Republicanism, Rocky Mountain Style

Thursday, March 01, 2007 at 12:35 PM

Reaffirming the existence of the "culture of corruption" that most of us see swirling around places under Republican control, there's Jefferson County, Colorado.

Here's a Denver Post editorial on the subject:

What's in the Jeffco water? ... Spying on private citizens?

Government kickback schemes?

They may sound like allegations ripped from the headlines in Washington, D.C., but these political shenanigans - and that's a rather tepid description of them - are happening in Jefferson County.

For the past several years, county residents have endured more than their share of crooked politics, embarrassing gaffes and downright stupid political stunts from their elected leaders.

Remember the "Pinky T." faxes? It was just two years ago that Jefferson County Commissioner Rick Sheehan resigned after it was revealed his relatives sent some raunchy faxes, signed Pinky T., to a gadfly critic of the county in hopes of tricking him into publishing libelous material on his website.

The episode cost the county more than $60,000 in legal bills.

That was just the beginning.

Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey recently announced that he has asked the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to follow up on allegations that County Commissioner Jim Congrove used taxpayer money to hire a friendly PI to investigate private citizens.

The county paid Professional Investigators, a firm operated by former Denver police officer Daril Cinquanta, more than $7,500 last year to investigate Mike Zinna, the same critic who received the Pinky T. faxes, and other residents. Cinquanta, of course, is also a friend of Congrove's.

Then, in another scandal, former county Treasurer Mark Paschall recently was indicted in an alleged kickback scheme.

Paschall, who campaigned as a fiscal conservative and briefly flirted with a GOP run for Congress last year, is accused of offering a $25,092 pre-tax bonus to his administrative assistant, Kathy Redmond, and then asking her to split the money with him. He has been charged with one count of attempted felony theft and one count of compensation for past official behavior.

Voters drummed Paschall out of office in a primary last August before the kickback scheme was even alleged but after other notorious stunts. He's the guy who handed out "Citizen Rule Books" that pitched jury nullification, and who proposed a remodeling of his county office, complete with an exercise room.

It's enough to make sane people wonder what's in the water that's piped into the the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility, commonly known as the Taj Mahal for its majestic appearance and opulent decor. (That alone was its own scandal more than a decade ago.)

And the newspaper left out the fact that Congrove, the Commissioner charged with spying on critics, is the same guy who was accused, back in 2004-2005, of bank fraud and forgery when he applied for a home loan in 2004.

So what's in the water? Republicans. The kind with the same oily skin as the other predators in the water. The kind that swim with DeLay, Ney, Noe, Cunningham, Abramoff, and the other members of this school of toxic fish.