DENVER — Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it’s tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.
One Polis group, Coloradans for Local Control, donated $1.45 million to another Polis group, Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy, which is running the campaign to place a slew of anti-fracking measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.
That one donation—the only contribution so far to the Polis-sponsored issue committee—exceeded the combined $900,000 raised by two energy-backed coalitions during the two-week reporting period ending May 14, although their overall fundraising tops the Polis campaign’s at $3.77 million.
Of course, the pro-energy groups–Coloradans for Responsible Reform [CRR] and Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence [PCEEEI]—also began their fundraising efforts months earlier than did Polis. Their first checks date back to late February and early March, while the lone Polis contribution was dated May 9.
That means more than $5 million has been raised so far on the anti-fracking election fight, even though the proposed initiatives may not even qualify for the ballot. The measures all face challenges before the Colorado Supreme Court, which may wait until as late as June to issue decisions.
While it’s widely assumed that the multi-millionaire Polis wrote the $1.45 million check himself, Coloradans for Local Control is a 501(c)(4) non-profit and therefore not required to disclose its donors.
Campaign spokesman Rick Ridder said the $1.45 million donation “did not come entirely from Jared Polis. There are other contributors to Coloradans for Local Control.”
PCEEEI spokeswoman Karen Crummy challenged Polis to reveal how much of his personal fortune he’s sinking into the anti-fracking campaign.
“It’s unfortunate that Congressman Polis isn’t being more transparent,” said Crummy in an email. “If this is an issue he feels passionately about, one would think he wouldn’t be hiding how much money he is spending.”
Less of a mystery is where the money would be spent. The Polis campaign has reserved $1.3 million in television air time, reported the Colorado Independent, bassed on a statement issued by Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy.
“Coloradans simply want to live their lives without fracking being forced upon them anytime, anywhere,” said the statement. “Unfortunately, current law does not provide for this freedom. The people of Colorado are demanding a reasonable balance between fracking and protecting their right to clear air, clean water, and security in their own homes.”
Contributions to the two pro-energy committees fighting the anti-fracking initiatives come from a broad spectrum of interests, including real estate, construction, contracting, dairy and wheat farming, banking, public utilities and health care, as well as the energy industry.
Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy, which have extensive oil and gas development operations in the Wattenberg Field in Weld County, are leading the drive against the proposed bans.
“We are willing to invest whatever is necessary to educate voters on these initiatives, which would shred private property rights, decimate the economy and cost tens of thousands of jobs,” said Crummy.