Former U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) signed a document last November that barred his successor, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), from accessing Content Management System (CMS) data, but his former district director is refuting the congresswoman’s claims that constituent casework was affected by this decision.
“Our CMS data was our letter/email database, nothing to do with casework,” Brian McCain, who served as Rep. Tipton’s former district director, told the Colorado Times Recorder in an email. “It’s standard. We never received any CMS data when Congressman Tipton’s office opened.”
The form Tipton signed reads as follows:
“To facilitate continuity of Congressional service to constituents in your Congressional district please designate the disposition of your inheritable casework and Correspondence Managements System (CMS) data.
I DO NOT wish to release my CMS data to the incoming Member-elect.
I fully consent to the above actions.
Scott Tipton (R) CO03″
McCain, who previously told the Pueblo Chieftain that the CMS data “has nothing to do with casework,” was in charge of shutting down Tipton’s offices and transferring relevant data following the congressman’s primary loss in June 2020. He said he made multiple attempts to contact Boebert’s team to ensure a smooth transition.
Those attempts remain unanswered, McCain said.
“When her official staff took over, they had access to all of my personal contact information. Her Pueblo office is in the same building as my current job, and I frequently see her district director and regional director. I have offered to help them out any way possible when it comes to constituent services,” he said.
CTR could not independently verify if it is indeed common practice among members of Congress to not transfer CMS data from a departing member of Congress to their replacement. McCain previously
Boebert’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Without support from the congresswoman’s team, Tipton’s staff tried its best to resolve all open cases by the end of October 2020, according to McCain. At that point, all unresolved cases were transferred to the office of U.S. Sen. Bennet (D-CO).
“All constituents with open cases were notified of the transition and agreed it was the best path forward, in every case. There were approximately 12 cases,” he said.
CTR reached out to Bennet’s office for additional information about those cases. But no information was provided.
Boebert worries that constituents cases have fallen through the cracks.
“I’m always concerned that there is someone at home waiting for a phone call and that phone call is not coming, because we don’t know about them,” Boebert told KHOW radio on April 12.
“All that casework [conducted by Tipton’s office over 10 years] is gone,” said Boebert on air. “Anyone who calls my office, we have to start at zero. There’s nothing I can look back on in their history. Or if there was any casework that was ongoing, there is nothing I can continue for them.”
Boebert blames the situation on the form signed by Tipton, with whom she has no contact at all, she says.
“I don’t have any casework for anyone here in Colorado, third district because of that form being signed [by Tipton]. Now, he can undo this at any time. He can make it happen and make the transfer happen. But he chose not to. So it’s really unfortunate,” said Boebert on air.
“The way it works in the House of Representatives is when a new member takes office, all of the old casework–that’s inheritable information,” claimed Boebert on air. “But the previous member has to sign off on it. And so they can either release it to the new member or they can ignore the process, which denies the new member access, or they can sign a form refusing to transfer that inheritable information to the new member. And unfortunately, that is what our previous member and the third district has chosen to do.”
The public dispute over what happened to the casework of constituents in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District during the transition period began after Boebert introduced a bill in March that would prohibit members of Congress from refusing to transfer all material obtained or generated as part of a constituent’s casework to the House of Representatives.
“Political retribution shouldn’t hurt veterans and people in need of help. That’s why I introduced a bill to ensure that constituents who have contacted their congressional office to receive assistance with a federal agency continue to be served even after a new Representative takes office,” Boebert said in a statement at the time.
McCain, however, raised privacy concerns in response to the congresswoman’s legislative proposal.
He said that if this bill passes, all communication, medical records and personal information of constituents will become property of the federal government.
“Currently, this information is confidential between the members and their constituents, not the federal government,” he said. “I’m not a legal expert but I think this is a violation under the Privacy Act and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws and just a bad idea.”
Listen to Boebert on KHOW April 12, 2021.