Rep. Mike Coffman at the May 12 fundraiser at the Elbert County Fairgrounds.
"I've never touched my Wikipedia page, and I've never asked anyone to change anything on it," Coffman told 9NEWS in a written statement provided Wednesday.
The revision, originally reported earlier this week by the website Buzzfeed, was the #1 listing in Buzzfeed's article "33 Embarrassing Congressional Edits To Members' Wikipedia Pages." The article details how the single IP address shared by all House computers has been used to remove unflattering, but factual, sections of Wikipedia articles on Democrats and Republicans.
According to Wikipedia's edit history, someone using a House computer on May 24 removed a section of Coffman's page reading, "During a campaign fundraiser, Coffman expressed doubt that President Barack Obama had been born in the United States, and declared that 'in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American.' When asked for an explanation, Coffman claimed that he 'misspoke.'"
Coffman, a Republican from Aurora, made those comments at a May 12 fundraiser in Elbert County. 9NEWS was first to report the story, including an audio recording of Coffman telling donors, "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."
Coffman initially released a statement saying he misspoke and his staff declined and ignored repeated requests for an interview. When 9NEWS Reporter Kyle Clark approached Coffman outside a closed-door fundraiser, video of Coffman repeatedly adhering to the same one-line talking point became the subject of national discussion. (See the video here:
The congressman himself made light of his handling of the incident later, telling a conservative talk-radio show host - as a combat vet - he had reverted to providing only his name, rank and serial number.
9NEWS asked Coffman Wednesday whether House staffers using government computers to remove a reference to his comments was an appropriate use of time and resources.
"We don't know who edited the Wikipedia article, as the IP address is the same for all computers in the House of Representatives," Coffman said in a written statement. " ... Our office has a strict policy of not editing anyone else's words unless they use profanity, engage in name calling or threats."
A Coffman spokesperson said office staff had been asked if they performed the edit.
Coffman's newly-redrawn 6th Congressional District is expected to be more competitive. His opponents include Democratic State Representative Joe Miklosi.
"No matter how much he tries to scrub the truth off the Internet, he can't hide his extreme record," Miklosi said in a written statement Wednesday. "No amount of self-editing can hide the fact that Congressman Mike Coffman is Colorado's own version of Rush Limbaugh."
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