In an editorial, the Rocky Mountain News defended Rep. Bob Beauprez from charges of “hypocrisy” for his concurrent position against illegal immigration due to his 2004 vote against restricting the use of the “matricula consular” identification card -- distributed by Mexican consulates to Mexican nationals -- at U.S. banks.
In an August 18 editorial regarding a 2004 vote by Republican congressman and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez (Arvada) against restricting the use of the “matricula consular” identification card -- distributed by Mexican consulates to Mexican nationals -- at U.S. banks, the Rocky Mountain News defended Beauprez from charges of “hypocrisy” for his concurrent position against illegal immigration. Beauprez is the founder and former CEO and chairman of Heritage Bank, which accepts the matricula card as identification in establishing accounts and extending loans. Defending Beauprez, the News editorial stated, “Beauprez had left the bank's management to go serve in Congress by the time it decided to accept the card. It wasn't his decision.” However, the News editorial omitted relevant information -- reported in a previous article in the paper's own news pages -- about Beauprez's continued ties to Heritage Bank.
In an August 16 article, the News 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.” In that article, the News noted that Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall “said Heritage began accepting the Mexican IDs after Beauprez left the bank.” The News added that Beauprez's “wife, Claudia, however, still serves on the bank's board.” The News article also noted Marshall's statement that Beauprez remains a “shareholder” in the bank. This information was not included in the News' subsequent editorial.
Indeed, as reported by The Denver Post on June 11, Claudia Beauprez assumed the position of part-time chairwoman of Heritage Bank when Bob Beauprez stepped down in 2002 to run for Congress, and the Beauprezes' stock in the bank -- 23 percent of the total valued at approximately $3 million -- represents a controlling interest. An April 5 Post article on Beauprez's self-disclosed tax return reported that on the return the Beauprezes also disclosed owning “another $1.5 million in bank stock in an individual retirement account” and that "[t]he couple's $264,321 in reported income last year was down from $303,374 in 2004, when Heritage Bank paid shareholders higher-than-usual dividends, Beauprez's campaign says."
None of this information was included in the News' subsequent editorial. As Colorado Media Matters has noted, an August 16 report on KDVR's Fox31 Good Day Colorado similarly noted that Bob “Beauprez stepped down as chairman and CEO of the bank after he was elected to Congress” but failed to report on the Beauprezes' continuing ties to Heritage Bank.
From the August 18 Rocky Mountain News editorial, “No hypocrisy in vote on matricula”:
It seems that Heritage Bank, which Bob Beauprez once controlled, now accepts matricula consular cards as a form of customer identification.
What's more, in 2004 Beauprez voted for an amendment to an appropriations bill that stripped away language preventing the Treasury Department from using its taxpayer money to “publish, implement, administer or enforce” regulations permitting banks to accept the cards as ID.
From these two facts critics have concluded that Beauprez, the Republican candidate for governor, is a hypocrite. They say he favors encouraging illegal immigrants to put money in, and borrow money from, U.S. banks -- even as he urges a crackdown in illegal immigration.
But it's not that simple. First, Beauprez had left the bank's management to go serve in Congress by the time it decided to accept the card. It wasn't his decision.
In 2003 the [Colorado] legislature voted that the consular cards, issued by the Mexican embassy, cannot be used as identification by state and local governments. The measure at one point would have also prohibited businesses from accepting them, but that provision was removed from the bill.
And that's as it should be.
Beauprez himself has said that banks ought to have the right to accept the cards because “you don't turn private industry into cops. They're not border patrol.”
No sooner had Ritter's campaign accused Beauprez of “a self-serving vote that favors his banking interests” than the congressman fired back with a flimsy accusation of his own.