Thursday, May 22, 2008

The implosion of Bob Schaffer's candidacy

On Tuesday Colorado Pols brought attention to a Federal criminal fraud case in Denver which is coming very close to Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer. Essentially the defendant, Bill Orr, is charged with making fraudulent representations to the federal government vis a vis his 501(c)(3) National Alternative Fuels Foundation.

Where does Bob Schaffer fit in? Pols explains,

Schaffer served as Director of the NAFF from October 2004 until March 2005, just two months before the nonprofit was administratively dissolved. By May of the following year, Orr had been indicted. This is critical because according to documents we've seen, Orr continued to make these allegedly false reports to the EPA through at least December of 2004--well into Schaffer's tenure as Director.

Schaffer was not himself indicted in this case, though his name did appear on the witness list.

How did Schaffer become a board member for NAFF? Well that's something that an intrepid reporter is going to have to take on. The circumstantial evidence indicates that Schaffer may very well have been doing favors for NAFF while he was a sitting U.S. Congressman representing Colorado's 4th Congressional district. Late last week 9News reported,

Orr admitted he paid himself more than $500,000 of the federal funds during two years of research and development work. He said he obtained the grant with the help of Congressional aides whom he met while working on other fuel and environmental issues.

Specifically, Orr worked with politicians on Capitol Hill when he tangled with the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1990s.

The Orr jury is currently in it's second day of deliberations. If the jury convicts Orr the Schaffer angle could well blow wide open in the press within a day or two.

It's all a bit speculative at this point but there is definitely an odor emminating from the direction of fromer NAFF board member Bob Schaffer. He's already faced a steady drip of bad press and scandal and it has begun to impact his poll numbers. Rasmussen reported yesterday,

The Republican candidate is now viewed favorably by 44%, down three from a month ago and down nine points from two months ago. Schaffer now earns Very Favorable reviews from 14% and Very Unfavorable ratings from 18%.

Schaffer and his opponent, Mark Udall, were statistically tied in mid-February (Schaffer 43 - Udall 42) that has now morphed into a 6 point Udall lead (47-41) as of this week. Udall has opened a commanding lead amongst Independents, a crucial voter block in Colorado - especially for Democrats. In terms of registration numbers Republican's hold a slight edge over Independents and the Democratic Party is in 3rd place. Rasmussen reports,

Udall has gained ground among unaffiliated voters over the past month and now leads by twelve among them. A month ago, the candidates were even among those not affiliated with either major party. Partisan preferences have changed little during that time frame--Udall still attracts 84% of Democrats while Schaffer is supported by 78% of Republicans.

If Schaffer is tied to Bill Orr I'm not sure how he can remain a competitive and serious candidate against Mark Udall. All of the evidence points to the previous scandals, especially the Marianas Islands debacle, as severely undermining Schaffer's candidacy. If he continues to hemorrhage support from Independents and see his poll numbers drop that will negatively impact his fundraising ability as well as the amount of support the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is willing to dedicate to a lost cause.

1 comment:

jen r said...

I'm a little scared how little I viewed him as actual competition to Udall... dang. I better stay better informed on this stuff!