Amendment 54 – Ban some from the political process

Amendment 54 will prohibit certain government contractors from contributing to a political party or candidate for the contract’s duration and two years thereafter; prohibit contributors to ballot issue campaigns from entering into certain government contracts relating to the ballot issue; apply the prohibitions on campaign contributions and ballot issue contracts to any contractor with a government contract or contracts that does not use a public and competitive bidding process soliciting at least three bids and with a total value greater than $100,000 in a single year; and‚ apply the prohibitions on campaign contributions and ballot issue contracts to a labor organization holding a collective bargaining agreement with a state or local government.

Further info at Colorado Ballot – The misnamed Restrictions on Campaign Contributions from Government Sole-Source Contractors Initiative

Arguments Against

The broad scope of the measure could have far-reaching consequences for contractors, political candidates, and elected officials. For example, an individual holding a covered contract with one local government could be penalized for making a contribution to a candidate in a separate jurisdiction. To avoid violations and penalties, candidates and political parties will have to monitor each contribution to ensure that it is not made by a sole-source government contractor, or by the contractor on behalf of a relative. Furthermore, Amendment 54 establishes penalties that are severe relative to the offenses, including loss or disqualification from office for elected or appointed officials.

Amendment 54 proposes an inflexible approach to government contracting. Different regions and levels of government throughout the state have varying contracting needs and access to providers of goods and services. Because rural cities and counties typically have fewer contracting options than urban communities or state government, the measure presents unique challenges for small communities and their service providers. For example, if one organization in a small community is the only available contractor for community services, the organization would have to choose between accepting a contract and participating financially in the political process.

Arguments For

By prohibiting campaign contributions, Amendment 54 ensures that business interests, labor, and other covered government contractors do not influence policy decisions through campaign contributions.

Vote NO! Devastating Impact Vote No

There is the germ of a good idea in this initiative, that companies that receive large sole-source contracts cannot contribute to ballot issue campaigns. (Contribution to candidates are also limited, but those have such low limits per person anyways that this would not have much impact there.)

It’s interesting that these ultra right-wing “small government” conservative groups then propose complex initiatives to be a rigid straitjacket added to our constitution. Yet usually they state they are in favor of unlimited funding of (their) candidates.

This proposal removes a class of large companies and unions from the political process. I’m sure it was “coincidental” that these groups being removed tend to be liberal in their outlook – yeah right. This is pure and simple and attempt to remove some political funding sources from the Democratic party.

Naked political power plays should not be added to our constitution.

In addition, to continue with the incredibly successful Colorado Labor Peace Act of 1943, this (and the other 6 peace act violators) must be defeated.


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57 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bob ewegen says:

    the key backer of 54, it is so extreme it would prevent Xcel energy from spending company funds on a franchise election.  I used to work for Public Service Co. and helped in some such elections. Money spent does NOT come from your electric/gas bill, because the PUC won’t include it in the rate base. It, rightly, comes from the stockholders.  Because a franchise, by definition, is a “sole source” this threatens x-cels ability to do business in Colorado.  As the holder of 730 shares of X-cel in one of my retirement accounts, I am not amused.  It might also derail the public private partnerships on commuter rail lines that may be the salvation of FasTracks. A very, very, dangerous amendment to the business community.

    • Lone Wolf McQuade says:

      As a shareholder of any company, where do you suppose your gains come from if not the end consumer?

      A very, very, dangerous amendment to the….Democratic Party!

      • bob ewegen says:

        The PUC allows XCEL to earn a certain rate of return on invested capital.  By law, only certain expenses can be included in that rate base.  Franchise election expenses are among those that cannot be excluded. They come out of portion of income that would otherwise be alocated to dividends, and are thus paid by shareholders.  What you are advocating in your ignorance is socialism —

        the only alternative to an Xcel franchise is municipal condemnation of the distribution system follkowed by municipal (socialist) operation, as is done in the People’s Republic of Colorado Springs!

        Your ignorance of, and hatred for, business is unbelievable.  

        • bob ewegen says:

           Franchise election expenses are among those that cannot be INcluded.  

        • Lone Wolf McQuade says:

          I don’t think they allow blogging from Federal Prison.  If you do your own taxes, given your accounting skills demonstrated in this last post I fear you may end up there.  I don’t want that.  Please get help.

          Before I take the time to go into the corporate structure; I’m going to attempt to use the Socratic Method to help you come to my conclusion:

          1.) IF THE PUC ALLOWED EXCEL TO EARN ZERO ON INVESTED CAPITAL…….What would the stock price be?

          2.) Would you own your 730 shares in your retirement account?

          3.) What other source of revenue, other than from the consumer is paying the rest of the dividend you mention?

          I know you love car analogies………By your logic you could argue that GM, Ford, and Chrysler don’t transfer the cost of steal on to their customers they “just reduce the dividends.”

          I truly pity your blindness to this; however it does shed some light onto the idea of how anyone could possibly argue that Corporate Taxes are not passed onto the consumer.  Thus, any increase on taxes to corporations is a tax increase to the people who consume the product or service the company provides.  We’ll get to that in a few days with Amendment 58.  

          This is way off topic, perhaps you could open a thread “Bob needs help with Finance 101 Homework” Brush the dust off your finance and accounting books Bob, you’re going to need them.

          • bob ewegen says:

            Your ignorance of the law is matched only by your ignorance of economics.  You probably think Nassau Senior is a retirement community in the Bahamas.

            • Lone Wolf McQuade says:

              Why don’t you enlighten me with your economic prowess instead of being such an absolute Jerk because I disagree with you.

              It seems that you like to play the brilliant professor role here on Pols and simpletons like redstateblues let you get away with it.

              Prove it!

              Name the business you have run!

              Answer each of the questions above!  

              Or admit that you are the “shill” and quit being such an elitist.  You’ve been spending far too much time with people that agree with you.  Calling people names, sarcasm, and pouting doesn’t work in the real world.  

  2. Bondo says:

    My reading of this Amendment is it affects the political involvement specifically of the company/organization. It would not affect individual contributions (unless the individual is the one receiving the contract).

    I do not believe that corporations are people (contra the Supreme Court) and do not think they have a right to make political contributions. So as long as this does not affect individual contributions, it seems like it could be useful in preventing quid pro quo arrangements. Perhaps the problem is that it is not expansive enough and thus introduces a partisan bent in that way?

    • colorado76 says:

      Some, not all individuals involved in an organization are covered.

    • irkedbyzealots says:

      From the actual text of the amendment, those prohibited from making political contributions to candidate committees, political committees, small donor committees, political parties, or other entities (proposed Section 17(1) — p 2, lines 3-4) includes not only executives of corporations with single-source contracts or labor unions, but family members of same (p 1, line 19):

      Section 2(4.5) “Contract holder” means any non-governmental party to a sole source government contract, including persons that control ten percent or more shares or interest in that  party; or that party’s officers, directors or trustees; or, in the case of collective bargaining agreements, the labor organization and any political committees created or controlled by the labor organization; (p 3, lines 4-7)

      Section 2(8.5) “Immediate family member” means any spouse, child, spouse’s child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, stepbrother, stepsister, stepparent, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, nephew, guardian, or domestic partner; (p 3, lines 8-11)

  3. redstateblues says:

    this violate the 1st amendment?

  4. Lone Wolf McQuade says:

    As one of the “right wingers” I think you are referring to, this seems to just level the playing field.  There isn’t a politician alive that could undo McCain/Feingold.  

    Not even if you called it a tax, gave it a letter and handed it to Hickenlooper.

    Many concessions are made; I think it is a tragedy these are made on the Constitutional level and affect people’s 1st Amendment rights.  But right now the system heavily favors those candidates and issues on the left.  An unbiased and objective look would tell you that if we want to continue a dual party system where we have a debate about issues from two perspectives, this amendment needs to pass.

    Now if you want a one sided government that picks the winners and the losers, I would caution you that while it may be great when you are in power.  But political winds shift and shift often.

    In this state, why can’t corporations and LLC’s contribute to a candidate?  I agree that corporations should not be classified as individuals.   But we tax them separately; why shouldn’t they have representation of their own?

    To David’s point about if it is coincidental that this targets groups that are “liberal leaning.”  Of course it does, they are the only ones left.  That is why you are up in arms over this; it takes away your political monopoly.    

  5. Half Glass Full says:

    The last line of the first paragraph of the story is what this amendment is REALLY all about: it will “apply the prohibitions on campaign contributions and ballot issue contracts to a labor organization holding a collective bargaining agreement with a state or local government.”

    So basically no union with a labor contract with a local government (like RTD bus drivers and mechanics, or teachers, or police, or firemen) will ever be allowed to contribute to a political campaign.

    What a load of crap.  

    • Lone Wolf McQuade says:


      That is why you are up in arms over this; it takes away your political monopoly.

      Somebody call the wahhhhmbulance.


      by: redstateblues @ Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 13:00:08 PM CDT

      [ Parent ]  

      • redstateblues says:

        about the amendment. I’m saying that we have a political monopoly because WE ARE RIGHT.

        The voters of Colorado agree.

        • Lone Wolf McQuade says:

          I don’t think you are but I don’t claim to know everything; but there have been countless dictators, kings, queens etc. who thought they were right too.  All I am asking for is a level playing field to debate the issues.

          Right now you have a political Finance monopoly because all of the right leaning sources have been carved out.  Now that amendment 54 is going to affect your ideological counterparts you are upset.  Sounds like sour grapes to me.  Maybe you should call the whaaaaaaambulance.  

  6. Lone Wolf McQuade says:

    I can handle the repeated abuse that you spew out day after day.  But do you really want to reduce yourself to the level of “Yo Momma” Jokes, I don’t think so.  

    When you bring my mother into the conversation I have to say you appear to be classless like a vile sack of rotting excrement that has been regurgitated by a hyena.  Please don’t do that again, keep all future personal attacks and their content aimed at yours truly, you degenerate.  – Sorry, did I say all that out loud?

    Your assertion was that when Excel spends money on a franchise election it doesn’t come from the dollars that you and I pay our utility bills with?  Did I somehow misunderstand this or is that your assertion?  

    I assumed from your holier than thou presence here on pols that you would at least act like a reasonable and intelligent person.  I am not questioning your intelligence, yet I seem to have been mistaken.  A reasonable person could and would have deduced from my comments that I was pointing out the flaw in your argument that “Money spent does NOT come from your electric/gas bill, because the PUC won’t include it in the rate base. It, rightly, comes from the stockholders.”  

    I’ll ask once again: where does the money come from if not from consumer?  I don’t care how you slice the bill or what is listed on the statement.  

    Perhaps my question threw you off; maybe you will agree with me that:  If there were no consumers the company wouldn’t have the money in the first place.  

    You then gratuitously interjected a hint at how wealthy and savvy you are you are “As the holder of 730 shares of X-cel in one of my retirement accounts, I am not amused.” As if you were trying to impress us, well I’m not impressed with all of your retirement accounts let alone “one” of them.

    Face it Bob you’re wrong.  At least propose a new premise or something, rather than just refusing to answer me while you have stated you are “ignoring me.”  It’s disingenuous to your faithful believers here on the blog.  Stand up, present an idea that doesn’t include an insult and let’s have it out.  Drawing a completely irrational conclusion from the assertion I presented is not an acceptable response.

    I’m not sure how many others you have been able to bully off of this site by not answering questions and hurling insults involving people’s mothers, but I will not go away and I demand that you answer my question.  If you do not I will take your silence as a concession and will plague you with a reminder every day.  

    You did successfully avoid having to debate the proposed amendment though.  Well done Bob!  See you tomorrow.

  7. Libertad says:

    Might it crush some GOP fundraising, yes. Will these businesses not like the restriction, yes. Will they thus change their behavior, yes.

    Is that good, yes.

  8. Lauren Bacall says:

    Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere, but have you seen your post used in mailers FOR Amendment 54 under the heading “This is what the left is saying about Yes on 54”?

    (You radical lefty:)

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