Ever since HAVA injected billions into American elections, things have never been the same. Overnight our elections turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. Elections went from an essential civic event to a money-making opportunity in a high-stakes industry of wealth, power, and influence on a global scale. The backbone of the election business is technology. Supposedly, hardware, software, and services are now required to run elections. All this infrastructure needs to be purchased, serviced, and maintained. A small sample includes: voting machines, computers, databases, and third party apps. This equipment requires specialists to ensure both the equipment and the election process runs, creating an entire service industry around elections made up of: IT specialists, lawyers, lobbyists, vendors, and cyber security experts to name a few.
This merger of big business and elections creates a serious conflict. On one hand, the public has the justified expectation that our elected and non elected public servants who run elections first and foremost act in the public interest. They are hired and trusted to work for the public. On the other hand, people who work in the private sector are assumed to be working as individuals prioritizing their own interests. Where things get sticky is when public servants enter the private sector, a good example are lobbyists. They wield a tremendous amount of power by knowing the often complicated government systems, key influencers, decision-makers and other insider information. When things get really questionable is when people jump back and forth from public to private sector jobs. In fact, nothing raises the ire of the American people more than politicians, public servants, or bureaucrats working for themselves over the public interest while they’re expected to put the public interests first. The lack of transparency naturally raises questions about conflict of interest, dirty backroom deals, quid pro quo agreements, and worse.
This ethical issue is endemic in our government, spanning from the top all the way down to the local level. The result is the creation of “The Establishment”. A network of people, often strange bedfellows, actively working in their own interest while either holding governmental positions; cleverly leveraging their past roles in the private sector, or vice versa. The Establishment is non-partisan. Dems, Repubs and everyone in between is represented in the Establishment Elite made up of people working against the American public. The Establishment is motivated to maintain the status-quo at all costs. Why? The reasons vary. Job security, influence, power, personal financial interests, reputations and credibility are at stake which links directly to earning potential. It all boils down to personal interests trumping the public good.
Nowhere has The Establishment exposed itself more in Colorado than in the realm of elections. The 2020 election surfaced a number of key Establishment players working against Colorado voters. This bi-partisan group actively defends the Colorado election system claiming it’s “The Gold Standard.” Key figures include: Rep. Ken Buck (R), Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D), former Jeffco County Clerk Pam Anderson (R? D? Mercenary?), former Secretaries of State Scott Gessler (R), Wayne Williams (R), and former Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane (R). This intertwined cabal is not limited to these people.
The Election Establishment Elites have a lot to lose if Colorado finds malfeasance in the 2020 race. Groups around the state are still investigating election issues. They’re fighting against roadblocks especially around access to public information in pursuit of truth. Their goal is to restore trust in our election system. While all this is happening, within the Election Cabal they use strong words, claiming to fight for election integrity. However, when they’re faced with taking action, it’s pure theater.
For The Establishment to preserve itself, it requires cooperation. It’s about networks, connections, and having the right person or people in the right place at the right time. People that know who to influence, how; and what actions need to be taken in order to drive desired outcomes. It’s not as if there is a puppet master with a grand plan calling the shots. It’s organic. All it takes an unspoken goal of preservation carried out by like-minded individuals.
To explain what is going on in Colorado elections is like untangling a knotted ball of thread. It takes pulling on loose ends to work through the task. There’s no spoiler alert needed – once the ball of thread is unwound, it reveals a strongly connected web.
Thread One: Heart of the Web
Within the last two weeks, Colorado has finally received national attention for election irregularities in November. The Gateway Pundit (TGP) produced a report outlining the improbable numbers behind the 2020 Colorado election results. In a strange twist, former County Clerk and Recorder (CC&R), Matt Crane sent private emails to people in Colorado refuting the report, rather than publicly arguing his point with TGP. What’s striking in the second article is Crane’s vigorous denial of election fraud in Colorado. TGP then published a third article which exposes a bombshell about Crane and his wife. Did TGP uncover Crane’s motivation for trying to protect the status quo?
It turns out Crane’s wife worked at Sequoia Voting Systems which was acquired by Dominion Voting for over 17 years. The entire time his wife, Lisa Flannagan-Crane worked at a for-profit electronic voting company, Matt Crane was working in influential election roles, bouncing between the public and private sector. While the two careers overlapped, Crane’s work included influencing, recommending, and distributing voting systems; shaping voter legislation, budgeting, designing and implementing voter registration, overseeing vendor contracts, and installing operating systems, the list goes on. Because Flannagan-Crane had worked for Sequoia / Dominion for so long, it begs the question: does she have equity in the company? At the very least, Crane has a serious conflict of interest problem.
Crane’s experience reveals his influence and involvement in Colorado reaches from the highest levels of government including the Governor’s office, several Secretaries of State, and Senior Election officials all the way down to the local level. His reach also spans across the state involving key election decision-makers including every County Clerk and Recorder in Colorado. Over the course of years, Crane has developed a network of the who’s who in Elections Inc.
Crane’s network doesn’t stop in government. He also works in the private sector with consulting gigs and new election tech endeavors. In fact, Crane was listed as a board member of Voatz, a mobile voting tech company. It should be noted, Voatz has been roundly criticized for lack of security, technical issues, and having major “holes.” Election experts representing both parties across the U.S. are speaking out about how mobile voting is a, “horrifically bad idea” and must be stopped. Crane’s board position raises obvious questions: is it a paid position? Has he received any equity in the company? Why is an election expert involved in a company that develops technology so detrimental to the voting public’s interests? As of the writing of this article, Crane’s profile has been removed from the Voatz website. We reached out to Voatz for comment on the change in status, they have not responded.
According to his Linkedin profile, Crane is pursuing his independent election consulting work. What’s not listed on his Linkedin is his newly appointed, paid role as the Executive Director of the Colorado County Clerk’s Association. The private organization’s members are 64 County Clerk and Recorders in Colorado. CC&Rs are very powerful with many responsibilities including: running elections, counting the votes, and making purchasing decisions for election equipment, supplies, services etc. In fact the CCCAs mission statement mentions “the use of technology and appropriate legislation.” So, let’s get this straight. We have a well-connected Colorado election expert – on the board of a mobile voting company – working as an election consultant – while being paid to head an organization made up of every county-level equipment decision-maker in the state. This is more than a case of bad optics.
Thread Two: Twisted Fate
The Colorado County Clerk’s Association is an interesting organization from a power standpoint. Running the CCCA offers a host of opportunities and “flexibilities” to influence elections that government officials don’t have. It begs the question, who had the role prior to Crane and why did they leave the position?
The spot was vacated by Former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson. In a wild coincidence, she is friendly with the Cranes. Is the Crane / Anderson connection the reason Matt was appointed to the coveted CCCA Executive Director role? Like Crane, Anderson’s experience in Colorado’s elections is extensive in both the public and private sector. In addition to being a CC&R, she’s a self-employed election consultant, on the board of private election organizations; one with deep ties to 2020 election officials in swing states where election integrity court cases are still in progress. Simultaneously, she’s the Director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL).
The CTCL is a private, non-profit run by Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe. Funding comes from Mark Zuckerberg, his wife Pricilla Chan, and George Soros. The CTCL gained national attention when Phil Klein of the Amistad Project launched a multi million dollar lawsuit on behalf of several states against the CTCL for illegally injecting somewhere between $350-$400 million dollars of private funds into public elections. Pam Anderson is named in the lawsuit. While Anderson was at both the CTCL and heading up the CCCA, at least four Colorado counties were granted the same dirty Zuck bucks outlined in the mega-suit.
While Anderson was out playing ball with the election big boys, she didn’t forget her roots and role within the Colorado Election Establishment. In December 2020, Anderson testified in front of the Colorado Legislative Audit Committee as Secretary of State, Jena Griswold’s expert witness; and assumed proxy given Griswold didn’t bother to show for the hearing. Predictably, Anderson fiercely defended Colorado’s election process and her benefactor, Jena Griswold, repeating the trope, “Colorado is the Gold Standard for Elections”. Anderson has the same vested interest as everyone mentioned above to keep selling Colorado’s Elections as top-shelf. If Colorado’s reputation is sullied, Anderson’s professional opportunities and earning power take a serious hit. It seems as if Anderson is aware of the moral hazard around her conflict of interest. Her Linkedin page is almost completely scrubbed.
Thread Three: Tight Knots
The December 2020 hearing exposed more players in Colorado’s Election Establishment Cabal.
former Secretaries of State Gessler and Williams both testified. Both doubted Dominion machines could be a source of election fraud. On one hand, they may truly believe that. On the other hand, there is an alternative view.
In 2012, then Secretary of State Gessler started evaluating electronic voting machines to be used in Colorado elections. During Gessler’s evaluation process, Crane was the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder and Lisa Flannagan-Crane was employed at Dominion. It’s hard to believe that Gessler didn’t know of Crane’s conflict of interest given their friendship is common knowledge. Before Gessler left office, he approved only two vendors and systems for use in Colorado – Dominion and Clear Ballot. Curious given Gessler’s take on electronic voting systems and the electronic voting industry in general. In a recent interview, Gessler claimed all electronic voting machines, and the industry in general is flawed. This raises the question, why would he approve the two vendors and their systems? Gessler’s evaluation work and his “achievement” of creating the Universal Voting Standards – an election bureaucrat’s dream if they’re aiming to centralize election power. Gessler’s work was handed off to Wayne Williams, the next Secretary of State. In 2015 Williams mandated that all Colorado Counties use Dominion, even though it was a more expensive option than Clear Ballot. Two Colorado counties successfully sued Williams to avoid the mandate.
The story of Dominion in Colorado’s elections doesn’t end with Williams. Griswold also believes in Dominion. Interestingly, before the results of the November election, current Secretary of State Jena Griswold quietly tried to delete the 2015 Dominion RFP from the official SoS website. What was she trying to hide? Was it her connection to Dominion reps named in the RFP including Lisa Flannagan-Crane, or Eric Coomer who has a troubling public record including ties to Antifa?
At this point, it’s clear the Election Establishment is a bi-partisan cabal. Former and current Colorado Secretaries of State Gessler, Williams, and Griswold are in lock-step defending both Colorado elections, each coming out strong in support of election technology. Add these senior election officials to the network of self-interested politicians who pit government against the people.
Thread Four: Looping Back
The next major election is private and is taking place at the end of March. The Colorado GOP is deciding their new Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. Ken Buck, the current GOP Chair is responsible for overseeing this contest. In a call this past week, all voting members of the GOP discussed the upcoming elections. There were major concerns about election integrity in the state as well as for the upcoming vote. Buck didn’t show up for the call, leaving his hand-picked Executive Director, Lx Fangonilo to handle it. The party members’ concerns were routinely dismissed by Fangonilo, frustrating many representatives. In fact, one participant called him out, “I don’t mean to be rude.” almost yelling, “But. You’re. Just. Not. Listening!”
It turns out the voting members concerns were not simply rooted in the 2020 election. When Buck was elected two years ago the election was conducted using a new electronic voting system. Many party members who were either voters or watchers believed the election was handled improperly. One watcher characterized what they witnessed, “it was a mess.” The DNC had their own share of issues using mobile voting in their most recent private elections, too. In fact the race in Iowa this past summer was such a complete disaster – official results were laughable. Why on earth are both these parties pushing the idea of mobile voting at this point?
GOP party members have asked to go back to paper ballots and in person voting. Buck and his staff quashed those requests with a string of excuses that were easily overcome by common sense alternatives. The election, as of now, will use the same electronic text system used by the state to cure ballots (Txt2Vote). Guess who is in charge of administering this election? Yes, it’s Matt Crane. The man who has a vested interest in the success of mobile voting, Colorado’s election reputation, friend and colleague of fellow Election Establishment member Scott Gessler who is a candidate in the election Crane is administering. No wonder conservatives have an issue with the election status quo. In the case of the GOP Chair elections, it’s a self-inflicted wound.
Colorado has a serious problem on its hands. The Election Elite has permeated all facets of the state’s election process. How can anyone trust the elections are free, fair and open given the pervasive conflict of interest issues that hit all levels of government? The Colorado Election Establishment Cabal must give the elections back to the people through: one person, one vote, in person on Election Day. But don’t count on it. The Election Establishment disagrees, preferring the status quo – using expensive black-box technology where lucrative careers, power, and influence are available to insiders.
Buck and his team have the opportunity to lead by example and go back to the traditional mode of voting – in person using paper ballots. For some reason they’re dead-set against it. Are the GOPers going to let the compromised Establishment roll over them for yet another election or are they going to dig-in and straighten things out?