Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ethics Watch a 'liberal' organization? Umm ...

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Scott Gessler
  • Scott Gessler
Today, the Denver Post proved that it's not above political spin in its news section.

It came in an article detailing Colorado Ethics Watch's push for a criminal investigation of Secretary of State Scott Gessler for spending taxpayer money on trips to the Republican National Convention and a GOP election-law training event.

In the article's first sentence, reporter Tim Hoover refers to Colorado Ethics Watch — a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3), government watchdog group — as "a liberal group."

Hoover than goes on to quote Gessler spokesperson Andrew Cole as saying, "This is the kind of partisan behavior Ethics Watch is known for. It shouldn't come as a surprise that they would attack a Republican secretary of state, just as they have in the past."

While its not unheard of for a 501(c)(3) to be labeled partisan — since some do push platforms that align neatly with a particular political party — Ethics Watch doesn't seem to meet those criteria either in philosophy or in practice. After all, Republicans and Democrats have both pushed for campaign-finance disclosures and ethics in government.

Hoover's article does not give any explanation for labeling Ethics Watch "liberal." So, we called Ethics Watch executive director Luis Toro, to ask how he felt about the characterization.

"Honestly I just laughed, because they didn't call us that when I wrote an article criticizing John Hickenlooper," Toro said.

Toro said he hopes that people understand that people of all stripes can support the efforts of Ethics Watch. And he notes that his group has often been harder on Democrats than Republicans.

"We've only called for resignations of Democrats," he says. "We've yet to call for the resignation of a Republican."

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