While Aspen is considered a hot bed of liberal ideology, the Aspen Business Journal‘s recent article focusing on a single conservative issue committee does a disservice to Aspenites who genuinely believe in greater transparency in political fundraising. As a reminder, the “big money” and “special interests” donation game was invented in Colorado by Democrats, not Republicans.
In the article, the Aspen Business Journal, laughably, goes so far as to paint Democratic Sen. Gail Schwartz as some kind of patron saint of election transparency when the “journalist” wrote:
Colorado lawmakers, including Schwartz, have tried but failed for years to pass legislation that would compel 501(c)4 social welfare groups to disclose their donors if they engage in political activity.
This couldn’t be further from the truth – even Google could have clarified this for poor, misguided journo David Williams. The Denver Post specifically attributed Schwartz’s 2010 victory to (drumroll) outside money:
“Two other victorious Democratic Senate candidates — Jeanne Nicholson of Black Hawk and Gail Schwartz of Snowmass Village — saw independent groups put in more than $300,000 for each race. And one group, Environment Colorado, spent $200,000 for neighborhood canvassing on behalf of the Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general, state Senate and state House.”
But, the most recent example came in the form of Democratic former State Senator turned Secretary of State candidate Ken Gordon, who was in charge of Coloradans Get Big Money Out of Politics:
According to the Secretary of State’s TRACER, Common Cause has donated nearly $100,000 to the Coloradans Get Big Money Out of Politics issue committee via direct donations and staff time. This proposed amendment seems hypocritical because Common Cause doesn’t disclose its donors either, according to the Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin:
“It’s hard to figure out Common Cause’s finances since it doesn’t reveal all its donors. In fact, under an Orwellian-named “Donor Transparency Policy” it makes clear that it keeps some donors anonymous. Still, you can glean some information. The Web site Capital Research Center lists OSI and other left-wing funders (OSI, the Joyce Foundation, Arca Foundation) among those who’ve given hefty gifts over multiple years.”
Of course, then there is America Votes, a C4 which is headed by none other than Democratic former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, that spent over $450,000 in Colorado in 2010. Here’s what America Votes had to say about its activities in an eye-opening Denver Post article about how liberal super PACs spend 150 times as much as conservatives ones in the state of Colorado:
“‘We do what it takes to win day in and day out,’ said Joan Fitz-Gerald, former Colorado Senate president and current head of America Votes, a Washington D.C.-based liberal organization that coordinates election campaigns with 37 Colorado groups.”
And win they do. The Post perhaps best summed up the results of Democrats highly-complex campaign spending: “The results: In a political climate favoring Republicans, Democrats retained control of the state Senate and lost the House by only one seat.”
Democrats win, Colorado loses.