After Friday's explosive front-page New York Times expose on Sen. Michael Bennet's tenure at the Denver Public Schools, the Democratic chairman of the Colorado state house's Budget Committee, Rep. Mark Ferrandino, is moving to launch a formal bipartisan investigation into Bennet's Wall Street/DPS deal, with an eye on how much DPS taxpayer money will now be handed over to Wall Street banks. Considering the audit may happen in the middle of the general election, the move just days before the Democratic Senate primary election seems to blow a hole in Bennet's argument that he is the most "electable" general election candidate.
Ferrandino, a former Democratic budget analyst in the federal government, was quoted on my colleague Mario Solis-Marich's AM760 show on Friday saying that he and Democratic House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann will be moving to open up a bipartisan audit of the deal:
"We are going to ask members of both parties and both chambers to do an audit of the investment because this has bigger implications than just DPS (Denver Public Schools), because of the recent merger of DPS and PERA (Colorado's Public Employees Retirement Association, because if (the investment) was done wrong, this could have an impact not just on Denver, not just the kids in Denver, but the State as a whole."
So one way or the other, all of the sordid details are going to come out - and likely in the middle of the stretch run of the campaign, providing Republicans with a huge cudgel against Bennet, should he win the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.
You can listen to Ferrandino's statement here. We are hoping to talk to Ferrandino (a Romanoff supporter) about the potential probe on Monday's morning show on AM760.
Also on the program, we will also be looking at how, according to the Denver Post, "Bennet's campaign Friday released talking points that mirrored (DPS chief Tom) Boasberg's" - and whether or not this means Boasberg (a Bennet donor and longtime ally) is effectively spending DPS taxpayer resources to aid Bennet's political campaign research office. Boasberg, of course, has a personal stake in defending the deal, as he was named in the Times' piece as one of the co-architects of the Wall Street/DPS deal with Bennet.
Tellingly, Boasberg's DPS-written talking points were forwarded by the Bennet campaign (and promulgated almost verbatim on some websites) only after Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid took to Fox News to issue an expletive-laced attack on Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Gretchen Morgenson for publishing a front-page New York Times story about the DPS deal.
Tune in Monday from 7-10am at www.am760.net or on your radio dial.
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