Task forces. All lawmakers love them. It’s an easy way to delay real decision making while you “study the issue” or “bring people together.” Despite that fact, quite a bit of staff time and money go into facilitating the creation and meeting management of these task forces, which left us wondering… who exactly is doing all this work?
You’d think one of the state’s bazillion employees would be able to handle those responsibilities, but you’d be wrong. Believe it or not, there is an entire cottage industry that caters to the task-force-loving-officials who run our great state. However, the company that pops up more than all the others is the Keystone Center, which is essentially a public affairs firm parading as a non-profit that appears to get most of its business through political connections.
For example, Gov. Hickenlooper’s former lobbyist Christine Scanlan runs the Keystone Center, which also employs Cally King Newman, who previously served as Hick’s legislative liaison and policy analyst. And we’re just scratching the surface here, who knows how many other crony connections exist between the Keystone Center and the Hickenlooper administration.
Currently, the Keystone Center is getting paid to organize meetings across Colorado per House Bill 14-1319, which requires the Commission on Higher Education to develop a new funding formula for allocating general fund dollars among our colleges and universities.
Their services were also retained to help the commission whose job it was to soften Senate Bill 13-252, which requires rural electric associations to up their use of renewable energy from 10 percent to 20 percent by 2020. The measure was dubbed a “war on rural Colorado” because it will drive up electric rates for the people in those communities.
We hear the Keystone Center is also teed up to run Hick’s latest oil and gas task force.
So our question is this: how many task forces has the Keystone Center been hired to run? How did they get those contracts? Are the contracts competitively bid out? And why can’t these government-mandated task forces govern themselves?