Guest Commentary: Tim Wirth – The Battle for the Rule of Law and What Comes Next

Guest Commentary: Tim Wirth – The Battle for the Rule of Law and What Comes Next

I first ran for Congress in 1974 in the wake of the “Watergate scandal.” The scandal was not about a botched burglary at a Washington hotel. Rather, the malfeasance by President Nixon and White House associates raised serious questions about the integrity of the democratic institutions and rule of law that have historically made the United States of America an example to the world.

After the campaigning was done, it became clear that the American people voted for a new generation of leaders to help repair and reform our democracy. And that is what those of us elected to Congress did. Together, we championed the rule of law and brought about historic reforms that made government more transparent and more accountable to the people. We initiated campaign finance reforms, consumer protections and other initiatives intended to advance the economic, environmental, and security interests of the American people.

Today, we confront a similar crisis around the rule of law and a similar opportunity for civic renewal. As the actions of the Trump Administration remind us, we cannot take our constitutional freedoms for granted and our democracy depends on active citizens and responsible leaders. That is why I am pleased to see new leaders stepping up to run for office for the first time, as I did in 1974.

One important leader we can support in Colorado is Phil Weiser. Since coming to Colorado in 1994, Phil has served our community and nation well. At the University of Colorado Law School, he has mentored hundreds of lawyers and helped launch the careers of young men and women from all backgrounds across our State, and he has served with distinction in important positions in the federal government. Now, Phil is running to be the next Attorney General for Colorado, a job which is more important than ever. He deserves our strong support.

As our next Attorney General, Phil will fight for our constitutional freedoms, for working people against special interests, for the rule of law and a vibrant democracy. When Ken Salazar was our Attorney General, he stopped an unconstitutional effort to gerrymander our congressional districts. Ken has endorsed Phil’s candidacy, and I know that Phil will be a leader, like Ken, in protecting our democracy from gerrymandering and voter suppression, and working to end the corrupting influence of “dark” undisclosed money in our politics. I believe he will be a leader of the national effort to overrule Citizen’s United, which undid—by judicial activism—some of the campaign reform efforts we passed after Watergate.

When I was in Congress, I fought hard to support the antitrust lawsuit helped break-up the AT&T telephone monopoly and to encourage competition in the telecommunications industry. While serving in the Department of Justice and President Obama’s White House, Phil fought for enhanced competition and innovation to give consumers better services at lower prices. In Colorado, he is a recognized and respected leader in our technology community, supporting the innovators and entrepreneurs who are bringing good-paying jobs to our State. At a time when the federal government cannot be counted on to fight for competition and consumers, we need an Attorney General like Phil who will stand up for our interests.

Finally, Phil will be a leader in protecting Colorado’s land, air, and water. President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords is contrary to America’s international standing, economic, and security interests, and our legacy of leadership around the world. In the face of this shameful abdication of moral responsibility to future generations, it is incumbent upon states and localities to protect our planet and address climate change. Unfortunately, Colorado’s current AG, Cynthia Coffman, has sided with climate change deniers, the fossil fuel industry, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to challenge the Obama Administration’s clean energy agenda and has undermined Governor John Hickenlooper’s leadership on restricting methane from oil and gas extraction. We deserve better leadership from our AG. Phil Weiser will provide it.

We are living in scary and challenging times. As Benjamin Franklin said upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, “you have a republic, as long as you can keep it.” In the next election cycle, as in 1974, we have the opportunity to revitalize our civic institutions and elect leaders who care deeply about our values, our Colorado traditions, and our democracy—and who can fight for them effectively. Phil is just that type of leader. I urge you to join me in supporting his campaign in any way you can.

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