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Politics and Government

Colorado business leaders are behind dark-money political group spending big on state Senate races

The Colorado Economic Leadership Fund is spending $621,370 on ads, according to cable TV contracts filed last week

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A nonprofit with large donors from the oil and gas industry is spending big on cable TV ads to help Republicans in four state Senate contests.

The Colorado Economic Leadership Fund is spending $621,370 on ads, according to cable TV contracts filed last week with the Federal Communications Commission.

The ads began airing Aug. 22 and are set to continue through Sept. 14. The spending so far includes:

  • $250,000 on ads supporting Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, who faces Democratic state Rep. Faith Winter in Adams County.
  • $150,000 to support Republican Christine Jensen in her contest against state Rep. Jessie Danielson for the open Jefferson County Senate District 20 seat.
  • $146,880 to support Olen Lund in his challenge to Democratic Sen. Kerry Donovan in Senate District 5, which includes parts of Eagle, Pitkin, Gunnison, Delta, Lake, Chaffee and Hinsdale counties.
  • $74,490 to support GOP Sen. Tim Neville in his contest against challenger Democrat Tammy Story in Jefferson County.

Colorado Economic Leadership Fund is a 501(c)(4) or social welfare nonprofit that doesn’t have to make its donors public during the election. But prior records show that Anadarko Petroleum reported donating $510,000 and Noble Energy reported giving $25,000 in 2016. The group won’t report 2018 information until next year.

The director is listed as Mike Kopp, a former Republican state senator who is president and CEO of business group Colorado Concern, the group affiliated with the nonprofit.

This story first ran in The Colorado Sun’s politics newsletter, The Unaffiliated. You can subscribe here: cosun.co/unaffiliated