I've been tangentially following the whole dustup between the Holtzman and Beauprez camps on the Republican side over the allegation that the Dead Governors (as the authors of ColoradoPols are affectionately known) have been attempting to track IP addresses of users of that site. I almost piled on to the GOP over this post ridiculing Hans Gullickson, the executive director of the state Republican Party for telling Republicans not to use the site on the theory that "Democrat activists" were using the site to identify GOP activists. I figured the whole thing was just an example of hilariously uninformed speculation and paranoia by GOP leaders.
Now I see via EMRosa's Soapblox Colorado diary that it turns out there was more than a grain of truth to the seemingly tinfoil-hat accusations of the state GOP leadership. Not the part that accused Democrats of anything of course; Gullickson evidently knew that was false. But it turns out that Laura Teal, who posted at ColoradoPols as "Red Hawk," is an operative for the Holtzman campaign who really was trying to track IP addresses to identify anonymous commenters who bashed Holtzman and supported Beauprez. Worse, the Dead Guvs allowed her to post under the generic "ColoradoPols" author name, allowing her to use the Dead Guvs' imprimatur (for what that's worth) for some of the posts that the Beauprez crowd found especially offensive.
Dead Governor "James Peabody" is attempting to simultaneously laugh off the episode and promise to behave better in the future. But to me the episode shows that the ColoradoPols model is bound to fail. They've made their name by publishing rumors that don't have enough confirmation to get published anywhere else -- but that lack of quality control leaves them vulnerable to intentional manipulation by a campaign (or an overzealous staffer). It looks like that is exactly what happened with their "reporting" of staff changes within the Beauprez campaign, which turned out to be wildly wrong and which I think we now must assume came from Teal and/or the Holtzman camp.
To avoid that problem, the Dead Guvs should be more cautious in publishing all the rumors that get passed to them. But then they would be operating with the same constraints as mainstream media operations and wouldn't have the competitive advantage they gave themselves by eschewing fact checking. That would leave them like the rest of us bloggers, providing analysis instead of original reporting. But that has never been ColoradoPols' forte. Jason Bane/"Alva Adams" has written some very good analytical posts, but he's been saving his best work for 5280. (I certainly can't blame him for that.) The rest of the analysis on ColoradoPols has been your typical, cynical and amoral whatever-works point of view on politics, like this post which argued that Bob Beauprez should claim credit for the deal struck by Denver DA Mitch Morrissey and the Mexican government to extradite accused cop-killer Raúl Garcia-Gómez to stand trial in Colorado for the murder of a Denver police officer even though any reasonable analysis would conclude that Beauprez' posturing was either irrelevant or an obstacle to the deal Morrissey struck.
The risk for the Dead Guvs going forward is that every rumor they publish will be suspected as a plant by some campaign or another -- kind of a version of the Thune campaign blog debacle from last year only with the twist that the Dead Guvs will publish anything from anyone instead of just spin from one particular campaign.
My big questions about ColoradoPols remain unanswered: Which one of them thinks it's humorous to constantly make unfavorable references to Angie Paccione's African-American ancestry (like here, here and here), and why haven't the others called him/her on it? For the record, Paccione's ancestry is mixed Italian- and African-American, but you wouldn't know that from reading ColoradoPols. Based on the latest hijinks I suppose I should conclude that the Musgrave campaign is using ColoradoPols to spread the word that her opponent is a Black woman. "Don't call me Foxy Brown," indeed.