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April 11, 2019 10:51 am

Polis Recall: Never Mind The Details, The Grift Is On

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: A reader astutely points out that Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute has been using his Denver Post column as a vehicle for enthusiastically promoting recalls of late:

We’d say the opportunity for a “dollar sign” (see below) conflict of interest is rather large. Wouldn’t you?


In the last 24 hours, the “campaign” to recall Gov. Jared Polis, which kicked off with a spate of nasty revelations about the anti-Semitic and otherwise unpalatably extreme views of its organizers, has shifted gears–into a new operation run by familiar faces in Colorado politics, and with a new sense of purpose.

What’s the purpose? We’ll let 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark explain:

“Dollar signs.” Lots of them. Here’s a TL;DR version:

Yesterday, it was announced that former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been “retained” as counsel for the Recall Polis organization, presumably to help the group navigate an unprecedented path to collecting over 600,000 valid Colorado voter signatures–many times the amount ever collected in a petition drive before. And that’s not all:

In a move just as noteworthy, fundraising for the Recall Polis campaign is being taken over by the Independence Institute , run by longtime local political walking clown show operative Jon Caldara, and their recently-deployed “Freedomfy” crowdfunding online platform. And with that bit of news, there’s something every person considering a donation to the Recall Polis campaign on “Freedomfy” needs to know:

Compared to every major crowdsource fundraising platform with the apparent exception of Indiegogo, “Freedomfy” is ripping you off. The Independence Institute charges an exorbitant fee of 6%, plus 30 cents for every individual transaction. That’s more than double the fees charged by GoFundMe, the platform the Recall Polis organization from is migrating away from. What’s more, GoFundMe has an active pool of over 50 million donors. We don’t know how many members “Freedomfy” has, but it’s not anywhere near 50 million.

With that said, there’s one thing GoFundMe hasn’t got–a percentage flowing to Jon Caldara.

We’ve already discussed at length how attempting to recall Gov. Jared Polis, a campaign that can’t even under the state constitution begin until he’s been in office six months, is a fool’s errand logistically. The massive signature requirement to place the question on the ballot would require a multimillion dollar petition gathering operation of unprecedented scale–to say nothing of what the actual recall election would cost proponents if it made the ballot. But that hasn’t dissuaded a strident segment of the Republican base in Colorado from raving.

And where there’s passion, especially poorly thought-out passion, there’s money! Caldara sets up a fundraising stream that he nets the skim from, and Gessler submits billable hours that there is now a stream of money to cover. That’s what they call a sustainable business model. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if there’s ever a recall of Gov. Polis–in fact that could be considered a less desirable outcome.

Just like when Ted Harvey discovered he could cash in by sending out fundraising letters with Hillary Clinton’s face on them, turning recalls into cash machines is an end unto itself.


14 thoughts on “Polis Recall: Never Mind The Details, The Grift Is On

  1. Sounds vaguely familiar? . . .

    “For the grifter, ripping people off is seldom the point. The grifter is an artiste who invests in the long con.”

    –Jacob Weisberg

    . . . maybe it was something I ate for breakfast?

  2. Total bullshit. The Independence Institute has a huge local donor network. I'd rather support them than some giant corporation who doesn't put the money back into advocacy work here at home. Nice try!

    1. Independence Institute — as best I can tell

      2012   $1,718,687

      2013   $2,570,000

      2014   $2,906,044

      2015   $2,716,740 

      2016   $2,128,106

      I don't seem to find their 990s on their web page. 

      I did find a release saying they'd raised $85,000 on 2018 Colorado Gives day, matching the previous year but not reaching their goal.

      Short version … hard to tell how well they are doing, but public docs show a drop of about 25% from peak year to most recent full giving year.

  3. Total bullshit.  But true.  You just don't like the facts coming out.  But feel free to line the pockets of dipshits like Jon Caldara and John Andrews, and maybe a little for sweet baby jesus fetus.  


    1. Caldara is minor league compared to Andrews.  At least John has his own town (and could theoretically tax his residents who have been lucky enough to hit the lottery with Prosperity Jesus). 

      Why is it conservatives need mythical places to promote their platforms? 

      Andrews, a Republican and the former state Senate president, has written for years about Backbone, Colo., a mythical town on the rugged Continental Divide noted for its spine and God-fearing residents, located in mythical Feline County (a second-amendment sanctuary county). 

      1. I often wondered why it’s those mostly mewling pencil-necked geeks, playing little fantasy games in their grammys’ basements, that need to portray themselves as rugged, go-it-alone individualists, and the embodiment of frontier manliness? . . . 

        . . . it’s gotta’ be either an absence of mirrors or a compensatory mechanism??  That, or they can’t afford the downpayment on a Humvee?

        Or, maybe it’s just an Indepedence Institute thing?

  4. This is really good muck racking journalism Pols.

    The odds of obtaining enough valid signatures and actually recalling Polis are rediculously low but the odds of Caldera and Gessler profiting from this extravaganza of angst are extraordinarily high.  Thanks for showing the connections and money flows.

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