Earlier this week we noted Denver Post reporter Karen Crummy's piece highlighting that public sector unions were the biggest campaign donors in 2010. With such deep pocketed resources, and no statewide races this year, save for Regent and President, you have to wonder where the unions plan on targeting their big dollar attack ads next.
Based on his work on Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) reform, it's likely Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton will become public union enemy #1. The more Stapleton brings to light the structural deficiencies at PERA the more shrill and panicked the union bosses will become, and the more of their substantial treasury they will be willing to spend to defeat him at the next opportunity. But, thus far, Stapleton has been unfazed in his single-minded drive to protect Coloradans from PERA's unfunded liabilities.
Two bills focused on shoring up PERA and allowing members a plan choice are working through the Legislature this session and Stapleton is at the forefront of these reforms. In addition, Stapleton filed suit against PERA for refusing to allow him access to certain, and entirely reasonable, financial information despite him being on the PERA board and being the Colorado State Treasurer.
The public sector unions are already sounding the steady beat of what will like become a two-year constant attack. In an article a few weeks ago about Stapleton's brief meeting with Governors Christie and Walker at the Republican Governor's Association, a public sector union coalition, Colorado Coalition for Retirement Security, had spokeswoman Lynea Hansen come out bare-fisted:
The meetings were viewed with skepticism by the Colorado Coalition for Retirement Security, which represents retirees and government workers.
"Telling the truth would be a good start," said coalition spokeswoman Lynea Hansen. "We hope he isn't spreading the same false information to these governors that he has across Colorado."
This is just the beginning of the attack campaign we'll see with increasing vitriol and frequency aimed against Stapleton. That's how unions and the left do.
If the attacks against Governors Walker and Christie for their own attempts at public retirement reform are any indication of what our Treasurer will be up against, it'll be a rough and nasty fight.
But we're betting Coloradans will appreciate smart financial reform over increasingly shill union goon attacks.
After all, if more people bought the union line, there would be more than 8 percent of Coloradans in one.