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Who Said? You Said...GOP Says?

11:47 AM ET, 10/ 8/2010
You've probably heard by now of the local conservatuve blog site Who Said You Said, which we've discussed a time or two in this space. If you haven't visited their blog, perhaps you've seen one of their many billboards going up around the city:

WhoSaidYouSaid, like Progress Now on the left who has been pulling stunts of this kind for many years, bills itself as an "independent" group--subject to the same kinds of restrictions on direct advocacy for candidates, forbidden to directly coordinate with campaigns, et cetera. And like we've told conspiracy-minded types for years, it doesn't cost very much money to run a blog, or even to buy an inexpensive camcorder for getting the cameo footage of politicians that WSYS specializes in.

The thing is, WSYS has moved considerably beyond the low-overhead blog-and-Flip-camera model they started with. The billboards that WSYS is putting up cost many thousands of dollars. Also, "correspondents" from WSYS have recently been showing up to events with high-end camcorders that typically sell for several thousand, not the $150 Flip cameras they used to use. Also, these billboards seem to be, based on their content, the sort of election-related paid communications for which disclosures are necessary--especially within 60 days of the election, which we are.

And it gets better: the principal figures behind WSYS, Kelly Maher and Mary Smith, are both deeply tied to the Republican Party. Maher apparently moonlights for WSYS, while serving at the same time as Secretary of the Denver Republicans. Smith is a past director of the Denver GOP. Furthermore, WSYS's SoS filing from last year lists an address of 1660 Wynkoop Street #900. That's the address of the Hale-Westfall law firm, home of Richard Westfall and Ryan Call--two of the GOP's most prominent election attorneys, and Call actually official counsel for the state GOP.

Seems a little bit incestuous, doesn't it? We're not outright accusing anybody of breaking laws here, mostly because we don't claim to be experts on the finer (and frequently murky) points of either Colorado or federal election law. But we think that having so many GOP usual suspects, especially persons who currently hold positions in the Republican Party, running this "independent" and suddenly very well-funded effort is, well, pretty darn interesting.

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