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CO state worker sells voter data to GOP, Sec. of State investigating

by rcs1


Digg!
As reported last night, a technology manager in the Elections Division of Colorado's Secretary of State's office was selling Colorado voter data to GOP candidates.

Daniel J. Kopelman of Aurora, CO, whose duties include oversight and maintenance of the state's master voter registration database, was offering "GOP campaign help" in the form of voter and "fresh" fundraising lists at the web site of his privately-owned company Political Live Wires.

In response to ePluribus Media's inquiries, a spokesperson for Sec. of State Mike Coffman stated that his office had no knowledge of Kopelman's "side business" and saw his actions as a "conflict of interest." Furthermore, upon learning of Kopelman's activities, Deputy Sec. of State William A. Hobbs met with the state's voter database manager and directed him to take down his web site.

But Coffman's claims that he was unaware of Kopelman's private venture are now in doubt, as the newly elected Secretary's campaign expenditure reports from last fall -- filed with his own office -- show multiple expenditures to Political Live Wires and Kopelman for services including "consulting."

And in a new development, ePluribus Media has learned that the Colorado Secretary of State's office has begun a formal investigation into Kopelman's activities.


commentary :: :: :: buzz-it!
Political Live Wires

Daniel J. Kopelman registered Political Live Wires (PLW) as a trade name on January 1, 2004 according to documents filed at the CO SOS's office. His company's web site -- PoliticalLiveWires.com -- is no longer available. However, the image below was obtained by ePluribus Media before Kopelman took the site down and provides a partial list of the services he was offering:



Kopelman also provided his resume on PLW's site, which explicitly stated his duties in Coffman's office:




COLORADANS FOR COFFMAN
According to Coffman spokesperson Dana Williams, the Secretary felt it was "inappropriate for an employee to be both overseeing and selling voter lists" and that his office "was unaware" of Kopelman's GOP campaign company.

However, last November 20, Coloradans for Coffman -- the Secretary's 2006 campaign committee -- paid $1500 to Political Live Wires for "consulting for 2006," according to a campaign finance report filed by the committee. PLW was also paid $1,810.15 for "software" on Aug. 9, 2005.[1]

In addition, on several occasions during the campaign, Coffman's committee paid Kopelman directly for "software expenses."

Kopelman's precise employment in 2006 is somewhat unclear. That year, he apparently worked as a systems analyst for Coffman, then the Colo. State Treasurer, and did political consulting and software engineering both personally and with PLW for Coffman's winning SOS campaign.

But in an odd twist, in 2006 Kopelman also found time to run for Arapahoe County treasurer.

His campaign was publicly supported by Coffman, as well as by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and retired U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong (R-CO).

In the 2006 Arapahoe County Fair program, an ad paid for by Coloradans for Kopelman contained the following two endorsements:

Colorado Treasurer Mike Coffman
"Dan Kopelman managed major increases in efficiency for the State Treasurers Great Colorado Payback program. He has the skills necessary to do a great job as Arapahoe County Treasurer."

Congressman Tom Tancredo
"Dan was instrumental in taking my
Congressional offices into the 21st century.
His policy and technical skills were an
invaluable asset. He will be an outstanding
Treasurer for Arapahoe County.
"

Kopelman lost in the August Republican primary by 33 votes. But in January 2007, Coffman re-hired his former system's analyst at the Secretary of State's office, as an IT manager working on state compliance with the 2002 federal Help America Vote Act.[2]




Kopelman's Politics
Coffman may not have known that his technology manager running the state-wide voter database was currently selling voter lists.

But Colorado's Secretary of State certainly knows Dan Kopelman, having hired him on many occasions for both state government jobs and campaign work. And placing a known GOP campaign entrepreneur in charge of state voter data it is at least an issue of propriety.

Kopelman's political ideology is no secret.

He is a past president of both the Denver Metro Young Republicans and the Colorado Jewish Republicans, and a graduate of the Republican Leadership Program of the Rockies.

And before it was scrubbed, Kopelman's PLW web site provided "useful resources" -- links to sites like The DrudgeReport and Rush Limbaugh -- and was streaming 'headlines' from CNSNews.org.

At the current time, Coffman's office has informed ePluribus Media that they are now investigating Mr. Kopelman's activities, but declined further comment.




UPDATE
At 4:30 EST, Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman issued ePluribus Media the following statement:

"Dan Kopelman took a leave of absence last fall from his job at Treasury to help with my Secretary of State�s campaign. He asked to be paid for his time under the name of the entity in question [Political Live Wires]. I was not aware that he was engaged in soliciting the sale of voter lists or that he maintained a website. The voter lists for my Secretary of State�s campaign were purchased from Tactical Data Solutions. The individual from Tactical Data Solutions who the campaign interfaced with was Alan Farina who can be reached at (970) XXX-XXXX.


Footnotes
  1. Available online from the CO SOS Elections Center.

  2. "Musgrave running hard toward 2008; Coffman staffs up." Dan Haley. Jan. 29, 2007. The Denver Post.

Special thanks to Luaptifer, Wanderindiana, intranets, ubikkibu, avahome, kfred, deford, aaron barlow, roxy317, and of course, Cho. If your name should be on this list and isn't, it's solely b/c I'm an idiot. Please let me know so I can add it.
Display:
The Denver Metro Young Republicans website featuring pictures of Kopelman with Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Bush Campaign Chairman Marc Racicot, and Gov. Bill Owens

by intranets on Fri May 04, 2007 at 05:48:15 PM EST


by Jeff Huber on Fri May 04, 2007 at 06:08:40 PM EST
At best, the SOS is stupid and/or incompetent(or has hired someone to serve his bidding who is s/i)  for authorizing a payment to a campaign associate under a corporate name--which means this becomes a very public transaction-- and nobody checks out what the "corporation" does?  Sorry, but maybe campaigns for dogcatcher are run this way in Possum Holler but certainly not for SOS in Colorado!  One could reasonably expect someone who is running for Treasurer to be cognizant of proper fiscal accountability.

 At worst, this baby could be 'fibulating' bigtime and has some serious 'splainin' to do. Anyone who has campaign experience knows that FEC rules are very strict and one pays very close attention to them.  You leave nothing unexplored for the possible blowback.  Unbelievable arrogance of these people.  But then again, why am I surprised? Perhaps because their hubris made them fail to dot their i's and cross their t's.  Ya gotta admit that the irony in this program name is exquisite:
"State Treasurers Great Colorado Payback program"
Superb investigative work Mr. Johnston et al.

by DEFuning on Fri May 04, 2007 at 06:10:46 PM EST

I just did an interview with KCFR (Colorado Public Radio) for their top of the hour newscasts. I think they plan to start running it at 5:00 p.m. local (7:00 p.m. EST).

I don't think I said anything stupid, but it's not like I'd know if had. Hopefully I at least said "ePluribus Media" a whole lot.

KCFR streams at -- you guessed it -- KCFR.org.

"To the politician and a priest
We're in the belly of the beast
Because we fed it"

Amos Lee, "Freedom"

by Todd Johnston on Fri May 04, 2007 at 06:28:00 PM EST
LOL I was just coming over to post this!  I also sent it to some Colorado buds of mine.

by kfred on Fri May 04, 2007 at 06:40:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but finally someone got it right and called us a NEWS site. Thank you KCFR. :-)

"To the politician and a priest
We're in the belly of the beast
Because we fed it"

Amos Lee, "Freedom"

by Todd Johnston on Fri May 04, 2007 at 07:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Her intro was spot on, your short bit got the crux of the issue on the record:  He either stole the information and re-sold it, or the SoS let him re-sell it knowingly.  

by kfred on Fri May 04, 2007 at 07:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good job!


by luaptifer on Fri May 04, 2007 at 08:09:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Didn't seen it anywhere, hope it's not a duplicate!

by Cho on Fri May 04, 2007 at 09:54:21 PM EST


by roxy317 on Sat May 05, 2007 at 12:10:20 AM EST
This story seems to indicate that the data that Kopelman was selling was not obtained from the state but from a third party.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
by wanderindiana on Sat May 05, 2007 at 02:50:38 PM EST
here are the key paragraphs:
"Did Kopelman pay the secretary of state for the data he then turned around and sold to his Republican clients?" asked Waak.

But Coffman said the investigation so far showed Kopelman did not have access to such lists. Kopelman works on the recertification of voting machines and does technical work on a database known as the Statewide Colorado Registration and Election system.

Kopelman has provided receipts that he made purchases from a third party, which bought the documents from the Secretary of State's Office, Coffman said.



by Cho on Sat May 05, 2007 at 05:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't Colorado have rules against moonlighting on similiar industries?  Also, you would think employees working at SOS office cannot be involved with campaigns and campaign industry.. but we all know that isn't true.

Colorado Confidential

When Colorado Confidential spoke to Williams late on Friday, she would say only, "We were made aware of a website yesterday that we had not previously known about. Kopelman is still employed by the Secretary of State. It is a personnel issue and is under investigation."

Williams did say, however, that personnel action has been taken against Kopelman, though she would not say what the action was. Kopelman is still employed by the Secretary of State's office, she said. The deputy secretary of state's office is investigating further.

The Secretary of State's office is responsible for maintaining and selling voter lists in Colorado. A statewide voter list costs about $500, Williams said. Johnston noted in his initial report, "Kopelman was undercutting his boss -- the Colorado Secretary of State -- by pulling, bundling, and privately selling the state's voter information."



by intranets on Sat May 05, 2007 at 05:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that "the appearance of impropriety" is important.

I dunno, do they just all think that they can shove their hands deeper into their pockets, and say the "dog ate my homework"?

When I worked government contracts (and even just some big business) I couldn't even buy them a soda and fries!

by Cho on Sat May 05, 2007 at 06:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

this Colorado "goodling" was 33 votes from being the county Treasurer!?  Yeah, he would be real good with your money.

by intranets on Sun May 06, 2007 at 12:17:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Post to del.icio.us

by Kay Shepherd on Mon May 07, 2007 at 10:59:11 AM EST

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