Although Colorado was once a red state, it has becoming increasingly Democrat-friendly in recent years. Colorado has a Democratic governor (Jared Polis) and two Democratic U.S. senators (John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet), and Republicans haven’t won Colorado in a presidential election since George W. Bush in 2004. But some parts of Colorado still have their share of wingnuts — for example, the district that elected far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert, a QAnon supporter, to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020. And according to Colorado Sun reporters Sandra Fish and Jesse Paul, tens of millions in right-wing “dark money” are still being spent in the state.
In an article published by the Sun on December 22, Fish and Paul take a close look at the GOP nonprofit Unite for Colorado.
“A deep-pocketed conservative political nonprofit that doesn’t disclose its donors funded almost every major Republican political group and effort in Colorado last year, according to a tax document obtained by The Colorado Sun that, for the first time, reveals the breadth of the organization’s influence,” Fish and Paul report. “The document reveals that Unite for Colorado distributed $17.2 million in 2020, including $375,000 to the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, a nonprofit that lobbied Colorado’s redistricting independent commissions this year on behalf of Republican interests. The once-in-a-decade redistricting process may alter the state’s political landscape.”
The Sun reporters note that Unite for Colorado “donated nearly $1.4 million to Ready Colorado, a conservative education nonprofit” and “sent $310,000 to the Public Trust Institute, a nonprofit that filed ethics complaints against former Gov. John Hickenlooper.”
“Unite for Colorado’s financial details were revealed in an Internal Revenue Service 990 form filed by the organization for the 2020 tax year,” Fish and Paul explain. “The document shows the group brought in $18.5 million last year, making it one of the most moneyed and prolific spenders in Colorado politics.”
That form, according to the Sun reporters, “also now ties Unite for Colorado to some of the state’s most well-known and active conservative political consultants and operatives, including former State Sen. Greg Brophy, conservative political operative Alan Philp, Ready Colorado cofounder and Vice President Tyler Sandberg, former Deputy Colorado Secretary of State Suzanne Taheri, former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchle, former House Speaker Frank McNulty, Advance Colorado Institute President Michael Fields, and Dustin Zvonek, a former Americans for Prosperity state director who led Unite.”
“Together,” Fish and Paul note, “these people represent the scaffolding of the Republican effort to influence policy, win elections and reclaim relevance in Colorado after years of defeat.”