Rocky reported on Beauprez vote favoring "matricula consular" cards but omitted key information about his "controlling interest" in Heritage Bank

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Following a Colorado Media Matters item, a Rocky Mountain News article included information about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's vote against restricting banks' acceptance of Mexican ID cards. But the News did not note that Beauprez and his wife have a controlling interest in Heritage Bank.

Following an October 24 Colorado Media Matters item, an October 27 article in the Rocky Mountain News included information about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's past vote against restricting banks' acceptance of "matricula consular" identification cards. The paper had omitted that information from a previous article about Republican criticisms of a Democratic state House candidate's support of the same cards. However, the October 27 article reported the comments of a Beauprez "spokesman" who said that "Beauprez had left Heritage Bank before it began accepting the IDs" without noting that Beauprez and his wife still have a controlling interest in the bank and that his wife still serves on its board. As The Denver Post reported on June 11 (updated July 31 on its website), Beauprez's wife, Claudia, assumed the position of part-time chairwoman of Heritage Bank when Beauprez stepped down in 2002 to run for Congress, and the couple "owns 23 percent of the bank, a controlling interest worth at least $3 million."

The News reported October 6 that Albuquerque, New Mexico-based First State Bancorporation agreed to purchase Heritage Bank but that "the transaction is not expected to close until 2007."

In an October 24 article by reporter Fernando Quintero, the News reported Republican criticisms of Colorado House of Representatives District 38 candidate Joe Rice (D-Littleton) for his support, while serving as mayor of Glendale, of a measure allowing the use of matricula consular cards. The News article quoted Alan Philp -- executive director of the Republican-backed Trailhead Group that has released several ads criticizing Beauprez's Democratic opponent, Bill Ritter -- as saying, "I think it's fair to point out that Mr. Rice's record made it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in our community."

But the October 24 News article failed to point out that while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Beauprez voted in 2004 against restricting the use of the same identification cards at U.S. banks. In addition, the article failed to note that Heritage Bank accepts the cards.

The Denver Post reported on August 16 that "matricula consular card[s]" are "issued by the Mexican government to its citizens living in the United States." As the News reported in its October 24 article, "The use of matricula consular cards has been controversial in Colorado. In 2003, the Colorado legislature passed a law forbidding state and local governments from accepting the cards as identification."

In contrast to the October 24 News article, the October 27 News article -- also by Fernando Quintero -- reported, "Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter has blasted his Republican rival, Bob Beauprez, over his vote in Congress in 2004 to allow banks to accept matricula consular cards." The News also noted, "Many banks allow the cards to be used for opening accounts, including Heritage Bank, which was founded by Beauprez."

While the October 27 News article noted Beauprez's past vote against restricting banks' acceptance of matricula consular cards, the same article stated without further explanation that "[a] spokesman for Beauprez said in August that the congressman's vote was one against regulatory burdens on business. He also emphasized that Beauprez had left Heritage Bank before it began accepting the IDs."

However, as Colorado Media Matters previously noted, Beauprez's wife, Claudia, still serves on the bank's board of directors, and the couples' stock in the bank -- 23 percent of the total, valued at approximately $3 million -- represents a controlling interest.

Furthermore, a News article from August 16 reported, "A vote by U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez to allow banks to accept an ID card the Mexican government gives to illegal immigrants has raised the issue of whether Beauprez faced a conflict of interest and voted to protect his own bank." The same article noted the comments of Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall, who said "Heritage began accepting the Mexican IDs after Beauprez left the bank." The article further noted that Beauprez's "wife, Claudia, however, still serves on the bank's board" and that Marshall stated Beauprez remains a "shareholder" in the bank.

That information was not included in the News' October 27 article.

From the October 27 Rocky Mountain News article by Fernando Quintero, "Mexican ID cards caught in politics":

The cards, which have been the target of critics, are now caught up in election-year politics.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter has blasted his Republican rival, Bob Beauprez, over his vote in Congress in 2004 to allow banks to accept matricula consular cards.

Many banks allow the cards to be used for opening accounts, including Heritage Bank, which was founded by Beauprez.

A spokesman for Beauprez said in August that the congressman's vote was one against regulatory burdens on business. He also emphasized that Beauprez had left Heritage Bank before it began accepting the IDs.

Critics say the cards make it easier for illegal immigrants to live and work in the U.S., by giving them a valid form of identification.

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