Colorado Dems Silent After Sunrise Movement Forged Denver Mayor Press Release and Lied to Media
Two leading Colorado lawmakers still have not commented a week after the Sunrise Movement, a major environmental group supporting them, employed disinformation tactics to deceive reporters and strongarm Denver’s mayor.
The Colorado chapter of the group sent out a fake press release last week attempting to mislead the public and pressure Denver Mayor Michael Hancock into taking dramatic action on climate change. The group posted the fake release on official city letterhead, appearing as though it came from Hancock’s Office of Sustainability.
But U.S. House Rep. Joe Neguse and former statehouse speaker and current U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, two Colorado Democrats deeply-connected with The Sunrise Movement, have remained quiet.
Western Wire reached out to Neguse’s office, which has not responded. This story will be updated if a reply is received. Romanoff was asked about the incident by The Colorado Sun, but his campaign declined to comment.
The Sunrise Movement sent out the press release to sow confusion during a “sustainability summit” hosted by Mayor Hancock and sponsored by several energy companies and then lied to a Colorado Public Radio reporter about their plans.
That reporter, Michael Elizabeth Sakas, reached out to the Sunrise Movement after she discovered the press release but was faced with more deception.
“During an on-the-record conversation with @CPRNews, Sunrise explained to me that Mayor Hancock would be passing out this letter to the audience,” Sakas tweeted.
“The letter wasn’t real. But Sunrise told me their plan was to make the media believe the letter was real for ‘as long as possible.’ We never would have run this story without confirmation from the mayor’s office, but their attempt to have us publish it as truth WAS real,” she continued.
The move was heavily criticized by other reporters, and the lack of comment from Neguse and Romanoff is significant considering their involvement with the group.
In September, Neguse, along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), met with activists from the Sunrise Movement where he expressed his appreciation for the “love” he received from those in attendance, while promoting his support for the Green New Deal, a key policy platform developed by the group.
Neguse also issued a press release in February after introducing the Green New Deal in the U.S. House of Representatives that featured a quote from Varshini Prakash, Executive director and Co-Founder of the Sunrise Movement, who praised Neguse’s leadership on the issue.
“Any politician who wants to be taken seriously by young people needs to join Rep. Neguse and others, and back this resolution,” Prakash said.
Romanoff was recently endorsed by the Sunrise Movement in his campaign for U.S. Senate, and Western Wire previously covered Romanoff touting the group’s support in a firm rejection of former governor John Hickenlooper in the Democratic primary.
“This is a turning point in the #cosen race—a big boost in our battle to defeat @CoryGardner & pass a #GreenNewDeal. But the fossil fuel industry & the politicians on its payroll won’t surrender without a fight. Stand with @sunrisemvmt—support our campaign,” Romanoff tweeted.
The day after the Sunrise Movement sent out their fake press release, Romanoff was still touting his support of the group on Twitter.
The Sunrise Movement is no stranger to sharp tactics, including taking on members of the Democratic Party establishment. It challenged U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership on the Green New Deal, its members protested outside the Democratic National Committee demanding the party hold a presidential debate focused exclusively on climate change, and staged a sit-in at Gov. Jared Polis’ office.
Yesterday, E&E News reported that the Sunrise Movement is taking on incumbent Democratic U.S. House members with endorsements of three primary challengers who support the Green New Deal, the Huffington Post reported the group is also backing “underdog” U.S. Senate candidates who are backing the group’s environmental agenda.