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Jane Norton and the “L” Word

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In politics, one of the dirtiest words you can use is the “L” word—lobbyist. And now, questions abound about whether Jane Norton, a Republican and former lieutenant governor running for U.S. Senate, was ever employed as one.

The Colorado Statesman recently asked Norton if she ever worked for AARP. Norton said she did. But when asked, “What did you do for them?” Norton drew a blank. “I was—gosh, what was my title? Oh, that was so long ago. I’m sorry, can I get back with you on that? I can’t even remember what it was.”

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When Norton’s staff got back to the Statesman, the word “lobbyist” was never used. Instead, Norton “did member education on health and consumer issues” over the course of several months in 1993 and 1994.

Talking Points Memo chides Norton’s campaign for the answer, writing that “in political jargon, that’s a euphemism of sorts for grassroots lobbying,” though her campaign claims she never officially registered as a lobbyist.

Moreover, from 1994-1999, Norton headed the Office of State Government Relations for Medical Group Management Association—an association for medical professionals. The Colorado Independent checks with MGMA and learns that the Office of State Government Relations is “the lobbying arm of the organization.”

From there, Norton was made head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment by former Governor Bill Owens, a fellow Republican. In her position, she pushed conservative principles, such as anti-abortion and fiscal responsibility, a talking point for her campaign, though critics say she was more interested in politics than public health, notes The Denver Post.

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