DENVER (CBS4) – Verbal shots were taken this weekend between the El Paso County sheriff and a top Colorado politician over the gun control debate. It stems from a radio interview Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, is the president of the state Senate. He says Sheriff Terry Maketa of El Paso County is out on a limb with an allegation about Democrats holding up pay raises. The sheriff claims his fellow sheriffs are facing a political backlash over gun control.
Colorado sheriff’s lined up against gun control bills in the state Senate, but now discontent from Maketa has been raised a notch with an email allegedly from a sheriff’s group that complains about Democrats at the Capitol.
“Basically in that email it said, ‘You sheriffs, the Senate majority leadership, the Dems, are very upset with your testimony and opposition on the gun bills,’ ” Maketa said.
Maketa discussed the email on radio station KVOR. He claims the email from the County Sheriffs of Colorado, CSOC, suggests that a sheriff’s pay hike would be tabled if the sheriffs don’t back off their fight against gun control bills.
“I was absolutely outraged by that,” Maketa said. “I think that’s the type antics that we’re seeing out of the leadership up there and it starts right at the top with the president of Senate.”
“All of these allegations are preposterous and he knows it,” Morse said.
Morse says there’s no linkage between pay raises and the sheriffs’ anti-gun control position.
“I’ve talked to members of my leadership team, which is what he says this was, a member of leadership. Nobody, I mean nobody; none of them have even talked to the sheriffs,” Morse said.
Sheriff Fred McKee of Delta County is president of CSOC. He told CBS4 he’s not sure who wrote the email but that what it said is not an officially sanctioned opinion of CSOC.
“The answer is either to again threaten and intimidate us into changing our votes tomorrow, or to try to the pay issue actually back on the table,” Morse said.
Maketa wonders if a crime has been committed against the sheriffs.
“It was almost bordering extortion, attempted influence of a public official,” he said.
Maketa declined to comment any further on his allegation against the Senate Democrats.