BREAKING: Anschutz Linked To Anti-LGBT Groups, “Dr. Chaps”

UPDATE: A statement from Colorado LGBT and progressive groups calls out Phil Anschutz:

“Today the Washington Post revealed that while making a fortune off hardworking Coloradans – including LGBTQ Coloradans – billionaire Phil Anschutz has been giving money to organizations that have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado.

“Instead of investing in individuals and groups that spread misinformation and advocate violence, Phil Anschutz could invest in improving the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. LGBTQ students still face bullying and harassment in our schools, transgender Coloradans are denied access to the health care, identity documents, and basic rights they deserve, and it is still legal for to subject young people to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.”

“Phil Anschutz’s extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt’s ‘Pray in Jesus Name’ is shocking,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history.”

“The Anschutz name is emblazoned on public institutions across our state,” said Silverii. “Now that it has been revealed that his charity is also going to organizations that support political figures who call for gays and lesbians to be killed, it’s time to ask Anschutz to take a good look at where his money is being spent. The Alliance Defending Freedom props up the same politicians who have introduced hundreds of rights-destroying bills in legislatures across the country – including right here in Colorado. Today, we’re asking Mr. Anschutz to cancel his checks to the ADF, and instead invest in Colorado-based organizations that help improve the lives of LGBTQ friends and neighbors, not try and strip their rights away.”

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Phil Anschutz.

Phil Anschutz.

As the Washington Post reports this morning, one of Colorado’s richest Republican funders, Phil Anschutz, has helped fund an organization widely described as an anti-gay extremist group:

“We started seeing bills that looked 80 to 90 percent identical in language start to pop up around the country,” McTighe said. “The language was so clearly being coordinated.” In a report to be released on Thursday called “Enemies of Equality,” [Freedom for All Americans] shows that 17 bills in 14 states that target transgender Americans “used almost identical language and it’s based off of a model policy ADF started pushing four or five months ago.” All told, there are more than 200 anti-LGBT bills pending in 34 states…

James Dobson is founder of the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family. Tom Minnery is a board member at ADF and senior vice president of policy at Focus on the Family, which gets money from NCF and the family of Forbes 400 billionaire Richard DeVos, founder of Amway. He and his family have given money to all of the organizations founded by Dobson.

“We’re not just kind of cataloguing this for retroactive historical purposes to look back at this legislative session,” McTighe of FFAA said of his group’s effort to expose the intricate web of anti-LGBT interests. “We expect that this will be even more pronounced in the coming legislative session and that the ADF and the groups that it has sway over will continue to get more engaged and will continue to file more and more anti-LGBT bills that are being coordinated…by…national organization[s] with a clear anti-LGBT agenda.”

Here’s what Freedom for All Americans says about Anschutz:

Phil Anschutz is one of the richest people in America, with an estimated fortune of over $10 billion, and is listed at #42 on Forbes’ U.S. Billionaires list as of May 17, 2016.

His entertainment company, AEG, is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and venues, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center, and O2 Arena. In addition, Anschutz owns The Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas. He’s also one of the largest landowners in the country.

Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013. Anschutz Foundation gave $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013. Anschutz Foundation gave $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013.

Today’s report documents to a far greater detail than has been disclosed previous the funding and advocacy relationships surrounding the Alliance Defending Freedom–an organization that has spearheaded the opposition to LGBT rights across the nation, and responsible for the defense of figures such as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her battle to avoid having to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Since the U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, ADF has continued to push a wide variety of anti-LGBT legislation in state legislatures across the nation including Colorado’s. The organization has introduced dozens of such pieces of legislation just in 2016, from “bathroom bills” to restrict access to gender-appropriate restrooms for transgender people to “religious freedom” bills meant to carve out space for faith-based discrimination. Safe to say, ADF is diametrically opposed to the direction the nation has been headed on gay rights in recent years.

Oh, and one more thing for Colorado consumption: Phil Anschutz’s money to ADF also funded Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, perhaps the most infamous anti-gay legislator in Colorado’s history. Of course, since Anschutz owns the Colorado Springs Gazette, there was precisely zero chance of citizens in Klingenschmitt’s district ever learning of this connection to the city’s #1 sugar daddy.

Unfortunately for Phil Anschutz, he doesn’t own the Washington Post. The disclosure of Anschutz’s support for extremist anti-gay groups, not to mention “Dr. Chaps,” could be an enormous problem for his wide-ranging business interests. What will concertgoers and performers think of Anschutz’s support for hate groups as they consider attending/performing at Anschutz Entertainment Group events? Taylor Swift? Lady Gaga? It’s our understanding that funding anti-LGBT causes is not a very popular thing to do in Hollywood.

Even billionaires should be held accountable for funding hate. Even Phil Anschutz.

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12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. buford2 says:

    Phil is but the tip of this Iceberg…There are many more rich folks willing to sacrifice our freedom for their greed…for their bigotry, and for their hate…The koch boys are not alone in this effort as well…We are in a fight for our Liberty…the modern gop must never be allowed to gain more power, but they must be thrown down, and ground to dust…if we are to be a United States once again…

  2. bullshit! says:

    Wow. As bad as Mizel and Trump, maybe worse. WTF is wrong with Colorado's rich and powerful?

  3. BlueCat says:

    What a graphic. A veritable Who's Who of hate spewing flakes and assholes.

  4. sporobolus says:

    don't forget how close Michael Bennet is to this guy

  5. mamajama55 says:

    So Anschutz attended a GOP "Stop Trump" meeting in Georgia. And Anschutz funds charities, media, sports, and hospitals galore. When my ex was recently farmed out to a private hospital because the VA had no beds, he went to "Anschutz".

    And Anschutz is building a giant wind farm in southeast Wyoming, plus a 700 mile transmission line to transmit the energy to California. This transmission line will go right past Craig, Colorado , possibly meeting some power needs that were formerly met 100% by coal.

    My point is that Anschutz is a guy who also does plenty of good with his money, and cares a lot about presenting a positive image to the world. He's also part of the intra-GOP divisions – social issues or strictly financial?

    How about both?  Phil Anschutz funds the anti-LGBT group "Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)", as the Washington Post and Pols pointed out. I think that the ADF is a means for trying to unify the Republican party – a way to get social conservatives back into the fold and voting for those policies which maintain wealth for the 1%.

    We do need to hold Anschutz accountable for funding the ADF – because he does care so much about his image as a funder for positive change. When the Hollywood celebrities start making noise about his anti-gay activities, then we may see some divestment.

    • Blackie101 says:

      Anschutz does good?

      A bit of history—remember Anschutz and Mountain Bell? Remember Anschutz and Mountain Bell's pension funds? Remember Anschutz and the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad? And the Southern Pacific Railroad merger with the D&RGW?

      Everything was done to drain the last dollar out of those various enterprises.

      Lately he has been laying low because of all the bad publicity. 

       

      • mamajama55 says:

        Blackie,

        Yes, Anschutz does do some good. That's why we have to shine a bright light on him when he promotes causes harmful to human rights, such as ADF. I personally think it's hopeful that he may be part of the "stop Trump" movement.  He may be trying to clean up his image; so we need to expose the dirt that exists.

        I don't know about Anschutz and Mountain Bell, or the railroads. Please write more about that.  Thanks, mj

        [edited] I see where when Anschutz as CEO of Qwest took over USWest and became a “baby Bell” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwest) . But I don’t know what happened to the CWA pensions in the takeover. Apparently, you do. So what happened?

        Again, there’s good and bad to be had here. I’m no fan of Centurylink or Qwest in general, but they were the lone holdout in not turning over massive customer data to the NSA.

        I think that, although it’s a bit tougher to hold nuanced, multi-dimensional views, it can make one more effective as an activist in the long run. To wit, if Anschutz cares about his image, he may back off of funding some of these anti-gay entities.

        • notaskinnycook says:

          Only if he's busted for them–LOUDLY. He can keep his good guy image but he's got some 'splain' to do and some amends to make for the harm he's done.

           

          • mamajama55 says:

            Agreed, cook. So what should be done as a follow-up to the Washington Post expose?

            • notaskinnycook says:

              Keep the light shining on him. He's one of those ultra-wealthy sorts who only do badness in the dark. Their egos demand that people think well of them. And these kinds of "donations" might have been too much for even the late, great Jim Monahan, Anchutz's long-time P.R. guy, to have spun. I knew Jim, he was a rock-ribbed Democrat, and Anchutz trafficking with virulently anti-gay types would have stuck in Jim's craw and really tested his loyalty to his boss. 

  6. ohwilleke says:

    Anschutz is also the client from whom U.S. Senator Michael Bennett made most of his fortune before leaving to private sector, first to lead the Denver Public Schools and then to serve in the U.S. Senate.  Bennett's work, consolidating movie theater companies to form Regal Cinemas, obviously had nothing to do with Anschutz's patronage of anti-gay political action and a lawyer does not impliedly adopt the political stances of his clients when simply doing his job.  But, the connection does bear noting.

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