THE BLOG
10/29/2010 06:05 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why Walker Stapleton's 11-Year-Old DUI Matters

In June 1999, GOP candidate state Treasurer Walker Stapleton was charged with DUI and leaving the scene of the accident in San Francisco where two women were injured. This would not be a story in this election, except for Stapleton's mishandling of both the accident and its aftermath.

Stapleton brushed off the DUI, saying a cab hit him and he did community service, equating the incident to having to eat a "doo-doo sandwich." He blamed the victims. (The reality is that he accepted a plea bargain down to a DUI, with three-year probation, twice weekly AA meetings and court-ordered community work.)

The court records, obtained by Campaign for a Strong Colorado, and one of the injured women tell a very different story. Stapleton was originally charged under the wrong section, implying he hit pedestrians. That charge was amended several days later, to charges of running a flashing light and hitting a cab in the intersection, causing injuries and leaving the scene.

One of the victims, Ginger Vasquez of Santa Monica, CA, was alone in the backseat of the cab that was hit by Stapleton. She describes the vehicle spinning after the impact and seeing Stapleton's car driving away.

After Stapleton's car stopped down a steep hill, she says, two cabs boxed in his vehicle to prevent him driving any farther. She has never talked to Stapleton and did not know his name until recently. She does not know the other woman injured in the accident. Stapleton never approached the cab to find out if everyone was all right. Most importantly, she has no motive to lie about events that night.

Stapleton, who has an obvious motive not to tell the whole truth, continues to shift the blame and will not produce police reports (unavailable to the public) of the accident.

Colorado's treasurer accounts for $20 billion and manages a $6 billion investment pool of public funds annually. Integrity, responsibility and good decision making are critical to this job. So are honesty and transparency. That's why his behavior is disturbing.

Cary Kennedy has a solid record of public service. She has made the state's finances more accessible to the public and has invested the state's assets wisely during one of the worst economic downturns in history. Her opponent's best shot at her? Stapleton erroneously accuses Treasurer Kennedy of holding only government jobs in her career, which her resume and several media truth tests have refuted.

Ironically, Stapleton was born into one of the country's wealthiest, best-connected families, sharing a family tree with the Bushes. He attended prep school in Connecticut and expensive colleges and universities. The truth is that Stapleton has never had to find a real job outside his wealthy family's umbrella.

Stapleton had the money to hire a very high-profile attorney to represent him in his DUI/hit and run. The attorney has all the records that Stapleton claims would support his story. He's had more than month to produce them. What's more, Stapleton is one of the few people who can ask the police department to produce the accident account.

The silence is deafening.