Reporting on former Jeffco treasurer's indictment, KUSA and KMGH failed to note his Republican affiliation

KUSA 9News and KMGH 7News both reported on the indictment of former Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall. But none of the reports noted that Paschall, reportedly indicted on two felony charges in an attempt to solicit a kickback, was a Republican elected official.

During their January 29 evening broadcasts, KUSA's 9News and KMGH's 7News both reported on the grand jury indictment of former Jefferson County treasurer Mark Paschall. Yet none of the three reports from the two affiliates, including an in-depth investigation by 9News' Paula Woodward, mentioned that Paschall -- who, as 9News noted, had a controversial career as an elected public servant -- is a member of Colorado's Republican Party. The reports also did not mention that Paschall served four terms as a Republican state representative from his Arvada district.

Paschall reportedly was indicted on two felony charges stemming from an attempt to solicit a kickback from a county employee. According to a January 30 article in the Rocky Mountain News:

During his last remaining days in office, Paschall authorized a $25,000 bonus for Kathy Redmond, his administrative coordinator and longtime associate.

Paschall told Redmond that the bonus would amount to $18,000 after taxes and he expected her to give him half, according to the indictment.

As the News noted, “Paschall was ousted from the $75,500-a-year job when he lost the August [2006] Republican primary to former county Clerk and Recorder Faye Griffin,” yet while holding the office had “gained a reputation as a maverick who quickly found himself at odds with county commissioners and others”:

Paschall wanted the county to provide him a Cadillac Escalade, saying he could get a deal on the auction Web site eBay, or a fully outfitted Honda Pilot complete with rear-view camera and towing package. He wound up with the Chevy Trailblazer usually provided to elected officials.

Paschall also requested an office makeover that would have cost more than $175,000. A fully equipped wellness/exercise center for Paschall's employees was included in the makeover that Paschall said was intended to increase office security.

During his first year in office, Paschall worked 132 days, putting in an average of 5.2 hours each day he worked. His job attendance rate was the lowest among all elected Jefferson County officials.

Similarly, The Denver Post -- identifying Paschall as “a conservative Republican and a former state legislator” -- reported that “Paschall has a controversial history.” In addition to the issues of Paschall's office renovation and Escalade request, the Post noted January 29:

During four terms as House District 29 representative, Paschall was accused of violating election laws by pocketing thousands of campaign fund dollars without detailing how they were spent.

In 2001, while on a legislative tour of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Paschall offered to have his background checked, and a 1972 marijuana arrest popped up.

According to the Post, Paschall also distributed a "Citizens Rule Book" -- advocating jury nullification -- in the county building.

In both his 5 p.m. report and in setting up Woodward's more detailed 6 p.m. report on Paschall's indictment, 9News co-anchor Mark Koebrich identified Paschall simply as a “former Jefferson County treasurer.” And though Woodward referenced the fact that “Paschall ran as a fiscal conservative in the state legislature,” at no point did she note that he served as a Republican lawmaker. Similarly, reporting on the story during KMGH's 7News at 10 broadcast, co-anchor Mike Landess identified Paschall only as a “former Jeffco treasurer.”

Contrary to the 9News and 7News coverage of Paschall's indictment, KCNC's CBS4 News at 6 p.m. provided Paschall's party affiliation, noting that in his bid to retain his seat as Jefferson County treasurer, Paschall “lost in a Republican primary last August.” A story posted on KCNC's website likewise notes that Paschall “was elected treasurer in 2001 but was defeated in the Republican primary in August.”

From the January 29 broadcast of KUSA's 9News at 5 p.m.:

KOEBRICH: A former Jefferson County treasurer is accused of attempting to get a kickback from an employee. Mark Paschall was indicted by a grand jury on two felony counts: attempted theft and compensation for past official behavior. The indictment says Paschall submitted documents for an eighteen thousand-dollar bonus for a Jefferson County employee. Paschall is accused of asking that employee to split the bonus money with him. Instead, the employee talked to county commissioners, who then contacted the district attorney's office. The bonus was never paid.

From the January 29 broadcast of KUSA's 9News at 6 p.m.:

KOEBRICH: They are claiming it was a kickback. A grand jury has indicted the former Jefferson County treasurer. Fifty-two-year-old Mark Paschall was charged with two felonies. 9Wants to Know investigative reporter Paula Woodward has been working on the story, and Paula, Paschall's time in office was very controversial.

WOODWARD: It was. Paschall was involved in a lot of different controversies, but this time he's facing criminal charges. A grand jury indicted him for an eighteen thousand-dollar after-tax bonus to his employee, Kathy Redmond. He then allegedly asked Redmond to kick back half of it to him. He's charged with two felonies: attempted felony theft and compensation for past official misbehavior.

[begin video clip]

PASCHALL: The purpose of government is to secure the rights that were already granted them by God above.

WOODWARD: Paschall frequently butted heads with judges by passing out this jury handbook in his office, which made frequent references to God. As treasurer, Paschall had nothing to do with jurors, but ...

PASCHALL: I was raised as a Christian.

WOODWARD: And as such, he believed that carried over into his public life.

PASCHALL: You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. That pretty much summarizes the foundation of my belief.

WOODWARD: Other controversies: Paschall asked the county to buy him a Cadillac Escalade instead of the standard county vehicle. The commissioners refused. Paschall ran as a fiscal conservative in the state legislature, yet wanted a one hundred seventy-five thousand-dollar makeover for his Jeffco treasurer's office. But now, controversies have turned to an indictment. According to that indictment, “He (Paschall) intended to pay her (the employee) a bonus of $18,000 and that he expected her to remit one-half of that sum to him.” When the employee protested, “Paschall replied that he did not care.” According to the grand jury indictment, “Paschall did not heed Ms. Redmond's protests.”

[end video clip]

WOODWARD: A review of county records showed Paschall's first year in office indicated he worked only 132 days that year. Of the days he worked, he averaged five hours and 20 minutes a day. Late this afternoon, Paschall surrendered to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and was released on a one thousand-dollar bond. Mark?

KOEBRICH: All right, Paula Woodward in the 9News newsroom. Thank you, Paula. Paschall is scheduled to appear in court in Jefferson County on Monday, February 12.

From the January 29 broadcast of KMGH's 7News at 10 p.m.:

LANDESS: A former Jeffco treasurer, Mark Paschall, has been indicted on charges of soliciting a kickback. He's accused of asking his political appointee to give him nine thousand dollars from a bonus he approved for her.

From the January 29 broadcast of KCNC's CBS4 News at 6 p.m.:

MOLLIE HUGHES (co-anchor): The former Jefferson County treasurer has been indicted. Mark Paschall is accused of asking for a kickback. Investigators say Paschall gave his then-administrative coordinator a twenty-five thousand-dollar bonus and then asked for nine thousand dollars in return. Paschall is no longer the treasurer; he lost in a Republican primary last August.