As we've pointed out on these pages before, the Rollie Heath tax hike has been an unmitigated disaster, both in its tone deafness and in how it has been rolled out to the general public. Between kidnapping a 4th grade class for the kick-off photo op and now having a school principal investigated, the political squad behind this initiative have run this thing like rank amateurs.
Which lead us to wonder: who in the hell is on Rollie Heath's Tax Hike Team?
So we did some digging.
Based on reports filed so far with the Secretary of State's office for Initiative 25, as Heath's tax hike is known right now, there are two groups dedicated to the cause. The main vehicle is an issue committee called "Support Schools For A Bright Colorado," who have raised almost all of their money from one oil and gas company (more than 70%).
As Ed News Colorado (also indirectly funded by the same oil and gas company) reports:
"The campaign got a kick start with a $100,000 donation from Denver oilmen Sam Gary and Ron Williams, whose Gary-Williams Energy Corp. is the major funder of the Piton Foundation. (The foundation is one of the funders of EdNews.)
The secondary vehicle, and the group responsible for the illegal mailing of propaganda to school parents in Adams County, is Great Education Colorado Action. As of July 1 they had reported only $1,163 in non-monetary contributions (school resources?) with no detail, and list no expenditures. Their registered agent is Great Ed Colorado's Executive Director, Liane Morrison.
Bright Colorado's registered agent is Carolyn Powell who is also the registered agent for such left wing staples as NARAL and Rollie Heath's personal campaign. But according to expenditure reports, Bright Colorado has spent virtually all of its money on one consultant, Samuel F Lopez Jr, who has been paid nearly $40,000 so far to
botch manage the campaign to get on the ballot.
Plucked from the bowels of the vast left wing conspiracy, Sam Lopez is used to being on top when the votes get counted. But with Colorado's conservative online media providing some fresh accountability for Mr. Lopez as part of his latest venture, getting Initiative 25 on the ballot, victory must seem like the other side of the world to Lopez these days.
From the Google we learn that Mr. Lopez worked at the left-wing America Votes, back in the group's early days of 2006, as a consultant. Self-described as a group "that provides coordination, data and targeting services to progressive organizations," it has a special emphasis on liberal ballot initiatives. America Votes is partially the brainchild of Senator Mark Udall's wife, Maggie Fox. Its funding comes from a stew of left wing groups like NARAL, Sierra Club, trial lawyers, Move-on.org and others.
Where Sam Lopez has really made his mark is in making a pretty penny on the initiative circuit, pulling in $808,369 dollars working for the following initiatives:
- 2006 — America Votes For A Fair Minimum Wage ($6,452)
- 2008 — Committee For Fair Wages Benefits ($526,602)
- 2008 — Protect Colorado's Communities ($275,315)
The Committee for Fair Wages Benefits was created to oppose the Right-to-Work initiative, Amendment 47, in 2008. The unions famously blackmailed business interests into dropping their support for the initiative by agreeing to back off job-killing initiatives they had proposed.
So Mr. Lopez comes from a political background of heavy infusions of cash and relative success in turning that cash into electoral victory.
As he is pretty much the only individual making money off the Initiative 25 enterprise so far, the utterly failed roll out of the initiative can be at least partially laid at his feet. As we pointed out recently, about two weeks ago the Initiative 25 backers bragged they were halfway towards their signature goals — but forgot to mention they were way past half way in their allotted time period to collect signatures — we which took as a sign of failure.
Bright Colorado has also tossed $4,000 to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, which houses the Liberal Loon Carol Hedges' Fiscal Policy Institute.
Added together and the picture that emerges is the liberal machine t'aint what it used to be. For a vaunted and well funded machine who has run roughshod over conservatives for years in Colorado, the failed and failing Initiative 25 is perhaps a sign that they are slipping.