No charges over ads in Colorado congressional race |

No charges over ads in Colorado congressional race

Dan Elliott
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Neither candidate in a bitter Colorado congressional race will face criminal charges for what each claimed were untruthful attack ads, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Both then-Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and Democratic challenger Betsy Markey filed complaints under a Colorado statute that outlaws knowingly or recklessly making false statements to influence an election.

Markey, a businesswoman, complained about ads proclaiming she “got rich on noncompetitive Haliburton-style contracts.” Musgrave, a three-term GOP incumbent, complained about ads that claimed she “voted to let lobbyists wine and dine her.”

Markey defeated Musgrave in the 4th Congressional District.

Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson said Thursday the ads didn’t rise to the level of a crime because they were a matter of “interpretation, opinion or spin.”

A bipartisan review committee set up by the Colorado District Attorney’s Council after the Nov. 4 election concluded the ads didn’t meet a standard of “knowingly” or “recklessly” lying ” even though the impression they left with the public “may have been inaccurate, misleading or false.”

Abrahamson, a Republican, said the council makes bipartisan committees available for such decisions to avoid any appearance of favoritism.

Anne Caprara, Markey’s campaign manager and now her chief of staff, said the campaign didn’t want to drag out the legal battle, “although we felt and still feel that there were many blatantly false statements made.”

No listed phone number could be found for Musgrave, who has stayed almost entirely out of the public eye since her loss.

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