Polis tries to thwart press, transparency

It’s often said that politics is like chess, but that doesn’t excuse a politician who deploys vulnerable people like pawns, especially when his objective is to thwart transparent government and robust reporting.

On Friday, the Durango Herald caught Jared Polis in an error and reported that he refuses to take responsibility for it: “U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is declining to say if he will correct the congressional record after misidentifying a Bayfield family as his constituents during an April 2016 speech on the U.S. House floor. The congressman, a Democrat running for governor of Colorado, also declined to explain how the error occurred or whether it should concern his constituents.”

The Durango Herald went on to explain, “Polis referred to Edin Ramos – who is facing deportation – and his family as ‘constituents of mine.’ But, the family lives in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses La Plata County.”

So Polis made a mistake. Ok. Had he owned it, this would be a less interesting story.

Instead, it appears Polis’ office enlisted the woman at the heart of this story, his non-constituent, in an effort to squash the report.

As the Durango Herald reported, “Shortly after the Herald contacted Polis’ spokeswoman for comment, Thalia Ramos sent an email to the Herald saying she is concerned a news story about Polis falsely claiming her husband is a constituent ‘will only work to undermine all of our efforts on behalf of my husband and my family.’ The Herald had not previously reached out to Thalia Ramos for this story.”

Mistakes happen, but trustworthy leaders take responsibility when they do. By contrast, Rep. Polis apparently deployed Thalia Ramos in the hope this vulnerable woman would succeed in persuading a journalist to bury Polis’ mistake. That doesn’t speak well of his respect for transparent government, for the press, or for his constituents, real and pretend.

Colorado Republican Chairman Jeff Hays read this story and made the following observation: “Freedom of the press should include freedom for the press to pursue stories without undue influence from powerful, wealthy politicians.”

Read the entire story here.