Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 15, 20173min423

Colorado was well represented at a Republican Governors Association event in Nashville at the end of last week, with leading potential and announced candidates for next year’s election in attendance, Colorado Politics has learned. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman joined declared candidates George Brauchler, Doug Robinson and Victor Mitchell for the two-day meeting, which featured campaign training and the chance for candidates to meet with donors and conservative groups.

Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 16, 20175min585

Colorado labor and education are in the crosshairs of an anti-union Wisconsin foundation, according separate investigations by the Center for Media and Democracy and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation that supported the anti-union efforts in support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (who grew up in Colorado Springs, coincidentally) are spreading their efforts nationwide, starting with Colorado and North Carolina.

There’s nothing illegal or even uncommon about foundations supporting political and social messages, I should point out here.

The May 5 story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cites documents collected by international hackers. The files showed the conservative foundation was intentionally following the playbook used by wealthy Democrats to make political inroads into Colorado a decade ago.

What’s notable is there’s a new political player writing big checks.

The line starts on the right, operatives.

The Colorado AFL-CIO flagged both reports to reporters’ attention Monday.

A May 8 report by Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy states:

Bradley has given the Colorado-based Independence Institute $1.45 million between 2004-2016, the documents indicate, including multiple grants some years. With the assistance of the Independence Institute, the right-wing Douglas County school board enacted a series of measures, including countywide school vouchers for private and religious schools (later struck down by the courts), plus an end to collective bargaining, teacher tenure, and automatic dues deductions for teachers unions. In 2013, the battle resulted in a high-dollar school board race where unions and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group spent heavily.

Bradley has been a big funder of this agenda. In 2015, Bradley gave a grant of $100,000 to Independence Institute for “aggressive education reform,” which Bradley says included “neutralizing the power of Colorado’s teachers’ unions by defunding them at the local school district level” (Independence Institute, Grant Proposal Record, 11/10/15).

Founded by progressive activist and writer John Stauber, the center tends to focus its investigations on corporate and politically conservative targets with little nuance.

It’s no secret that the Independence Institute, the Denver-based libertarian-leaning think tank, takes on unions at every turn, and it depends on anonymous donors to do it.

“We never talk about our donors,” Independence Institute president and CEO Jon Caldara said in an e-mail. “But if Bradley gave us that much money to fight unions, I’d be living on some small island with that cash right now instead.”

The Journal Sentinel reported the foundation has given $575,000 to five groups in Colorado since last year.

“The records make clear the Bradley Foundation no longer simply favors groups promoting its signature issues: taxpayer-funded school choice and increased work requirements for welfare recipients,” wrote reporter Daniel Bice. “It now regularly funds nonprofits that are, among other things, hostile to labor unions, skeptical of climate change or critical of the loosening of sexual mores in American culture.”

Sam Gilchrist, executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, called the foundation’s meddling into Colorado union issues disgusting.

“Wealthy corporations and the organizations that serve them need to stop rigging our political system against hardworking people like the teachers who keep our public education system running,” he said.

“We’re not going to let the Bradley Foundation or the groups they fund get us down. More than ever, working people are coming together to raise wages, protect workers’ rights, and expand the right to organize in Colorado. We will continue to shed a light on outside influence from anti-worker groups in local and state government. We must ensure Colorado politics places the priorities of Colorado working families first.”


John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 3, 20176min459

Amid the political tumult of the first weeks of the Trump presidency, there are signs that the political status quo in the country really might be shifting, on the right and the left. What’s going on in Wisconsin? Republican Gov. Scott Walker has made a name for himself for running the state according to anti-tax supply-side conservative ideology — the kind of governing program the libertarian Koch brothers promote and pay for — as they have in Wisconsin.


Ken ThomasKen ThomasAugust 16, 20167min453

Hillary Clinton vowed Tuesday to conduct a national security and foreign policy that Americans could be proud of, saying rival Donald Trump "just absolutely bewilders" her when he talks about his policies around the globe. Clinton embraced the U.S. Olympic team's success at a voter registration rally in Philadelphia, pointing to Team USA's gold as an example of an optimistic nation that runs counter to what she considers Trump's pessimism and negativity.

Jared WrightJared WrightAugust 12, 201633min461

DENVER — Good morning and Happy Friday to all you Colorado political critters! Today is also World Elephant Day. Don't worry, we will recognize Word Donkey day when it happens. Minimum wage made Colorado's ballot yesterday, and Evan McMullin made it today. Trump is headed back to Colorado. This and much more in today's Hot Sheet. Read on for your ultimate daily dose of Colorado politics ...

Jared WrightJared WrightApril 13, 20162min375

By TCS Publisher and Editor in Chief Jared Wright @_JaredWright_ DENVER — Good morning and Happy Wednesday. A crazy political world we live in: All it takes is one day of Matt Drudge exaggeration to rile up the natives back home. Stay safe out there. "Shame on the people who think somehow that it is right to threaten me and my family over not liking the outcome of an election." — Steve House Now, your substrata feed straight from Colorado's politics pipeline: Smallwood makes ballot in Senate District 4 — Yesterday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office notified Jim Smallwood of his campaign’s success in acquiring a ...