Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Jeffco's Ken Witt Pokes Recall Advocates

Friday Fun Day has arrived yet again. I don’t have super-secret materials to share or an inspiring video to show you today. But I do have something pretty darn entertaining: A school board reformer in Jeffco calling the bluff of recall proponents in Jeffco by filing a complaint against… himself.

Yes, that’s right. Tired of accusations that the board majority members have violated state sunshine laws, Jefferson County Board of Education President Ken Witt filed an ethics complaint against himself with the Colorado Ethics Commission. In his words:

This recall election will cost the district between $100,000-$200,000. That’s money that won’t go to our classrooms and our students. They have spent well over $100,000 gathering tens of thousands of signatures. … But not one is brave enough to sign a complaint? Out of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they have spent, they couldn’t spend the 49 cents for the stamp to send a complaint? And they accuse us of wasting money.

I just want to highlight that the actual amount spent by Jeffco United for Action on professional signature gathering by Black Diamond Outreach is $120,000, which somewhat mitigates the excited crowing of recall proponents about how quickly they gathered as many signatures as they did. I’m not sure you can qualify your 30,000ish signatures per board member as a groundswell of grassroots support when you paid a professional firm around $1.15 per signature to gather them.

But I digress. The more important point, as Witt says, is that for all the money recall supporters have spent on this effort, no one was willing to purchase the postage stamp required to submit a legal complaint against the board majority. Which is, you know, generally what you do when accusing elected officials of breaking the law. That’s particularly true when you print those accusations on official stuff like ballots.

So yeah, Witt “called their bluff.” Of course, this has resulted in much gnashing of teeth from folks who oppose the board majority’s sensible reforms. Mostly, this has come in two forms. First, they accuse Witt of orchestrating a “political stunt,” which is undoubtedly true—and a funny one at that. But what they fail to recognize is the fact that this stunt was an illustration of the larger, more expensive, and far more dangerous political stunt that spawned it in the first place: Trying to use a recall to undue the results of a fair election simply because some folks don’t like how that election turned out.

The second thing I’ve seen is the fact that the Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction over Witt’s complaint. Also true. One might think this would lead those making the accusations to angrily charge into district court with a real legal complaint about the laws Witt has broken, especially given the overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing they obviously possess. Yet that hasn’t happened. I’ll let you take from that what you will.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Every other claim touted by anti-majority activists (and their bigger political buddies) has been disproven. I guess we now have one more to add that list. One would hope recall leaders are at least able to recognize the sardonic humor of it all, but they appear to be too busy developing strange hand signals to communicate with those they dislike to stop and appreciate the message.

Have a great weekend!