Former District Attorney George Brauchler used the resources of the 18th District Court to support his side radio host appearance and directed an agent to help him book a guest.
On November 19 last year, Vikki Migoya, communications director for the 18th judicial district, called the Colorado Department of Public Health and Education (CDPHE) under the direction of Brauchler, who is their boss.
She asked if the agency could provide a guest for his “The George Show” on KNUS radio, a conservative hardline broadcaster. She sent the email after 5:00 pm but was using her work account in the 18th District Court.
“District Attorney George Brauchler has a radio show on Saturday,” Migoya wrote in an email he received about a request for recordings. “He is looking for a CDPHE representative to explain how a future COVID vaccine will be allocated in Colorado. His radio show is not part of his office duties; He asked me to point him to the right contact person so that he can arrange this with this person himself. ”
The next morning at 9:18 a.m., Brauchler contacted CDPHE personally and made it clear that he intended to question the division’s policies on prioritizing COVID vaccines. Brauchler is a Republican who ran for attorney general in 2018 and lost to Democrat Phil Weiser.
“Vikki contacted you for me to find someone who could discuss priorities for future COVID vaccinations on the radio tomorrow morning,” wrote Bübers in his email to CDPHE. “Uncomplicated interview, no surprises. To be honest, I don’t support the decision to give imprisoned criminals priority over 70- and 80-year-old Coloradans, but there has to be an explanation for that – and I wanted to discuss it. “
CDPHE didn’t produce a guest for Brauchler’s show the next day, but the first email exchange was just the first of many emails also received via a file request between the district attorney and CDPHE.
Between November 20 and December 31, 2020, Brauchler sent about two dozen emails to CDPHE and the media contacts of the Colorado State Joint Information Center (CSJIC).
Brauchler used his personal email account, even though he sent eighteen of these emails during normal business hours. Most of Brauchler’s emails asked for a guest to be interviewed on his radio show. He also requested additional details on various measures to combat pandemics.
Brauchler’s frustration rose in an email dated December 17, in which he snappy asked the CDPHE communications officer if they were being held hostage.
“I worry now that either you are hostage and cannot get your email, or that you have left your position with CDPHE. Who can I turn to to interview someone on the radio? “Wrote Brauchler.
Three days later, on a Sunday evening, Brauchler followed again and this time remarked: “I am making these inquiries in my capacity as a columnist for the Denver Post and as a 710 KNUS radio host.”
To be clear, emails like the one above, sent hourly via personal email, are perfectly appropriate. And, by and large, sending a bunch of personal emails during the work day isn’t a big deal. However, the appearance of a civil servant who uses working hours and, above all, staff for personal gain is not particularly good.
Brauchler has long been considered a likely candidate for nationwide office. He briefly ran for governor before moving from the governor’s race to the attorney general’s race. It’s unclear if it’s going to run again, but a weekly radio show and a regular column in Colorado’s largest newspaper help keep its name among the public.
Reached by email, Brauchler largely dismissed the concept of working hours as being out of date, noting that prosecutors were essentially available around the clock. He also denied, albeit far more precisely, that he had asked his staff to find a guest for him. He said he only asked the staff member to identify a CDPHE contact person so he could request his own guest.
Here is Brauchler’s full answer:
“During my time as an elected civil servant, I took care not to use government funds for personal ends. Therefore, the emails you are referring to come from a personal email account. You discover that they were sent “during working hours”. That may be true for CDPHE, but an elected prosecutor is on the clock all the time – nights, weekends, holidays, children’s birthdays, anniversaries … every day. In fact, unlike other government officials and employees, I did not collect any vacation during my time as a prosecutor … neither sickness, nor vacation, or personal time to take – it is expected that this will always be a district attorney available. To say “during working hours” about me is insincere at best. No prosecutor limits himself to the model of government of the 90s from Monday to Friday from 8 to 5.
I did not ask a representative to “contact CDPHE to inquire about a guest on a radio show” as stated in your question. The email you received from our communications director to CDPHE clearly states: “His radio broadcast is not part of his office duties. he asked me to point him to the right contact person so that he can arrange this with this person himself. ‘And that’s exactly what happened. “
The second objection is a pretty good analysis, so I kept working: “I’m still not sure if a government official asked me to help you find someone to help you find someone for your show, does not always use the 18JD office for personal gain. At your request, a representative contacted (by phone and email) CDPHE to help you find a guest for your show. It’s not a big deal, but it’s a thing. ”
“I disagree,” replied Brauchler promptly. “And this limited, single email effort to find a point of contact for me to follow up on a guest in my personal capacity took place after 5:00 pm. Of course, you can let that flow into any topic you choose. “
As seen from his emails with CDPHE, after the department provided a spokesperson, Brauchler made it very clear what he wanted to ask about: He questions the state’s process of prioritizing COVID vaccines in relation to prisoners and elected officials and its criteria for determining “essential” employees.
He also wondered if the governor and his staff were ignoring their own rules regarding masks and social distancing at press events. Brauchler also encouraged lawmakers to pass laws that limit the governor’s authority, particularly his power to make emergency statements. He views some of the governor’s actions during the COVID pandemic as overreach and wields power that he can but should not use as the best elected official in the state.
However, when it comes to the authority of elected officials, there is one position that Brauchler, who failed to convince a jury to kill the Aurora Theater shooter in 2015, believes it is more powerful than anyone else: his own previous title.
“[District Attorneys] are the most powerful positions in local government, ”said Brauchler for the Denver Post last June. “You are more powerful than the Attorney General, the Governor, and the Supreme Court. No other official can start the machinery of government with the stroke of a pen against a person in our communities to steal their good name, treasure and even freedom. “
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this article, Ms. Migoya was described as a “civil servant”. Funding for the judicial district staff is provided by the districts that make up the district.