A records request reveals that U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) or his staff apparently didn’t correspond with leaders of the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs during the six months prior to the U.S. Military’s decision in September to take $9 million from Peterson’s 2018 construction budget and spend it on one of Trump’s top priorities: A wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gardner said he had personal assurances that Colorado bases, like Peterson, would not lose funding, in the wake of Trump’s emergency declaration, which Gardner supported, allowing $3.6 billion to be spent on the wall.
It was revealed after Peterson’s money was diverted to the wall that Gardner did not promise to protect the base’s money from 2018, only from 2019. And it was 2018 funds that were transferred from Peterson’s budget to the wall project.
This left journalists wondering whether Gardner knew Trump was going to cut the 2018 funding from Peterson’s budget, when he was promising that 2019 funds would be safe (without mentioning the 2018 funding).
The absence of email correspondence between the top brass at Peterson could show that Gardner was unaware of Trump’s plan to divert the 2018 Peterson funding–or that he wasn’t trying to save the funds.
Or it could simply mean Gardner’s office, which did not return a request for comment, was directing any efforts to try to save the funding elsewhere.
In any case, the Peterson money is now earmarked for the border wall, and we still don’t know what happened.
The records request from the Colorado Times Recorder focused on correspondence from March 1 to September 13 between Gardner and Peterson Base Commander Col. Thomas G. Falzarano, Vice Commander Col. Sam Johnson, Command Chief CMSgt. Jacob C. Simmons, and/or Col Kirsten G. Aguilar.