The Trailhead Treads On

Sure the 2006 elections are over and things didn’t go so well for the much-ballyhooed 527, Trailhead Group. In fact, the Denver Post even reported the group’s demise.

Not so fast.

According to recent IRS filings, Trailhead is still raking in the cash — $141,800 in the first six months of this year. And they’re still spending it, though not on necessarily the same people (read: Alan Philp).

Read more after the jump…Who’s kicked in the cash? Well, Pete Coors for a $25,000 starter. Bruce Benson’s Benson Mineral Group for $10,000, along with several others.

Where’s it going? Not to Philp, who according to the PDF of Trailhead’s 990 tax filing for 2005 earned $140,000 a year. Based on bi-monthly payroll expenses of $2,962, no one’s raking in that much cash this time around. (David Flaherty is listed as the record custodian on this PDF of the group’s midyear filing for 2007.)

Instead, more than half the cash flowed to Progress Colorado, another 527 working on statewide races.

According to electioneering reports filed with the Secretary of State in February, Progress Colorado spent almost $793,000 in the last month of the 2006 campaign for direct mail, voter turnout and media ads. That included $137,000 in radio ads opposing now-Gov. Bill Ritter.

Much of that cash came from Trailhead, IRS reports indicate.

But let’s put the 2006 failures of Trailhead/Progress Colorado in the past. 2008 is the future.

In the first half of the year, Progress Colorado spent $61,670 on direct mail. (See the PDF of their report here.) Because the election is not at all close, they don’t have to file electioneering reports saying what candidates the mailings dealt with.

If you’ve got some clues, let us know! We’ll be keeping tabs…

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About the Author

Sandra Fish

has covered government and politics in Iowa, Florida, Colorado - swing states, baby! She has worked for newspapers large and small. | @fishnette

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