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April 05, 2006 08:00 AM UTC

Colorado a Hotspot for 527s

  • by: Colorado Pols

For those of you interested in the growth of so-called 527 committees and their role in the 2006 elections, there’s an interesting article from Kansas City Info Zine that is a good primer on the subject and?highlights Colorado as a state where much of the 527 action will be played.

…One hot spot for 527s is Colorado, where more than a dozen groups are waging a high-priced battle for control of the state Legislature and an open gubernatorial seat.

Such 527 groups came to the fore after a 2002 federal campaign reform law prohibited political parties and political action committees from accepting “soft money” — unlimited cash raised and supposedly spent independently for “voter education” or “issue advocacy.”

But Democrats and Republicans soon got around the soft-money ban. The new entities called 527s were created and still were able to skirt federal election contribution and spending limits — as long as they didn’t directly advocate the election or defeat of a specific candidate.

In the 2004 election, 527s raised approximately $535 million, compared to $268 million in 2002, according to the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity (CPI), which tracks campaign finance dollars. Two of the largest 527s are the Republican and Democratic governors associations, which are raising tens of millions of dollars to influence some of this year’s 36 gubernatorial races.

Virginia, one of 13 states with no limits on campaign contributions, is home to the largest number of 527s with 51, followed by California with 47 and Florida with 31, according to CPI data…

…At least 15 of the 527s have Colorado addresses, including the Trailhead Group, which was formed last year and raised $291,000 with the help of Gov. Bill Owens (R). Trailhead’s top contribution of $100,000 came from Colorado beer magnate Pete Coors, a Republican who lost the 2004 U.S. Senate race. Four other individuals gave $50,000 each, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service. Those amounts are well in excess of the $500 maximum individual contribution allowed to political action committees under a constitutional amendment approved by Colorado voters in 2002.

Four other contributions to Trailhead came from corporations, a source of campaign cash that the amendment banned for political action committees but not 527s. Trailhead has stirred the most controversy this year with automated phone calls to constituents of 10 Democratic state legislators. Democrats have charged that the calls are slanderous, but Colorado Attorney General John Suthers denied a request to investigate the Trailhead Group.




50 thoughts on “Colorado a Hotspot for 527s

  1. Ho hum.  Just another hit piece on Trailhead.  Nothing new, and nothing about R&D, a group that makes contributions to Democrats, but who are they?

  2. It is another hit piece on Trailhead, due to the fact that it’s a 527 making calls that are slanderous.  BMR, you really need to address the issues at hand instead of your constant scapegoating. 

    Trailhead is unethical group, supporting a party that parades itself on ethics. We know were the money is coming from, and it’s only a select few rich old white guys.

  3. “The [Republican] secretary of state says Research and Democracy does not have to reveal its donors because it was not involved in electioneering.” — RMN 3/29

    There’s a line one crosses where the talking point becomes just another pathetic deflection. For Trailhead, it was several thousand slanderous calls ago.

    No-Robocall List

  4. You really do need to try again.

    The article starts out with the appearance of being balanced, then quicly veers into who Trailhead is, where their donations have come from. 

    Well, as I said, there’s nothing new there, thus, it isn’t news, just another hit piece.

    Left UNSAID, and thus, the article is one-sided, is WHO IS R&D?

    Care to address THAT, ‘try again’?

  5. Actually it is NEWS, for KC and the rest of the nation.  It demonstrates the amazingly UNETHICAL existent to which the GOPers will go.  While the nation will be watching Colorado politics closely this cycle, it is relevant to bring up the STANDARDS that Republicans are setting.  Since the article directly relates to Colorado, it relevant to the Pols.

    And, Trailhead is STILL making SLANDEROUS calls! 
    Deal with the problems at hand.

    By the way, those capitalized letter just make you look eccentric.

  6. Who is R&D, try again?

    That is an issue.

    Your claims of “unethical” are merely opinion.

    I’d like to have my opinion on R&D. 

    If I only knew who they were.

    Hey – maybe they’re a group of communists trying to influence elections?  I suppose it’s not probable, but until we find out WHO they are, I guess anything is possible.

    Are the members of R&D communists?

    And here you are, preaching ethics.


  7. R&D is Gwyn Green’s former campaign manager, David Winkler. R&D’s cheerleader is Alan Franklin of who runs the anti-Trailhead web site. Jared Polis writes the checks for Gwyn Green and Progress Now. Gee, ya think maybe Polis writes the checks for R&D too?

    What does R&D have to hide?

  8. John McCain is responsible for 527’s.  Now this boob is pushing an amnesty bill.

    Can anybody say “unintended consequences”?  Except, we were warned about the “unintended consequences” before McCain-Feingold was signed into law. 

    Now there is talk of “fixing” McCain-Feingold, but no amount of salsa and cheese can mask the fact that this omelette was made from rotten eggs.

    PS: When I provide a link to CP next week, they will be identified as a left-leaning site.  There is no doubt.

  9. I’m with the Plumber on this one.

    John McCain may be one of America’s War Heroes, but McCain-Feingold will go down in history as an idea nearly as bad as Prohibition.

  10. Hey, don’t bash McCain-Feingold.  Shut down up the 527s, and all that’s left to do to create truthful and open campaigns is to close that pesky First Amendment loophole.

    Sarcasm aside, didn’t Bush and the GOP pass the bill to take the issue away from the Democrats, on the supposition that the Supremes would veto it?  The early 21st century is a Perfect Storm of bad ideas.

  11. “What does R&D have to hide?”

    “The [Republican] secretary of state says Research and Democracy does not have to reveal its donors because it was not involved in electioneering.” — RMN 3/29

    Answer: nothing. Please find a new diversionary tactic.

  12. R&D: a democratic constituency adovocay group, to suppport Dems

    Trailhead: a slanderous attack machine fueld by a few Colorado GOP elitists

    What about the Swift Boat Veterans (527) that were proved to have lied about everything they claimed against Kerry?  Another attack machine from the far right.

    Colorado now has Karl Rove in Drag, with Trailhead as an attack dog!

  13. BMRising, Good question. If not a 527, what umbrella are they under? Non-profit? What?

    Anybody? I can’t find an answer anywhere.

  14. Some of you are so transparent.  I wish I could say the same for R&D.  No one is saying that R&D has necessarily done something illegal or that the Dems who take their money have either.  It may be – but we don’t know until R&D donors come forward.

    Try Again – are you seriously OK with state legislators taking unlimited amounts of anonymous money?  That’s exactly what happened.  You can change ‘Research & Democracy’ into any other random words strung together.  It’s a totally arbitrary name.  You can insert ‘Pat Stryker’ or ‘American Jihad.’ 

    My point is, you don’t know.  And if the these Dems don’t know (which I highly doubt is the case) then they should publicly ask them to ID themselves or have publicly denounced the in-kind as misrepresentation of them.

    As for Trailhead, you may not like what they’re doing but at least you know everything there is to know about them.  That’s the difference.  And BTW, both the Boulder & Denver DA’s have commented that Democrat claims of slander are ridiculous.  Calls have gone into both of their districts and nothing has been done.  Because the calls are factual!  Suthers doesn’t make these decisions either – a 6 person panel made of 3 Rep & 3 Dem DA’s do.

  15. What about the Swift Boat Veterans (527) that were proved to have lied about everything they claimed against Kerry? Another attack machine from the far right.


    The above post brought to you by the Mayor of Fantasyland.

  16. “Reaearch and Democracy: was determined by our GOP Secretary of State to not be involved in electioneering. That means that they’re not a 527, 501(c), or any other IRS-regulated committee. They don’t have to be. BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T ELECTIONEERING.

    Why the fuck are we still talking about this? Wait, I know!

    Say it to yourself slowly: this…is all…a bunch of…Republican…diversionary…bullshit…

  17. Actually, the Dems did not recieve “cash” from R&D, they recieved gifts in the form of constituency outreach.  That is in now way “unlimited anonymous money,” since you can physcially find the gifts donated. They are not padding their office accounts.

    By a disclose of the donor names violates privacy law, which is the exact same thing that I believe the Independce Institute fought durnig the C&D campaign, being a private organization. And,  I dont see how any illegal actions could come to light from the disclosure of the donors names. 

    BMR, toeing the line of the republican attack machine from the far right are we?  You lose credibility.

  18. OK, this is directed at no person in particular on this thread. That said, I am so sick of the “liberal media conspiracy.” What a bunch of garbage. I mean, even the Wall Street Journal is considered part of the “liberal media conspiracy” Heaven forbid a conservative business paper criticize the President’s policies. What the hell happened to this country?

    I am not sure on the numbers here (help Phoenix) but, the vast majority of talk radio is conservative. Some of my marketing friends down at Clear Channel said it’s something over 90% of talk radio is conservative. Ya the left has Air America, (oh wait, throw the balanced news of NPR in there too) but check any other station 850am 1310am….. All day long it’s a bunch of right wing brainwashing going on. To quote a true asshole: “We don’t indoctrinate, we educate. This is the NEW media.” Maybe it is always opposite day in Rush Land?

    Oh & I am really sick of the right’s claim that the media only reports on the bad stuff in Iraq. Well, maybe if there was even a fraction of a secure situation there, the reporters could leave their hotel rooms & travel to a place where there was a good news story. Until the place is secure enough to where they won’t get their ass blown off by a car bomb, I doubt they will leave the green zone. Then again, that is just the “liberal media conspiracy.” We are fighting to stop an “imminent threat,” oh wait… I mean, for freedom ya that’s it, freedom.

    As for Trailhead & R&D, that is how the game is played. If you want a voice in America, write a check. If you can’t write a check volunteer for a campaign & bust your ass! DeGette, Salazar, & Udall are safe seats. Donate & volunteer for Perlmutter, Lamm, Winter, Paccione, & Fawcet. Take back the country from these fanatics.

  19. Im in complete agreement.  Im sick of Rosen, Caldera, Andrews and all these other cons making claims against the “liberal media” when they are the media!  We need to silence this crowd and the best way to shut them up is to work for a good candidate, voice your opinion or a write a check.  Good post Kareoke Hero!

  20. So like go to work for Permutter who never had a radio show, but instead took that job promoting Walmart?

    Not for me guys. Maybe someone else will though.

  21. We need to silence this crowd and the best way to shut them up is to work for a good candidate, voice your opinion or a write a check. Good post Kareoke Hero!


    And after that, I guess it’s “Away with the First Amendment!” is that it?

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  22. No, I believe in the 1st amendment, and I would no way want to limit the 1st.  By “silencing this crowd,” I meant it’s time for more noise from the middle and the left.  I want people to have the opportunity to voice a different opinion, and it’s not going to happen with the right wing in control of the media.

    Hopefully, that is crystal clear for you.

  23. I want people to have the opportunity to voice a different opinion, and it’s not going to happen with the right wing in control of the media.

    Well, it’s not as ‘crystal clear’ as it is hilarious.

  24. Barry Poulson, that darling of the right, who would be the first to jump on any state employee or legislator for using state resouces, is using his official CU Boulder – state paid for – email to promote his and the Independence Institute’s politicization of PERA (the Bush Social Security debacle for the state of Colorado).  Check the filings with the Secretary of State.

  25. Whatever came of the story Angie Paccione declared bankruptcy to get out the responsibility of paying off her student loans? It seems like such a story would be front page in all the newspapers if she were a Republican.

    Then again, is owned and controlled by the Democratic party, so why expect coverage of this matter?

  26. Sing it, Kareoke! I completely agree. There is no “liberal media.” It’s a complete myth. Remember who the Denver Post endorsed for President? Not Kerry.

    Here’s another one I’m tired of. Republicans chanting about the horrors of “activist judges” while they work to install two “activist judges” in the Supreme Court. It’s okay for their judges to be “activist judges” because they represent their opinions.

  27. Yes, Mr. (or Ms.) No, it’s all a big conspiracy. But let’s take a look, shall we?

    1. We wrote about the story you are talking about back in July, and so did the traditional media. Look it up.
    2. This story first came out a long time ago. It’s not “front page news” because it’s old. Why aren’t we still talking about John Roberts? Why aren’t we still talking about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Why isn’t the media talking about John Elway’s retirement? They must all be Raiders fans.

    We’re sorry that you just found out about this, but just because you haven’t been paying attention doesn’t mean everyone else hasn’t.

  28. John Elway retired?
    WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?  ARRGGHHH!  Now the Bronckieslanche will NEVER win another Stanley Bowl Series! 

  29. There is no “liberal media.” It’s a complete myth.


    Yeah, right.  So was DAN RAthER.  He was myth, too. 


  30. ROFL IM.

    And Tom Brokaw, calling Florida for Gore in 2000  – despite the fact that the polls hadn’t closed yet.  He’s a myth, too.

    And Perky Katie Couric – the non-journalist, non-reporter, now carrying Dan RAthER’s luggage, she’ll add such depth and balance to the mix. 

    Yeah, it’s all a myth.

    Here’s a Pew Research poll on the matter of the media and Iraq, for just one example:

    Journalists’ Anti-War Views Revealed
    …………………………………….Media ….Public
    Decision to Take Military
    Action Was Right…………………….. 28%….. 48%
    Effort to Build Iraqi
    Democracy Will Succeed……………….. 33%……56%
    War in Iraq Helpful to
    Overall War on Terrorism……………… 22%….. 44%

    — Based on Pew Research Center polls of top journalists
    and the general public, report released November 17.

    But the bias is all a myth.  Why?  Because Phil & Kareoke (sic) said so.  (And frankly, I don’t know WHAT to make of Bojangles’ commentary on my sex life).  LOL

  31. Give me a break, BMR. You can definitely have liberal individuals in the media, just like there are conservative individuals in the media. But a liberal individual doesn’t make for a “liberal media.” That’s stupid.

    It’s just not true that there is a “liberal media,” as though there is some organized effort to report the news from a liberal perspective. It’s a boogie man story that Republicans tell their kids at night to scare them. Don’t you realize how dumb it sounds for conservative media personalities to rail about a “liberal media,” when THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ARE ON THE AIR!!!

  32. And of course, more recently, the media quickly painted Justice Alito with the term “extremist”.  Back in 1993, Justice Ginsberg was a “moderate”. 

    To wit:

    On ABC, anchor Elizabeth Vargas called Alito a “staunch conservative,” while Terry Moran found him “deeply conservative.” CBS’s John Roberts said that “if confirmed, Alito would wipe out the swing seat now occupied by Sandra Day O’Connor, tilting the Supreme Court in a solidly conservative direction.” In contrast, NBC’s Brian Williams, agreed Alito was “dependably conservative” but he also saw an “independent streak,” as did reporter Pete Williams.

      Despite the labeling, Alito’s career — Justice Department lawyer, U.S. attorney, federal judge — is not that of an activist. In contrast, Clinton nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg had solid activist credentials as director of the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU, but reporters were loath to assign her a liberal label. On the June 14, 1993 NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell termed Ginsburg “a judicial moderate and a pioneer for women’s rights.” The next morning on ABC, Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden asked legal editor Arthur Miller: “We hear words like ‘centrist,’ ‘moderate,’ ‘consensus builder.’ How will she fit into this court?” Miller, a longtime friend of Ginsburg, predicted (wrongly) that she’d be a centrist Justice.

    Yeah, it’s all a myth.  LOL

  33. Shall I keep going, Phil?

    You’re right, of course, that a ‘few individuals’ don’t make up all of the media – and I’ve purposefully limited my comments to those that are SUPPOSED to be reporting the news (instead of inventing it). 

    Guys like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Coulter AREN’T reporters – they’re commentators – they’re offering THEIR opinions on matters, just as Al Franken and Jay Marvin are.

  34. The whining about 527’s is just a result of the feeble attempt by Common Cause and The League of Women Vipers to keep money out of politics in a free society. We were better off with unlimited contribution limits to candidates and full disclosure of contribution sources. At least we knew where the money came from and who messaged the campaign piece. Now the ugly Frankenstien monster is loose and the villagers are besides themselves.

  35. Who is BadMoonRising? Who does he work for? What does he have to hide? Why won’t he tell us who’s paying his bills? Could it because it’s the Trailhead group?


    Hee hee hahahahaaaaaaaaaa. 

    Funny stuff.

    Why won’t I tell who’s paying my bills?  ROFL

    Why don’t just ask me?  I’ll tell you!

    So – back to the “liberal bias myth”…  LOL

  36. BMR – Of course they will never ask you.

    And we all know the truth anyway, you are an ultra-secret employee of Halliburton.  I am pretty sure that you are code named “Agent Orange” but I have not gotten any verification of that as of yet.

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