.”
Being a maverick on the edge of the law is tradition. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid roamed and robbed their way from Telluride to the Dinosaur. Kid Curry and Doc Holliday are buried in Glenwood Springs. Alferd Packer ate five prospectors in the San Juan Mountains.
Then there's Jane Kirkham, who loved to rob stagecoaches and keep secrets, even from her husband, who was the sheriff of Leadville in 1889. Unaware and fed up with the heists, the sheriff disguised himself as a woman on a stagecoach leaving town, and when the desperado, dressed as a man, drew down on the stagecoach, the sheriff revealed himself and opened fire. The robber was shot dead in the back running away.
That’s when the sheriff learned his wife was an outlaw.
Voters in these parts can relate.
Tip your hat, then, to pistol-packing U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and estranged Mesa County elections clerk Tina Peters.
The Republican officeholder is accused of conspiring with “stop the steal” activists by improperly offering up images of Dominion Voting Systems software's workings, the Denver company at the center of the stolen-election conspiracy.
The FBI is investigating.
My pal Charles Ashby at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel broke this story and continues to drive it.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, took the unusual step of appointing her predecessor, former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and former Mesa County clerk Sheila Reiner, both Republicans, to run November’s election in Mesa County.
Griswold also is suing to remove Peters from office, but Peters responded by accusing Griswold of trying to steal the votes of a staunchly Republican county.
As the story was unfolding, Peters was partying with Trump lieutenant and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell at a symposium that was supposed to prove the election was stolen from President Trump. Lindell is being sued by Dominion for $1.3 billion.
"I can't unsee some of these things," Peters told the gathering.
Despite indications, Peters claimed on Sept. 3 she was still on the job — just working remotely, from somewhere undisclosed — and scolded Republican county commissioners who alleged otherwise.
One was Commissioner Scott McInnis, a former Republican congressman and candidate for governor, who urged Peters' supporters to “tell her to come out of hiding and come home.”
It doesn't stop there: Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein is working potential felony cases against Peters' deputy, Belinda Knisley, alleging burglary and cybercrime.
That's a wild bunch.
Boebert? Where do you start, and when does it stop?
Outlandish mileage reimbursements, entertaining QAnon, tossing her face mask at House staffer or setting off a metal detector meant to keep guns out of the chamber are starting to taste like small potatoes on the Boebert buffet.
If I had to pick, my favorite Boebert brouhaha so far happened just last week. With controversy swirling behind her, Boebert took the mic at a Republican press conference. She called for impeaching Biden, his vice president and the secretary of state, “if you can even find him.”
Boebert’s plan, if feasible, would make Nancy Pelosi president in the line of succession.
On the campaign trail last year, she claimed she spent seven years counseling women at the Garfield County Jail. In March Colorado Newsline, through an open records request, unearthed jail logs that showed Boebert showed up nine times between May 2014 and November 2016.
During that period, in 2015, Boebert encouraged a group of suspected underage drinkers to defy law enforcement at a country music festival in Grand Junction, earning a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. She reportedly warned deputies she had friends at Fox News.
A year later, two months before Donald Trump was elected president, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after steering her truck into a ditch. She complicated matters by failing to show up for court.
Her husband, Jason Boebert, has his own rap sheet.
He reportedly showed his penis to a 20-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl as a joke in a bowling alley in Rifle in 2004. He was 24. That earned him an indecent exposure charge. His future wife, oddly, was listed as a witness on the police report.
Separately, he was accused of domestic violence later that year.
You might say all their troubles with the law are long in the past, but you'd be wrong.
Jason has pocketed nearly a million bucks from a local oil company, one his wife regulates, and her failure to disclose it until recently has the power couple in the public eye for all the wrong reasons.
The way the money passed through the Boebert’s finances could put some of it directly in the congresswoman’s pocket. That’s going to attract attention.
The Federal Elections Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics are investigating.
The congresswoman sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and provides reliable support to the industry.
The Republican Party used to stand for the rule of law. Boebert doesn’t play by the rules.
Neither does Colorado, where all the wild political doings are done across a continental divide far, far from the seat of power.