This year's political season is enough to make all of us voters run screaming into the night.
In that vein, let's explore how Gov. Bill Owens' appointed regional officer for economic development, El Paso County Republican Party Chairman Chuck Broerman, spends his days politicking -- and breaking the law -- possibly on the taxpayers' dime.
Last week, the Independent revealed how Broerman fraudulently obtained city parking-meter hoods to reserve two premium parking spaces directly in front of Centennial Hall, beginning the first day of early voting.
Broerman's purpose for these two prime spots was to park two trucks festooned with oversized political banners boldly advertising his favored candidates, Wayne Allard, Ed Jones, Dan Stuart and Bill Owens. "We're just trying to help educate the voter," Broerman said.
Broerman's illegal activity was thwarted, however, after the Independent learned he had obtained the parking-meter hoods using the ruse that he represented a local construction company that was conducting work at 210 S. Cascade, a nonexistent address. In addition, Broerman provided a false address for a construction company owned by local Republican activist Larry Courkamp.
Broerman signed the application, pledging that he had read the rules and regulations that require parking hoods be used for construction purposes. Despite his signature, Broerman subsequently claimed he had no idea that, in order to reserve the specially issued permits, he was actually supposed to be conducting legitimate construction work.
After his hoods were yanked, Broerman vowed to continue parking the trucks in front of Centennial Hall, plugging the two-hour meters with quarters and moving them around to various parking spots during the day.
Following our lead, The Gazette seized upon the story, pointing out that offering false information is a crime under state and city laws.
Republican District Attorney Jeanne Smith subsequently opted not to file any charges against the GOP chairman, and deferred the case to the city attorney's office.
On Wednesday, Assistant City Attorney Kathy Moore said that she has not decided whether the City plans to pursue an investigation into the wrongdoing, much less whether it plans to press charges against the influential Broerman.
"I hope to [make a decision] within a week," said Moore, who denied the appearance of a delay. "It's not something that we move on immediately."
And the state's office of Economic Development and International Trade doesn't seem too concerned about Broerman's activities.
Last year, Broerman was appointed by Owens as a field representative to the governor's Economic Development office, a $60,000-a-year job that involves monitoring new and existing businesses in the Pikes Peak region.
Broerman replaced Randy Ankeney, who you might recall was a rising star in the local Republican Party until he was arrested for picking up a 13-year-old girl off the Internet, taking her to his home, getting her drunk and stoned, taking topless photos of her and attempting to have sex with her.
After his arrest, Ankeney, who along with Broerman and several others was serving as the co-chairman of the Gov. Owens re-election campaign, resigned his economic development post.
At the time, Drew Bolin, the deputy director of the state agency, denied the plum job was a political appointment.
In fact, shortly after Ankeney's resignation, Bolin said they were weighing the possibility of not refilling the position, noting the effectiveness of Colorado Springs' own independently operated Economic Development Corporation.
However, the governor's office ultimately selected Republican Party chair Broerman for the job. Broerman, a technical engineer, had no background in new business development but at the time had been laid off from his job at LSI Logic and was looking for work.
Owens' spokesman Dan Hopkins said that, in general, state employees are strictly prohibited from politicking while on the job and violators would likely be forced to retroactively claim it as time off.
Economic Development agency director Bob Lee noted that Broerman, who works during typical business hours, filed the application for the parking-meter hoods on Oct. 14, which was Columbus Day, a state holiday.
But Lee said he did not know if Broerman had spent any tax-paid time moving campaign trucks to various spots around Centennial Hall.
"If it looks as though he has violated the intent of the law, we certainly take that very seriously," Lee said. "If something was brought to our attention where Chuck has done anything inappropriate, we would look into it, but it doesn't seem that he has done anything on state time that he should not have done."
Beginning this week, Broerman, who could not be reached for comment, is on leave through next Tuesday's election.