DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has been accused of blackmailing the chair of the Colorado Republican Party, and on Tuesday she sat down with CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd to tell her side of the story publicly for the first time on television.
“The allegations that have been levied against me, and I am the top law enforcement officer in the state, are criminal in nature,” Coffman said.
A week after being accused of extortion by Colorado GOP Chair Steve House, Coffman broke her silence.
Boyd: Did you blackmail or in any way threaten him?
Boyd: He’s lying?
House says Coffman, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and Pueblo GOP Chair Becky Mizel told him if he didn’t resign they would “out” him for cheating on his wife, which House denies doing.
“He had done things that exposed the party to potential liability, legal liability, and that was the context in which the relationship came up,” Coffman said.
Coffman says they confronted House about a “pattern of lies,” but she repeatedly refused to give examples to CBS4.
“Personnel matters need to be handled in private,” Coffman said.
Boyd: Why circumvent the party and hold this sort of secret meeting and ask him to resign?
Coffman: You know, it wasn’t intended to circumvent a process.
She said it was rather keep it all private. She said they promised House they wouldn’t go public but would go to the party’s executive committee.
Boyd: Do you feel like you’ve lost credibility to the point that in the wake of all this you should resign?
Coffman: No, I don’t … I think the party only goes forward if there’s honesty in the process, and what we have now in the leadership of the party is a lack of honesty.
The state party’s executive committee will hold a public meeting Friday morning. Coffman says she will either appear before the committee or provide a written statement.
The state party said Tuesday it is talking with prosecutors about the allegations. But both the Denver District Attorney’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office say they have no involvement in the matter.