DENVER — Congressman Mike Coffman’s campaign is accusing his opponent Joe Miklosi of pulling a Matt Arnold.
Arnold is the brash Republican candidate running for a CU Regent At-Large position who lied about having a Master’s degree he never actually completed.
Miklosi, a Denver Democrat finishing his second term in the statehouse, appears to be taking credit for legislative accomplishments he really had little to do with.
On his campaign website’s “Accomplishments” page, Miklosi lists several pieces of legislation that lawmakers passed last year — even though he didn’t do the heavy lifting on most of them.
“Joe Miklosi is padding his resume,” Coffman’s campaign spokesman, Owen Loftus, told FOX31 Denver.
“Voting for something doesn’t give you the right to take credit for someone else’s hard work. I voted for Tulo to make it to the All Star Game last year, but I don’t include that on my resume.”
The first item listed under Miklosi’s “Accomplishments”, “OED Small Business Navigator”, aimed to help businesses grow by cutting red tape and was sponsored by Rep. Matt Jones, D-Boulder.
All Miklosi did was vote yes, along with all but one of his House colleagues, as the bill passed 64-1.
It’s the same thing with the second bill Miklosi lists, the “Extension of Bioscience Grants” legislation that was sponsored by Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen and, similarly, passed the House 64-0; after the vote, Miklosi signed on as a “co-sponsor.”
Under accomplishments in the realm of education, Miklosi lists the School Finance Act, which directs state funding to school districts most affected by budget shortfalls.
The bill was sponsored by the six members of the Joint Budget Committee, not Miklosi.
“To me, I felt it was disingenuous,” Gerou told FOX31 Denver. “I think it’s less than honest that he would term it that way. The bills that concern me, all he did was vote yes on third reading. All he did was push a button. If all you have to do is push a button for four years and run for Congress, I just think it’s not being honest with people.
“Don’t take credit for somebody else’s work. And that, in my mind, is what he did.”
Only the fifth bill listed on Miklosi’s page of job-creating legislative accomplishments, “Creative Districts” legislation that allows local governments to set up special districts for artistic industries, was actually carried by Miklosi himself.
That bill passed the House 33-30 with two Republicans voting in favor of it.
Just above the list of specific bills, Miklosi’s site offers a vague disclaimer of sorts: “Below are innovative ideas and legislation that I supported while serving in the Colorado House of Representatives.”
“If they’re accusing Joe of misleading voters, that’s a stretch,” said Joe Hamill, Miklosi’s campaign manager. “It’s clear he’s not claiming he’s the sponsor of all these bills. This is the work he and his colleagues did in the legislature.
“Joe is extremely proud of his record and the work that he and his colleagues accomplished in his years in the Colorado legislature unlike Mike Coffman, who is doing everything he can to hide from his extreme record of supporting a budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it and advocating for the Personhood Amendment that would outlaw abortions even in the most extreme cases including rape and incest,” Hamill said.
But Political analyst Eric Sondermann said Miklosi’s campaign was somewhat careless in creating this page on its website.
“In this day and age of fact-checkers and trackers and opposition-researchers, your campaign website is as much raw material for your opponents as it is the rallying point for your most ardent supporters,” Sondermann told FOX31 Denver.
“Voters conditioned to view the most political claims with cynicism now look for dis qualifiers as much as they look for qualifying characteristics. Embellishment of credentials will catch up to you almost every time and only feeds that well-developed cynicism.
“This kind of resume inflation is perhaps slightly less egregious and a bit less black and white than Matt Arnold’s confusing some kind of certificate for a Master’s degree,” Sondermann continued. “But it constitutes an unforced and unnecessary error.
“For a campaign that was given new life by a recent unforced error on the part of Congressman Coffman, it is silly to sacrifice that advantage and any claim to high ground.”
Hamill told FOX31 Denver that the website is in the process of being “re-worked” but wasn’t sure if the “Accomplishments” page would be altered.