Oklahoma TABOR Circulator Admits Lying
Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Robert Colby admitted Thursday to lying about his address and other identifying information as he moves from state to state working as a professional initiative petition circulator.
You lied, didn't you? attorney Kieran Maye Jr. asked during Colby's cross-examination.
Yes, to protect myself, Colby replied, testifying before Oklahoma Supreme Court Referee Greg Albert.
Colby refused to answer some of Maye's questions about Colby's presence in Missouri circulating petitions, saying he was under a court order from Oklahoma County District Judge Bryan Dixon not to discuss those matters.
Dixon presided over the multicounty grand jury that issued several indictments earlier this month. Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office administers the multicounty grand jury.
Maye, representing Taxpayer Bill of Rights proponents, moved to strike all of Colby's testimony, which Albert denied.
Maye and protestants' attorney Mary Robertson then had a sidebar conference with the referee.
After Albert sustained Robertson's objection to further questions along this line, Maye objected, saying it prevented him from delving into the nature of the order and the possibility of a grant of immunity to Colby from the Oklahoma attorney general's office.
Maye said inducements such as immunity lay the bedrock foundation for witness bias and that he should be allowed to pursue the line of questioning.
Colby, who worked as a circulator during the fall 2005 TABOR petition drive, gave his city of residence as Sacramento, Calif.
I'm here to tell the truth about what's going on, he said.
Put on the stand by Robertson, attorney for several civic and business leaders protesting the TABOR petition, Colby identified himself as the individual who called Robertson's office last week offering to testify for the protestants about the use of out-of- state circulators during the TABOR drive.
Under state law, petition circulators must be Oklahoma residents.
Cross-examination exchanges between Maye and Colby were often contentious.
At one point, Maye chided Colby for making remarks that did not answer his questions.
I'm upset, Colby said. You upset me.
Colby acknowledged that he was paid $600 per day by protestants' attorneys as reimbursement for lost wages and other costs.
Colby said the $600 represented about an average day's wages for him as a circulator.
After saying that he was only in Missouri for about two and one- half weeks, Colby said he could say no more about that.
Maye asked Colby whether he had embezzled money intended to pay Missouri circulators.
When Robertson objected, Maye said he must be able to inquire about prior bad acts of Colby. He said being denied that avenue severely limited his ability to explore Colby's complete lack of veracity.
Maye asked Colby whether he told circulator Daniel Hill that he was offered $6,000 to testify.
That's a lie, Colby said.
Maye then had Colby follow along on a transcript of the conversation he had with an individual at Crowe and Dunlevy, the firm with which Robertson is employed.
Maye traced about a half dozen instances where Colby talked about being screwed or otherwise dealt with unfairly by National Voter Outreach, the firm that conducted the Oklahoma TABOR signature drive.
The truth needs to come out, Colby said at the hearing. Too many people have been screwed by NVO.
Colby told Maye that if petition drive manager Jeff Johnson said Colby was demoted in Missouri because he could not account for money intended to pay circulators, Johnson would be lying. …