DENVER (AP) – A Colorado Republican Party spokesman said Tuesday that party lawyers have talked with prosecutors about allegations that several leading Republicans tried to blackmail the chairman of the state GOP into resigning.
Steve House, head of the state Republican Party, has said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and Pueblo County GOP Chairwoman Becky Mizel told him to step down last week or face reports that he cheated on his wife.
House has denied any affair and refused to resign.
Coffman has called House’s allegations “rumors and lies.” In an interview with The Denver Post on Tuesday, she said she hadn’t tried to blackmail House but acted because she feared he was exposing the party to potential litigation by promising people jobs and not hiring them.
Republican spokesman Owen Loftus said the attorneys had conversations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Denver District Attorney’s Office.
He wouldn’t provide additional details, however, and it’s not clear what level of contact was made, who initiated it or whether the case would ever rise to the level of criminal investigation.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jeffery Dorschner, said Tuesday, “We have now been contacted by various people involved in this situation – and at this point in time the U.S. Attorney’s Office has no involvement in this matter.”
Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, said she wasn’t aware of any contact about the case and that there is no complaint on file or investigation underway.
The scandal has roiled Colorado Republicans and cast a shadow over the party’s hopes for a successful 2016 election in a pivotal swing state. It’s also damaged Coffman, a rising star in the party.
– By Nicholas Riccardi, AP Writer
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