From Walmart to the Black Hawk Riviera Casino, companies who contributed to “Mainstream Colorado” are surprised to learn that their dollars are being spent to defend the two anti-gun Senators facing recall elections.

A number of companies gave large donations to the State Senate Democrats’ 527 fundraising arm, generically dubbed “Mainstream Colorado,” who then in turn wrote big checks to the groups defending Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

How did the companies find out their money was being used for this purpose? As all corporate PR people like to — when the press called.

The Colorado Springs Gazette first reported on Mainstream Colorado’s funding sources in June, which we highlighted in a post that caused a number of our readers to call for a boycott of the Black Hawk Riviera Casino. Those calls for a boycott stirred the casino’s COO to respond personally.

As The Gazette reported:

After The Gazette reported that Black Hawk Casino was a major donor to Mainstream Colorado, other media outlets, including the conservative blog Colorado PEAK Politics, picked up the story, focusing on Black Hawk Casino.

On that website a few readers posted comments about never gambling at the Riviera again or hinting a casino boycott could come…

“We have guests from the entire spectrum of political beliefs, so it’s not our job to take political positions,” [David Farahi, chief operating officer of Monarch Casino and Resort] Farahi said. “Our donation had nothing to do with the recall campaign so any implication of such is false and that’s what we’re trying to clarify.”

Now other donors to Mainstream Colorado are being forced to clarify their donations, lest they incur the wrath of customers who support Second Amendment rights.

Reports The Colorado Observer‘s Valerie Richardson today:

DENVER—When officials at the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association made a donation earlier this year to Mainstream Colorado, they didn’t realize they were getting involved in a contentious recall election over firearms…

Mainstream Colorado has poured more than $21,000 into Pueblo United for Angela, the group defending state Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo), which has raised about $93,000 as if its July 1 financial-disclosure statement.

Mainstream Colorado has also donated $17,000 to A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, the committee supporting Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), which has collected more than $160,000 as of July 5.

Grier Bailey, government-affairs manager for the petroleum marketers’ association, said taking sides in the recall wasn’t the organization’s intent.

“We didn’t make the contribution with any intent of influencing the recall election one way or another,” said Bailey.

He noted that the group’s donation came in January, before the recall drives were launched over the state legislature’s votes in favor of gun-control bills in March.

Walmart was also forced to disavow any connection to defending Morse and Giron.

Recall organizers were surprised to see that Walmart contributed $2,500 to Mainstream Colorado. Walmart sells, among other things, firearms and ammunition.

Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia noted that the company made its donation in January, before the gun-control bills or recalls were on the state’s political radar.

“Walmart’s sole contribution to Mainstream Colorado was in January 2013 for sponsorship of a legislative dinner event hosted by Senate leadership. To suggest anything else would be inaccurate,” said Garcia in a statement.

Still, the Walmart donation does sting a little, said Victor Head, president of Pueblo Freedom and Rights, which is running the Giron recall effort.

“It’s unfortunate. I like Walmart. My girlfriend works at Walmart,” said Head.

Check out the full Colorado Observer story here with even more companies going on record to distance themselves from the Morse and Giron recalls.