Shaffer’s push for truth clause less than honest

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DENVER — Senate President Brandon Shaffer appears to have been less than honest about his proposal to ensure that anyone giving public testimony at the Capitol is, ahem, honest.

Shaffer, D-Longmont, had been considering a proposal that would force all people testifying before legislative committees to sign a declaration that they will tell the truth.

But, when faced with opposition to the idea, Shaffer, who is also running for Congress, appears to have hedged his bets during an interview Tuesday with the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels.

In an article published Wednesday, Bartels reports that Shaffer hadn’t made a decision on whether to pursue the idea this session.

“We are trying to figure out if there is a balance we can strike,” Shaffer is quoted as having said. “I think it’s reasonable to expect people when they testify in committee to be truthful.”

After the article appeared, Shaffer’s spokesman, Eddie Stern, sent an email to reporters who cover the Capitol contradicting Shaffer’s quote to Bartels.

“President Shaffer thinks this is a reasonable conversation to have, but not at the expense of the jobs and economy discussions that are taking place in both chambers of the legislature,” Stern wrote. “Several weeks ago he realized this might be more distracting than helpful and he tabled the idea.  He has no intention of bringing it back before the end of the session.”

In a follow-up email to Capitol reporters, Bartels — who, as Rep. Laura Bradford can attest, keeps copious notes and recordings of her interviews — confirmed that Shaffer didn’t sound like he’d decided “several weeks ago” not to move ahead with the proposal.

“When Brandon told me this morning that he had decided two weeks ago not to pursue the swearing in idea, I told him I wished he had told me that YESTERDAY when I interviewed him,” Bartels wrote. “He conceded he had failed to mention it.
“His quotes in that interview were in present tense: ‘We are trying to figure out if there is a balance we can strike,’ he said.”

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