Sparring over Ref C heats up

Supporters of Referendum C charged Monday that two conservative groups opposed to the ballot measure have broken state law by failing to disclose their campaign donors and expenses.

Ref C supporters filed complaints with the secretary of state against Colorado FreedomWorks and the Colorado Club for Growth, both of which are state affiliates of national groups.

“Why are these groups keeping their donations a secret?” said Katy Atkinson, spokeswoman for “Vote Yes on C&D.”

“It’s because they don’t want Coloradans to know that their donors are from out of state.”

The organizations maintain they have done nothing wrong.

“Our lawyer has informed us that we are in full compliance with Colorado law,” said Beth Skinner, executive director of Colorado FreedomWorks.

Gregory Gandy, treasurer for the Colorado Club for Growth, said his organization filed its campaign finance report last month with the secretary of state.

“We reported everything we were required to report,” he said.

But Atkinson said the expense reports don’t mention a May poll on Ref C conducted at the request of the Colorado Club for Growth by the Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

Earlier, Ref C supporters filed a similar complaint against the Independence Institute, a metro-based think tank.

President Jon Caldara has repeatedly said the Independence Institute, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is allowed to fulfill its educational mission. The group, he said, is educating the public about Referendum C and thus isn’t required to list its donors.

Ref C would allow the state for the next five years to keep surplus tax money that otherwise would have to be refunded to taxpayers. A companion measure, Referendum D, would allow the state to borrow against the estimated $3.7 billion to start construction on transportation and other projects.