During this year’s controversy in Colorado politics over the failed recall attempts by Republicans against various state legislators as well as Gov. Jared Polis, a recurring theme has involved local political usual suspects lining up at the trough to make money off of recall committees they in most cases knew would never be successful. In particular, the right-wing Independence Institute operated a “crowdfunding” website known as Freedomfy that brought in over $20,000 for the now-defunct (and thoroughly scandalized) “Official” Recall Polis committee, as well as a fundraising page for the abortive recall attempt against former Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley.
“Freedomfy” eventually fell out of favor with the Polis recall committee, reportedly due to the substantially above-market “processing fees” charged by the Independence Institute for every donation made through the platform, and they wound up moving to other fundraising sites that (presumably) skimmed less off the top. The executive director of the Independence Institute Jon Caldara later piled insult on injury by admitting to the press that the Polis recall his organization had raised tens of thousands of dollars for (and pocket a couple grand along the way) was a fool’s errand the whole time.
In the aftermath of all that #fail, you might have thought that Freedomfy would quietly dry up and blow away with so many other fly-by-night political fundraising schemes. But as PT Barnum is alleged to have observed, “there’s a sucker born every minute!”
As of this writing there are three active campaigns running on Freedomfy. One has raised no money, the No on Proposition CC campaign Freedomfy page has raised $3,700–and then there’s Hunter Rivera, a 17-year-old candidate for mayor of Windsor who despite all the bad press for Freedomfy this summer has decided to use their pricey services. You see, one of Freedomfy’s selling points is how Caldara will leverage the Independence Institute’s resources to promote your campaign! Presumably that’s what justifies paying twice as much as gofundme.
And what did Hunter Rivera get as his added piece of leverage for doing business with Freedomfy? Why, his very own story at the Independence Institute’s Complete Colorado “news” site! “Reporter” Sherrie Peif helps Hunter’s hope spring eternal:
According to the Windsor Town Charter, the qualifications for Mayor are:
- United States citizen.
- A registered voter in Windsor.
- A resident of the town for the 12 months preceding the election.
Rivera meets — or will meet — all the requirements by election day. He turns 18 on March 30, 2020, and the election is just eight days later on April 7. If elected, Rivera will be leading one of Colorado’s fastest-growing communities before he even graduates from high school.
So folks, and we hate to crush anybody’s ill-considered dreams–we try to save that action for the Democratic U.S. Senate primary–but the idea that a high school student could actually be elected mayor of one of the state’s fast-growing cities is rather far from realistic. It’s a fun idea to entertain in the off season with the municipal election many months away, but we fully expect sometime between now and next April a candidate will emerge with (sorry about this, Hunter) the necessary qualifications to serve the people of Windsor as opposed to simply being a novelty that frankly makes a joke of the responsibility.
With all of this in mind, wouldn’t it be the responsible thing for Caldara to do to level with this kid about his chances? Apparently the answer is no, and in the absence of a better explanation the the reason appears to be financial. Hunter Rivera is a revenue stream, and he’s getting the Independence Institute’s “full meal deal” in order to maximize the return.
Whatever pays the bills, right?