Jury returns Conviction in Case of Business Tied to Bob Schaffer

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Colorado Senate candidate Bob Schaffer’s business buddy was convicted on 22 counts in federal court last night.

That doesn’t bode well for the Republican’s campaign, since Schaffer served on the board of directors while prosecutors said the National Alternative Fuels Foundation was scamming money from the government.

Bill Orr, the former president of the NAFF, could face federal prison time for claiming to develop a clean alternative automobile fuel and then using junk science to get federal money.

Local TV in Colorado reports some testimony:

“The more we measured it, the more we found his fuel was just like any other fuel,” said Dr. Tom Reed.

Orr admitted he paid himself more than $500,000 of the federal funds during two years of research and development work at a small laboratory in Golden. He said he obtained the grant with the help of Congressional aides whom he met while working on other fuel and environmental issues.

Congressional aides?

Schaffer was in the House at the time. We called his campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, a couple times this week to ask specifically whether then-Congressman Schaffer had any role in securing that $3.6 million earmark in late 2000. He hasn’t returned the calls.

A longtime Colorado political operative, Scott Shires, has already pleaded guilty in the case and will be sentenced later this month. Shires is listed as a key player in a couple of Schaffer’s campaigns from recent years.

Democrats in Colorado are stepping up the pressure. Although the case hasn’t gotten much attention, a local group called ProgressNowAction is trying to make the link:

“Schaffer may have helped lobby the EPA for these fraudulent grants and the public needs to know the truth,” Michael Huttner, Executive Director of ProgressNowAction, wrote in a press release today. “We believe that Schaffer either knew or should have known that the President of his organization was violating the law when he lobbied Congress and received millions of dollars based on false documents.”