Boulder, Out-of-State Donors Represent Lion Share of Initiative 97 Funds

Boulder, out-of-state donors represent lion share of Initiative 97 funds
90% of Colorado Rising’s in-state donors from Boulder


DENVER (July 31, 2018) – With days left until petitions are due to the Secretary of State, Initiative 97’s donor report looks more like a Boulder County initiative than a statewide effort.  

According to Colorado Rising’s latest campaign finance report, the committee raised more than $250,000 in July bringing its total haul to $527,000. Half of the issue committee’s contributions stem from Boulder County, while another 43% come from outside Colorado. The biggest champion for 97 appears to be Washington, DC-based Food and Water Watch, which contributed $190,000 and accounts for more than a third of the committee’s total fundraising. Food and Water Watch has campaigned for years for a statewide oil and gas development ban in Colorado. The group has even called Colorado “ground zero” in a fringe national campaign to “ban fracking everywhere.”

The geographical distribution of Colorado Rising stands in stark contrast to Colorado’s energy development and voter profile. For example, 80% of the state’s energy production comes from Weld County, yet contributions from those residents account for less than 1% of the committee’s fundraising. Additionally, Boulder County voters make up 6% of the state’s 3.8 million registered voters.

“While Initiative 97’s proponents bill themselves as a grassroots movement, their campaign finances illustrate a different picture of out-of-state influence that Colorado voters should reject,” said Colorado Concern President and CEO Mike Kopp. “Boulder County may have the financial resources to weather the storm should 97 pass, but tens of thousands of Coloradans across the state will be out of work next year alone. Voters won’t let that happen.”

Kopp referenced a recent study by the REMI Partnership, a coalition of business groups including the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, Colorado Concern, Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Colorado Bankers Association, and Denver South Economic Development Partnership, into the major economic damage Initiative 97 would cause.

The study shows more than 100,000 jobs would be lost across the economy, including tens of thousands of jobs outside the energy industry in sectors like retail, construction and telecommunications. Also, more than $1 billion in annual tax revenue for state and local governments would be lost if Initiative 97 passes, the REMI Partnership’s study found.

The latest report comes on the heels of a volatile week for Colorado Rising. Last week, Colorado Rising’s out-of-state paid petition gathering firm, Direct Action Partners (DAP), returned to Oregon with approximately 20,000 signatures claiming it hadn’t been paid for the work. Colorado Rising’s latest campaign finance report showed payments to DAP for $155,000, bringing the company’s total signature gathering cost of $300,000.


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