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Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall talks to the media after a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 16, 2012. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas) Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall talks to the media after a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 16, 2012. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)  

Panel of Democrats exonerates Dem senator on Obamacare

The head of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies identified those appointed to investigate whether Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s staff pressured state insurance officials into drastically lowering the number of policy cancellations under Obamacare.

But Barbara Kelley still isn’t saying who the panel interviewed, and she told the Denver Post that no notes or other documents were produced. She said all the interviews were conducted verbally and in person, with no record of what was discussed.

The panel included herself, her deputy Michele Pedersen and John Cevette, the former chief of staff for the state Senate Democrats, who is now Kelley’s legislative liaison.

The trio cleared Udall’s staff of trying to coerce or intimidate the insurance division into walking back their reported number of 250,000 policy cancellations under the Affordable Care Act, even though a staffer emailed her colleagues that she’d had a “hostile” call with Udall’s deputy chief of staff.

Kelley told the Post that she didn’t name the panel — in response to open records act requests from the media — because she didn’t want to subject them to “scurrilous accusations of partisanship or worse.”

Kelley, who was appointed to her position by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, has been called on to resign by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo. State Rep. Amy Stephens, a candidate for Udall’s senate seat, said in a Monday statement to the Post that Hickenlooper’s administration was attempting to shield Udall from criticism.

Kelley wanted to keep the panel’s membership secret “because they knew that it would be exposed as nothing more than a shameful farce if its members were publicly identified,” Stephens said.

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