"I call B.S.": Boyles distorted Rocky article about new driver's license ID rules

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Discussing a Rocky Mountain News article that provided an account of "just how tough it is to get a driver's license" under current identification requirements, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles and two Republican elected state officials made misleading claims about the report. Boyles disputed the reporter's claim that she could not use her passport to renew her license, but did not mention her explanation; his guests suggested without substantiation that the article was politically motivated.

On the June 19 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles and his guests, two Republican elected officials, distorted a June 19 Rocky Mountain News article that provided reporter Ann Imse's personal account of "just how tough it is to get a driver's license" under the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) current identification requirements. Boyles repeatedly said, "I call B.S." on the article and disputed Imse's claim that she would not have been able to renew her license using her U.S. passport. However, along with Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman and state Sen. Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley), Boyles omitted Imse's explanation that she would need more than her current Colorado driver's license and passport to renew her license because those documents do not bear her full legal name.

Moreover, Boyles selectively read from the DMV's new rules of required documentation -- which go into effect August 1 -- as opposed to the current rules, under which Imse would have attempted to renew her license. In doing so, Boyles again omitted Imse's explanation that her current license and passport do not bear her full legal name. Therefore, under Colorado's definition of "identity," which requires an applicant's "[f]ull legal name," Imse would have had the same problem renewing her license under the new rules to which Boyles referred.

An accompanying News article, also by Imse, appearing in the print edition next to her personal account noted that since January 30, 40 percent of Colorado driver's license applications have been denied on the first attempt. As Imse stated, "One problem is that people use variations of their names on documents, and the DMV won't accept that." Imse similarly explained in her personal account that "even with my current license and current passport, I would not be able to renew my license. I've lived here 18 years." She further noted:

Department of Revenue Director Roxy Huber said my name and Social Security number would be punched into the federal Social Security database and it would reply, "No match."

That's because my parents used my middle name, Elizabeth, when they requested a Social Security number for me.

I haven't used my middle name since college. My family name is so rare that I'm the only Ann Imse in the United States anyway. So Elizabeth is not on my driver's license, and it's not on my passport. But it's part of my legal name.

Huber recommended I find my birth certificate.

Omitting mention of Imse's explanation that the name on her passport did not match her full legal name, Boyles repeatedly claimed that a passport alone would have been sufficient documentation for renewing her license. Further, Boyles misleadingly cited the DMV's rules taking effect on August 1 instead of the current rules to which Imse would have been subjected had she attempted to renew her license. Boyles stated, "Rule 231: The following documents standing alone provide proof of age, identity and lawful presence. 231-2: A United States passport. What did Ann Imse say she had? A passport." Boyles added, "And she said she would have not gotten a li -- that's, this is-- I call B.S." After Coffman asserted that the News was "trying to make a case for ... loosening up the system," Boyles stated, "Thank you. I call B.S. on [News Editor, President, and Publisher] John Temple; I call B.S. on the Rocky Mountain News; I call B.S. on Ann Imse; I call B.S. on ... Roxy Huber; and I've already called it on [Democratic Gov.] Bill Ritter."

Later in the broadcast, Renfroe joined Boyles in attacking Imse's account, calling it "a politically worded article." Renfroe stated, "I don't believe it, to be honest. I mean, I -- a passport is probably the most solid form of ID we have in this country, above even a driver's license. So, for a department to say that that isn't enough to get you your driver's license, maybe it's not enough to get you a driver's license with a name on the driver's license that doesn't match a passport. Maybe that's what her problem is." Boyles responded, "No, it doesn't say," interrupted himself, and then claimed that "it's all hypothetical."

Again, neither Boyles nor Renfroe referenced Imse's explanation that neither her driver's license nor her passport bears her full legal name.

In attacking Imse and her reporting, Boyles also misleadingly read not from the rules currently in effect but from the new DMV rules, specifically Rule 2.3.1. Furthermore, Boyles distorted the relevance of subsection 2.3.1.2 by asserting that it permits use of a stand-alone U.S. passport -- omitting the fact that Imse noted the personal issue of not having her full legal name on her passport. According to Boyles:

BOYLES: [reading] "The following documents, comma, standing alone, provide proof of Age, Identity, and Lawful Presence. 2.3.1.2: A United States passport bearing the full legal name of the applicant that has not expired, comma, or that has expired within the last ten years." So now under CCR 204-13, you come in with a 10-year-old passport, it'll stand alone. Let me read you from Ann Imse. [reading article] "I discovered that even with my current license and current passport" -- and it's all hypothetical -- "I would not been able to renew." Senator, that's crap.

RENFROE: Yeah, I, I, I think somebody needs to clarify why she couldn't get it with that she has a passport. I mean --

In fact, the full 2.3.1.2 subsection reads as follows:

A United States Passport bearing the full legal name of the Applicant that has not expired or that has expired within the last ten years. An Applicant who provides a United States Passport that has not expired or that has expired within the last ten years, but that does not bear the Applicant's full legal name, must provide an additional Document from section 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 2.3.3, or 2.3.5 that does bear the Applicant's full legal name.

As Colorado Media Matters noted, Boyles twice has stated the new DMV rules clarifying the documentation necessary to obtain a driver's license amount to "political date rape."

From the June 19 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: What do you think of this Ann Imse piece?

COFFMAN: You know, I was disappointed. I think, you know, she -- you know, obviously sympathetic at, at least to the, the position of, of, you know, the Department of Motor Vehicles and, you know, it's too difficult to get a driver's license --

BOYLES: Please.

COFFMAN: -- not focused on any --

BOYLES: She didn't try. She doesn't try, Mike.

COFFMAN: Yeah.

BOYLES: Let me read it to you. This is all -- I, I talked to Calhoun about it. Ann Imse in her ho -- first of all, the piece is this full-page color with these Hello stickers.

COFFMAN: Yeah.

BOYLES: My name is Jim Smith. My name is James Smith. My Name is Jim P. Smith. My name is James T. Smith. My name is Jim Thomas Smith. Why would you put a name tag thing out there as though this is part of it? First of all, that's, that's, that's, whoever that is, is, that's --

COFFMAN: You know, it's, that should have been in the editorial pages if that's her, her opinion; but it, it, it really made light of I think what is a very important situation.

[...]

BOYLES: White American woman; they put her picture in there, and she wouldn't get a li -- it says -- she didn't even try. Now here's one more. I have right here, Mike, the -- I'm really pissed about this. I have -- it says "Confidential" in the headline, points for consideration in 1CCR204-13 rules for proof of Identity, comma, age, comma, lawful presence and application for drivers license or identification card. Rule 2.3.1: The following documents standing alone provide proof of age, identity and lawful presence. 2.3.1.2: A United States passport. What did Ann Imse say she had? A passport.

COFFMAN: Passport. Mm-hmm.

BOYLES: And she said she would have not gotten a li -- that's, this is-- I call B.S.

COFFMAN: Well, they're trying to make a case for, for loosening up the system.

BOYLES: Thank you. I call B.S. on John Temple; I call B.S. on the Rocky Mountain News; I call B.S. on Ann Imse. I call B.S. on Roxy H -- Roxy Huber; and I've already called it on Bill Ritter.

[...]

BOYLES: If they were all like this man. Please say good morning. Welcome back to 630 KHOW. Scott Renfroe is with us. He's, of course, a Colorado senator and was -- is on the Transportation Legislation Committee and was there yesterday. And -- hey Scott, good morning. Thanks for coming back on the show.

RENFROE: You bet. Good morning, Peter. How are you today?

BOYLES: I'm fine. I had a second to talk to you off air and ask you if you read the Rocky Mountain News piece this morning, and the Denver Post piece. But -- the Rocky Mountain News piece, "Ann Imse: In her own words," what do you think about that?

RENFROE: Well, I, I would, I, I don't believe it, to be honest. I mean, I -- a passport is probably the most solid form of ID we have in this country, above even a driver's license. So, for a department to say that that isn't enough to get you your driver's license, maybe it's not enough to get you a driver's license with a name on the driver's license that doesn't match a passport. Maybe that's what her problem is.

BOYLES: No, it doesn't say -- she didn't -- all this is -- it's all hypothetical.

RENFROE: Yeah, she didn't go there. I agree.

BOYLES: No.

RENFROE: I think it was a, I think it was a politically worded article at the timing of, of the hearing we had yesterday to, to push, push 1313 further.

BOYLES: Why do you think the Rocky would do this?

RENFROE: I --

BOYLES: And why do you think that Ann Imse would write it this way?

RENFROE: I don't know. I don't know. I'm, I'm not a reporter. I'm, I'm, I'm new to the legislature and, politics is, I guess, the behind-the-scenes politics is something I'm learning about every day. And -- but obviously it, it, it must be to move this forward and to, and to ease the rules that have been created and, and 1313 forward.

[...]

BOYLES: And the number one rule -- and so, to Ann Imse -- this is why I call B.S. on Ann Imse and Roxy Huber. [reading] "Rule 2.3.1: The following documents, comma, standing alone." Which I take it to mean, you mean nothing -- you need nothing else. Do you unders -- is that how I read this?

RENFROE: That's how I'd read it.

BOYLES: [reading] "The following documents, comma, standing alone, provide proof of Age, Identity, and Lawful Presence. 2.3.1.2: A United States passport bearing the full legal name of the applicant that has not expired, comma, or that has expired within the last ten years." So now under CCR 204-13, you come in with a 10-year-old passport, it'll stand alone. Let me read you from Ann Imse. [reading article] "I discovered that even with my current license and current passport" -- and it's all hypothetical -- "I would not been able to renew." Senator, that's crap.

RENFROE: Yeah, I, I, I think somebody needs to clarify why she couldn't get it with that she has a passport. I mean --

BOYLES: Because she said her Social Security would have been put into -- could have been put, or would have been put into a federal system.

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