Another Colorado Republican is expressing concern about whether the state’s U.S. Attorney nominee inappropriately used state resources to help her boss during his successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign, The Denver Post reported Saturday.
State GOP chairman Dick Wadhams has joined former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) in questioning whether Stephanie Villafuerte used a restricted government database for political purposes, which could be a crime, according to the newspaper.
Villafuerte, who is the deputy chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, has declined to comment to The Post.
The issue centers on discussions she had with staffers in the Denver district attorney’s office about an illegal immigrant who was featured in an ad against Ritter produced by Republican Bob Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign. She told the FBI in 2007 that she had “no conversations” with the DA employees about Carlos Estrada-Medina, who is also an alleged heroin dealer. Estrada-Median had once obtained a plea deal under the allias of Walter Ramo when Ritter was Denver’s district attorney, according to The Post.
Republicans charge that Villafuerte is being treated differently in the matter than a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent named Cory Voorhis, who lost his job after accessing the same database on behalf of the Beauprez campaign.
“It is time for Stephanie Villafuerte and her boss, Bill Ritter, to finally come clean on possible inappropriate behavior during their efforts to smear ICE agent Cory Voorhis,” Wadhams told The Post.
Voorhis was charged in 2007 with using the National Crime Information Center database to look into Estrada-Medina/Ramo on behalf of the Beauprez campaign for its ad, according to the newspaper. Voorhis said he was authorized to use the database by his supervisor, The Post said. He was later acquitted by a federal jury.
“As the U.S. Attorney, will Stephanie Villafuerte offer help in investigating the corruption, perjury and malfeasance rampant in the Denver regional office of ICE?,” Tancredo, a fierce opponent of illegal immigration, said earlier this month. “Will she be an advocate for the effective enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws after participating in the disgusting vendetta against ICE agent Cory Voorhis? The answer to those questions is probably … no se puede.”
The Post said the Obama White House continues to stand behind its nominee, who was tapped Sept. 30. Villafuerte would replace acting U.S. Attorney for Colorado David Gaouette, who has been in the position since Bush appointee Troy Eid resigned in January.