Democratic staffer helped sneak Putin portrait into Colorado Capitol

Posted at 1:35 PM, Aug 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-18 15:35:05-04

DENVER -- An aide to state House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, helped a liberal political group sneak a portrait of Vladimir Putin into the state Capitol to hang it in a spot reserved for President Donald Trump.

The incident caused an uproar last month, and now Republicans are demanding a public apology for the political prank.

On Friday, state Senate President Kevin J. Grantham, R-Canon City, said the hanging of the Putin portrait violated a longstanding tradition of not using public spaces in the statehouse for partisan protests or displays.

“Political pranks are one thing, but it crosses a line, in my opinion, when public spaces in the Capitol are misused and abused the way they were in this case,” Grantham said in a news release. “This building belongs to all the people of Colorado and I’m frankly shocked that anyone who works on staff here — and works for the top Democrat in the House, no less — would be a party to something as inappropriate and over the line as this.”

At the time the Putin portrait was placed, Colorado Citizens for Culture — the group that gathers donations for the portraits — told Denver media they had not received any contributions to hang the president's portrait. Putin's portrait was removed by a tour guide, but not before state Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, tweeted a picture.

Less than a week after the prank, Graham led the effort to collect the $10,000 needed for the presidential portrait through a GoFundMe campaign that met its goal in one day. 

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