Vetting Bush's "volunteer" police squad

The chairman of the Colorado Young Republicans was one of the people involved in forcing three Denver residents out of a Bush event under dubious circumstances last month.

Published April 27, 2005 11:35PM (EDT)

The time is ripe to name some names in the case of the Denver Three -- the folks dubiously kicked out of a Bush dog-and-pony show on Social Security reform staged in Colorado last month. At least one individual is now available for further scrutiny, thanks in part to the resolve of the three who were railroaded out the door; for the last month they've fought to get to the bottom of the incident. The Rocky Mountain News reports:

"The chairman of the Colorado Young Republicans was one of the people involved in a March 21 incident in which three Denver residents were forcibly removed from a speech given by President Bush because of a bumper sticker. Jay Bob Klinkerman, leader of the state group for Republicans ages 18 to 40, admitted in an interview that he was at the gate of the Wings over the Rockies Museum when the three people were stopped. Klinkerman also was identified as being involved in the incident by Karen Bauer, one of the three removed. She confronted him about it at a Young Republicans event Tuesday night.

"Two of the three who were removed, Bauer and Leslie Weise, said that Klinkerman is the event volunteer who was wearing a magenta shirt and smiley-face tie that night, and told them, 'Secret Service is coming down to talk to your group.' Then a man who looked and acted like a Secret Service agent arrived and threatened them with arrest. He allowed them to enter but then found them 20 to 30 minutes later and forced them to leave."

The real Secret Service has already disclosed that the man who ousted Bauer, Weise and Alex Young from the presidential event was actually a Republican Party staffer, and that the man admitted to an agent that he ejected the three because they arrived in a car with a "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, Klinkerman denies invoking the Secret Service during the incident. He also declined to identify the man who threatened the trio with arrest, who Klinkerman says he'd never met prior to the event. And Klinkerman maintained that he doesn't know how the three were picked out from the crowd.

He'll want that story to hold up under scrutiny: The Secret Service says it is now investigating the unidentified man -- who wore a dark suit, earpiece and lapel pin -- on possible criminal charges of impersonating a federal agent.

No doubt a few people are busy ironing out their own story back in Washington; the Secret Service and the White House have both already acknowledged they know the man's identity, but so far have refused to reveal it.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

MORE FROM Mark Follman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Social Security War Room