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May 18, 2006 08:00 AM UTC

More News on Trailhead Donors

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Rocky Mountain News has some more information on the donors to The?Trailhead Group, the Republican-organized issue committee created to help Republican candidates in Colorado:

Republican Pete Coors, who lost a bid for a U.S. Senate seat two years ago, chipped in another $100,000 to a GOP political group targeting Democrats for defeat in November. So far, Coors has donated $200,000 to The Trailhead Group, an organization under fire by Democrats for its tactics and its contributor list.

Trailhead collected $552,500 in the first three months of this year, with $290,000 coming from the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national group aimed at getting GOP members elected to legislatures and constitutional offices. Since it was formed last year, Trailhead has raised more than $900,000, according to federal tax records.

Gov. Bill Owens, oilman Bruce Benson and Coors, the beer baron who was a casualty of Democratic victories in 2004, helped form the group. Democrats, including former state party chairman Tim Knaus, blasted Trailhead?s donors, noting the group is funded by a large number of oil-and-gas contributors…

…Other donors to Trailhead the last quarter include:


  • $100,000 from Joel Farkas, a commercial developer and an Owens appointee to the Colorado Commission on Higher education.

  • $25,000 from Jack Overstreet, an oil and gas executive and an Owens appointee to the Auraria Board of Directors.

  • $20,000 from Fred Hamilton, an oil and gas executive.

  • $12,500 from Eaton Metal Products, a supplier to oil and gas. Last year, a company called T&C Development, which lists the same address as Eaton, donated $10,000 to Trailhead.
  • ?


    26 thoughts on “More News on Trailhead Donors

    1. It has become apparent that a few in the Oil & Gas industry are trying to buy “our” state.  Benson, Coors and Owens have no shame and it seems obvious that Trailhead is nothing but a slush fund for dirty politics by the Neo-Cons.  These people are in it for their own self-interest, not the people of Colorado.

    2. It has become apparent that a few in the Oil & Gas industry are trying to buy “our” state.  Benson, Coors and Owens have no shame, and it seems obvious that Trailhead is nothing but a slush fund for dirty politics by the Neo-Cons.  These people are in it for their own self-interest, not the people of Colorado.

    3. It has become apparent that a few in the Oil & Gas industry are 
      trying to buy “our” state.  Benson, Coors and Owens have no shame, 
      and it seems obvious that Trailhead is nothing but a slush fund for 
      dirty politics by the Neo-Cons.  These people are in it for their own 
      self-interest, not the people of Colorado.

    4. At least the Republicans are out in the open.  Debbie Benefield just admitted in yesterday’s Post that it was Tim Gill who gave her a secret $6,500 cash contribution during session — at the very same time he was employing lobbyists and asking the Legislature to vote through civil unions.  It’s illegal for lobbyists to contribute to legislators during session.  If this contribution was legal, it’s only on a technicality.  Talk about trying to “buy” our state . . .

    5. Reading the list of Trailhead Donors makes me wonder why the oil and gas industry is bankrolling Trailhead.  Are they funding these attacks on Dems because of Gwen Green’s price gouging legislation?  Or maybe it’s because Dems want to give landowners more power to deny drilling by oil and gas companies on private land.

    6. Hypocrite (n):  see posts above.

      Wow.  Were these posts you meant to send during the C&D debate, where it was primarily Owens & Benson driving the train?

      Please enlighten us all, why is it bad for Benson & Coors to give money to a public 527 but it’s OK for Tim Gill and shady/secret orgs to illegally give Dem house members cash during the session?  And why do they accept it?

      And ask anyone, of either party, and they’ll tell you that Mother Nature started attacking Gwyn Green long before Trailhead.

    7. Public,

      first you try a guilt trip and then revert into a personal attack on Green.  How, Rovian of you.

      Why don’t you let us know why the Oil & Gas Industry dumped almost $1,000,000 into one 527 even before the legislative session was over?  What will be the pay-off be for the Oil Execs?  Could it be 30 fold of their investment?  Is Colorado as bad as the K Street Project? 

      I dont think Coloradoans want to be abused by big business anymore.  It’s time for the Republican Party to push aside these Cons and regain the confidence of the voters they once had.

    8. Why is an Insurance Company from Illinois trying tell us about our own representatives and how we should vote?  What is their vested interest in Colorado?  Or is it just some sleazeball connection that Benson has?

    9. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden is dumping over $100k right to legislators while calling himself “Research and Democracy.”  Nice.

      It’s amazing that some of you can actually defend 3 billionaires buying the legislature while simultaneously criticizing Trailhead for being too narrowly focused.

      That is Trailhead, who’s books are open-as they should be, as opposed to Research and Democracy.  R&D and Tim Gill are the definition of a slush fund!  They are both paying off legislators!  You can accuse TH of being a GOP shadow organization all you want, but at least they’re not actually BUYING OFF LEGISLATORS!

    10. The big difference between Democratic 527 Groups and Trailhead is that the Governor of Colorado is the founder of Trailhead.  Democratic 527 donors can’t use their donations to buy influence with state agencies controlled by Governor Owens like Trailhead’s corporate donors can with theirs.  That’s a really big difference.  You can’t possibly believe that Illinois based Golden Rule Insurance Company is giving money to Trailhead because they care about Colorado.

    11. Another thing for “Public”.  When is Governor Owens going to make all of Center for the New American Century’s (CNAC) records public?  CNAC has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations but from whom and for how much?  They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars but on what?  If you’re so concerned with making all groups public I’m sure you’ll join me in calling for full disclosure of CNAC’s activities as well.  Right?

    12. Their records are open.  You can find their donors at  Thanks for letting me demonstrate that the Governor went above and beyond reporting requirements – as a c(4) isn’t required to make such disclosures.

      I wonder who’s donating to ProgressNow?  Or Research & Democracy?  I’m sure the list is short, probably no more than 3 names on each.  But they’re sure as hell not telling.

      And $5k (out of $1M raised) from Illinois isn’t criminal like Tim Gill wiring $6400 into Deb Benefield’s bank acct while she’s voting on his bill.

    13. Thanks for the heads up “Public” but we both know the records aren’t exactly complete.  Saying you spent a couple hundred thousand dollars doesn’t exactly provide a detailed accounting of where they money was actually spent does it?  FULL disclosure.  End the hypocrisy please.

    14. You dems are hilarious.  You whine like hell about trail head when half of the time they are on you side.  Furthermore they are only a fraction of what you guys have fighting for you with Polis, Stryker and company.  Not to mention small donor committees.

      In the end none of this will make a significant difference.  It is all a war of ideals, Republicans are losing because they don’t know what they stand for.

    15. Maybe you don’t know what Republicans stand for, but the rest of us sure do:

      foreign adventurism, president as law unto himself, more money for the rich, and religious fanaticism

    16. Three Dem millionaires are buying the state of Colorado, and confusing the issue by having hacks on their payroll like Huttner and Knaus cover by attacking Trailhead.  Where is your funding coming from Huttner, Knaus and Research in Democracy?  And why is insurance “bad” and software, internet IPO’s, and daddy’s medical devices (Gill, Polis and whats her name) good?

    17. Hey wait a minute… How much did George Soros contribute to his 527 during the last Presidential election?

      And aren’t all you liberals the whole “Free Speech is absolute” folks anyway? If that’s the case than, hey, Pete Coors money is his way of saying that he thinks that the Democrats are a bunch of assholes. Sure he can’t vote more than once, but he can sure let the rest of Colorado see exactly the truth behind some of these politicians. i.e. the crooked ones.

    18. If Pete Coors wants to throw his money at some dipwad group like Trailhead, fine.  But Trailhead ought to try to tell the truth instead of spreading lies.

      If Coors and Owens had any cool, they would disavow these lies and sever their ties.

      But of course they won’t.

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