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May 09, 2017 02:25 PM UTC

Sirota Uncovers Lanny Martin's Colorado GOP Quid Pro Cash

  • 1 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Denver GOP donor and oilman J. Landis “Lanny” Martin.

A story from local investigative journalist David Sirota in the International Business Times is provoking a lot of discussion today–not just for its content, but the fact that a large out-of-state media outlet is calling attention to donations and wealthy local donors that local media can’t be bothered to report on:

A top fossil fuel industry official poured $40,000 into the Colorado Republican Party’s super PAC on the same day the state’s legislature began considering a bill to limit the oil and gas industry’s fracking and drilling near schools, according to state documents reviewed by International Business Times. Soon after the contribution from Halliburton board member J. Landis Martin, Republican lawmakers lined up against the legislation. They eventually killed it — days before a deadly blast at a home near an oil well in Northeastern Colorado…

Martin’s March 14th donation was one of the single largest individual contributions in the Colorado Republican Party’s modern history, and the second largest ever given to the party’s super PAC, according to data from the National Institute on Money In State Politics.

Colorado is one of 29 states with campaign finance laws designed to discourage fundraising during legislative sessions. Martin’s contribution, however, appeared to legally flow around that statute because it went to the Colorado Republican Party’s independent expenditure committee, which supports legislators — but not directly to the legislators themselves.

Martin told IBT the donation was unrelated to the setback bill, which would have clarified that the 1,000 foot limit between schools and new oil and gas wells started at the edge of school property, not at school buildings themselves…

“I don’t really follow the state legislature there,” said Martin, who is a prominent philanthropist in Colorado. He also told an interviewer in 2013 he moved to Denver in 1981.

Some of our readers will recall the name J. Landis “Lanny” Martin as the wealthy local oilman who held an under-publicized fundraiser at his Denver Art Museum penthouse for Jeb! Bush in the fall of 2015 starring former President George W. Bush. Noteworthy to us was the fact that local press actually colluded with the organizers to conceal the location of this fundraiser–which didn’t stop a lively contingent from Occupy Denver from shaking the windows of Martin’s penthouse for the whole event.

Martin’s donation to the Colorado Republican Party’s independent expenditure committee is not illegal, but the large size of the donation definitely makes it noteworthy. With so much scrutiny in the media on the opponents of oil and gas development in Colorado, not nearly enough attention is paid to the proponents and the lavish amounts of money they give their (mostly) Republican political allies.

Of course, it’s extremely difficult to say with certainty that any individual donation is in response to or exchange for any vote, but the reliability with which Colorado Republicans protect the energy industry in Colorado doesn’t leave much to ponder. Lanny Martin doesn’t need to know bill numbers to know exactly what he’s paying for. And with the issue again taking center stage in the wake of the Firestone home explosion, these kinds of “transactions” matter–no matter how jaded the local media may be.

Sirota and the IBT are reportedly not done either, so stay tuned.

Comments

One thought on “Sirota Uncovers Lanny Martin’s Colorado GOP Quid Pro Cash

  1. I've had my complaints about David Sirota, but this is excellent work.

    I would add that the Denver Post has been pretty good about the energy biz and the Firestone explosion. Is the tide turning finally? I hope so.

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