(orig. pub. 10/2/2010. I never did Part II!)
A new acquaintance recently raved to me about Ken Salazar, not realizing I have not only litigated against him (or the Attorney General’s office he was running) in several cases, but that I ran against him for Colorado Attorney General in 2002. I was the Green Party candidate; he was the Democrat.
This person referred me to Salazar’s profile on the Washington Post’s website for proof of how experienced and knowledgeable he is, how selflessly he has defended the public interest. That’s at:
[Well, how about that: a 404 error, in 2022! So you’ll just have to rely on what I said about this profile in 2010!]
Because I have knowledge which pretty well punctures this inflated resume I decided to start sharing what I know. I will refute the Washington Post’s profile point by point.
Note that this blog is a work in progress. What’s here is only about 5% of what will be here. And because I can’t upload documents, I will be moving this material to a website in the near future.
Under the tab “Current Position: Secretary of Interior (since January 2009):
This tab starts with, “Obama’s Interior secretary offers more than ten years of private-sector legal experience in water and environmental issues …”
I have never found any evidence that Ken Salazar ever litigated a case as an attorney, and I’ve done searches on Westlaw. (Once he became Colorado Attorney General, however–in January 1999–his name appears automatically in every case the 130 attorneys in the Attorney General’s office were involved in.)
Ken has revealed that he actually does not know that much about Colorado water law. He has said dumb things, such as that instream flows “injure” senior water rights. As a matter of law they don’t, because they are junior. He has bragged about how he “defended Colorado’s water” even while boosting the Animas-La Plata Project, which gave almost all of Colorado’s unallocated portion of the Colorado River away to two Ute Indian tribes (and for the water from which no use has ever been shown). He opposed legislation which would have created private instream flow rights and opposed bypass flows being required as a condition of special use permits by the U.S. Forest Service.
As to his “private legal experience,” he was a partner for about four years, in between stints in government, with the firm Parcel, Mauro, Hultin & Spaanstra, which represented mining interests before the Mined Land Reclamation Board, an agency in the Department of Natural Resources, while Ken headed that department. Ken has removed all references to this firm from his official bios. I discovered his affiliation with PMHS on my own, in 2002. It’s a stunning connection, because PMHS represented Robert Friedland, the Summitville polluter, as well as Friedland’s shell companies (Galactic Resources and Summitville Consolidated Mining Corp.) and other mining interests. That means these interests were Ken Salazar’s clients, too. Summitville is still the biggest environmental mining disaster which has ever occurred in the nation–and there is substantial evidence it was intentional–a stock play benefiting political officials connected with S & L mobsters. I will be writing more about this in future.
The law firm, PMHS, was obviously deathly scared of being prosecuted for its role in these environmental crimes. It was instrumental in putting its former partner Ken Salazar into office as Colorado Attorney General in 1998, therefore–a large number of its partners gave $500 or $1,000 contributions to his campaign. The firm then dissolved right before the election and Salazar used his official powers as Attorney General to settle the State of Colorado’s claims against his former client Friedland, sticking almost the entire $235 million tab for the clean-up of this environmental catastrophe with the American taxpayer. Salazar met personally, in secret, with Robert Friedland in San Francisco–that’s who “principal” refers to–accompanied by the former mining company attorney he had anointed as Solicitor General, Alan Gilbert (whom he has now brought into Interior), to work out this settlement. Friedland was represented at this meeting by Bill Clinton’s buddy Jim Lyons. The four of them met at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco in June 2000. [Note, 8/22/20: I am very annoyed to discover the link above had been interfered with. This may have happened years ago. I’ve fixed it. That travel record is the smoking gun and I was very proud to have obtained it, which I did through an open records request to the Colorado AG’s office.]
Friedland was required to pay $27 million in this settlement, which Salazar bragged about far and wide as a “victory” for the State. In fact, Friedland never even paid the $27 million, or one thin dime, because the Colorado Supreme Court in 2005 changed Colorado insurance law to relieve him of that liability. It held Friedland’s insurer was liable for the $27 million. The author of this opinion was none other than Greg Hobbs, whose misconduct as a Supreme Court justice I have written about elsewhere, and who (I am convinced) has been the one pushing the series of groundless and harassing disciplinary proceedings I have had to defend against for the last four years, as payback. That’s just the kinda guy he is. Hobbs was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Roy Romer, who–there is strong evidence–may have profited personally from the Summitville mining fiasco, as did Bill Clinton.
I have written about Salazar’s conflict in working out a deal to resolve the State of Colorado’s claims against his former client Friedland, and the machinations of PMHS to get rid of any possibility of prosecution in other quarters, and tried to make Summitville an issue when I ran for AG in 2002. I got absolutely no press about it (and Sierra Club and the Colorado Environmental Coalition endorsed Salazar as the “environmental candidate.”) I posit that Summitville–like the British Petroleum oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and like 9/11; the breach of the levees which destroyed New Orleans in 2004; and several other disasters–was caused intentionally, so powerful insiders could make a bunch of money through put options. Similarly, I maintain that Ken Salazar not only knew what was coming with the BP spill, he put all the pieces in place beforehand–just as he did in Summitville, as the student of Roy Romer–not only exempting the perpetrators from regulations–including a meaningful bond which would have protected the public; from inspections; and from construction standards–but doing everything he could to limit the liability the polluter would bear, and pass the costs to innocent persons, particularly taxpayers.
As for the other “private-sector legal experience” Ken Salazar had, I have recently learned that he worked for the firm of Sherman & Howard for several years as his first job out of law school. He doesn’t mention this on his resume, either. I do wonder about his employment at these fancy law firms, because there is no indication Ken Salazar made good grades. When he ran for the Democratic Senatorial nomination against Mike Miles in 2004, for instance, every teacher and professor Miles had ever had, his whole life long, spoke out about what a brilliant student Miles had been. There have never been any testimonials from Ken Salazar’s teachers. Salazar attended the University of Michigan law school, which had a quota system for minority students (later challenged in a U.S. Supreme Court case while Salazar was Colorado AG. Salazar filed an amicus brief supporting the University of Michigan’s program, on behalf of the State of Colorado, without revealing the likely fact that he was a beneficiary of that program himself.)
Salazar’s willingness to be controlled by the powerful interests, and susceptibility to flattery, led to the law firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck adopting him as its favorite son. It ran Ken Salazar’s campaigns for Attorney General in 2002, as well as the Senate in 2004. I mean, it ran them. Its attorneys earned their salaries performing functions in the campaigns which one would think should be filled by volunteers. There was never any financial disclosure about the value of the services provided by this law firm to these campaigns, however.
A partner in this firm, Steve Farber, is responsible for bringing the Democratic National Convention to Denver in 2008, where Obama received the nomination of his party (anointment, really). My take is that Obama repaid the favor by letting Farber fill the top slots in Interior with Coloradans. Naturally, he picked Ken Salazar, who has spent his life in public office doing favors for this law firm and its developer clients, to be Secretary. Farber picked his own former law partner Tom Strickland (who was, conveniently, U.S. Attorney when the Summitville case was in court, more insurance that there would be no prosecutions) as the Deputy Interior Secretary, and picked the managing partner of Holland & Hart–and formerly Shell Oil’s water attorney–Anne Castle as Assistant Secretary of Interior for Water and Science. And now Alan Gilbert is also, once again, at Salazar’s side.
The Washington Post tab continues “…and several decades of work in government, where he focused on land-use, water, and natural-resources issues.“
Ken did nothing but flack for real estate developers in the official positions he held in Colorado–and always, always was using his powers to do favors for the Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber law firm and its clients. Steve Farber even bragged, when Salazar was a Senator, about calling Ken up on his cellphone to discuss stuff. How many people have a U.S. senator’s cellphone number?
The litigation I did against the governmental entities headed by Salazar, including the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (State Board of Land Commissioners and Colorado Water Conservation Board) and the Colorado Attorney General’s office–all of it–involved huge frauds committed by these state agencies, which just lay down and let the developers and polluters run roughshod over the public interest. State trust lands flew out the door for pennies on the dollar–including a valuable piece to Salazar’s mentor, former governor Roy Romer, personally–on Salazar’s watch. Salazar never did anything about these frauds; he may not even have been aware of what was going on on his watch. He was simply keeping the seat warm as AG, picking up constant raves from the Denver Post for doing nothing. The Post’s publisher Dean Singleton is himself Brownstein’s client and friend. (See my blog post of Jan. 22, 2011.) So everything in Colorado was set up to accomplish a massive transfer of state resources to selected private pockets, with an AG who either was not astute enough to recognize what was going on–and that he had power to stop it–or did not care.
Because this particular comment in the Washington Post’s profile is not very specific, I’ll put specifics relating to the foregoing charges in other sections.
This tab further says, “Salazar served from 2005 to 2009 as a Democratic senator from Colorado.” That’s because the Brownstein firm ran his campaigns, as I’ve said, and the Denver Post plugged him nonstop. And that’s also because there was no enforcement of our weak campaign finance laws in this State then; and now, the laws themselves are toothless. It’s also because Democratic operatives, paid by developers, are stuffing ballot boxes–I have litigated against these operatives, known as Reiter & Associates, and got an admission from Reiter that he was working for Salazar on his AG re-election campaign in 2002, when I ran against him, something which was never disclosed on Salazar’s committee’s financial reports. I uncovered many other irregularities in Salazar’s AG campaigns, and tried to get investigations, and failed, because, at that time, the law required the complainant first to file a case with an administrative law judge and get a favorable decision before a prosecution could commence! So prosecution was put on the shoulders of citizens, at their expense. Even if they won before the ALJ the next step–criminal prosecution–was discretionary with the DA or the AG.
Now, there are no criminal penalties, at all, for campaign finance violations. They were removed via an initiative drafted by a very naive Common Cause in 2002, an organization which must be taking its cues from the same Democratic (read: development) interests who are co-opting elections. So, know this: there is nothing standing in the way of the wholesale buying of state and local elections in this state. There are NO investigations, NO prosecutions, and NO criminal penalties attached to the violation of the campaign finance laws in Colorado. So don’t attach too much cachet to the fact that Salazar won these elections.
As for the 2004 Senate race, there is evidence that Salazar stole the primary, when he ran against Mike Miles for the Democratic nomination. I heard that there was again ballot-box stuffing, but have been unable to confirm it. I do know that polls taken right before the election showed Miles well ahead, but then Salazar ended up winning by a big margin. Typically, in an election in which Rick Reiter is involved, the favored candidate or issue wins by an unbelievable split, like 75% to 25% (reminiscent of the Soviet Union), to make sure the losing party goes away with his tail between his legs and never runs for office again. The Reiter activities in two elections he stole in the Town of Castle Rock, which I litigated, are detailed in a video a voting rights activist made of me in 2009 talking about them.
As for the Denver Post, this rag is owned–well, heck, NOW it’s owned 80% by the Bank of America!–but back then it was still owned by William Dean Singleton, who is still running it, as well as acquiring other newspapers around the country. Former Houston Chronicle reporter Pete Brewton (who worked for Singleton in Houston, and was stymied by him in Brewton’s investigations of the savings & loan crisis) wrote a book in 1992, “The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush,” where he says that Singleton and Larry Mizel, the co-director of a homebuilding company called MDC Holdings, are “good friends–they were introduced by Michael Milken.” Mizel and MDC Holdings are “clients” of the Brownstein law firm. They were all deeply involved in the savings & loan debacle and junk bond frauds in the 1980’s. Every analyst I’ve ever read of the S&L debacle has concluded it was orchestrated by organized crime. Billions flowed out the doors of these institutions the moment they were deregulated, in uncollateralized loans which were never paid back.
A big component of the frauds was Silverado S&L here in Colorado, with which Mizel (MDC Holdings) did $300 million worth of business. (Neil Bush was, of course, a director of Silverado and voted loans for his partner in Bush’s oil company, real estate developer Bill Walters, without disclosing his conflict.) Brownstein was counsel for MDC/Mizel, and deeply involved with Bill Walters, Ken Good, Marvin Davis, Charles Keating, Michael Milken, and other S&L defrauders. My theory is that the S&L defrauders used the money they got to cement their power. Not only have they made lots of illegal campaign contributions, they have put their plants into influential appointive positions in state, local, and federal government, where they are protected by the personnel system; and, in particular, in the judicial system.
These people are the mob–they are organized crime, and they run Colorado, as well as the nation and, shortly, the world. We get these neverending plugs of Ken Salazar in the Denver Post because they are all part of the same network.