Not Exactly Desperate Housewives

If you read last week’s Denver Post story on fundraising in the 7th Congressional District, you learned that Rick O’Donnell is very popular with homemakers, who make up nearly 12 percent of his individual contributions.What the Post neglected to report is that most of these women are no ordinary homemakers. They are woman such as Nancy Anschutz, Christine Monfort, and Mary Osborne, who are married to very wealthy businessmen who have more than a personal interest in who is elected-they also have a financial one.

According to analysis of data supplied by the Center for Responsive Politics, many of these women “maxed out,” to the would-be Congressman, giving $4,200 ($2,100 for the primary, $2,100 for the general election), while their hubbies did the same. Often contributions were sent on the same day from the husband’s business, not home, address. A few of the men also gave contributions in excess of the legal limit.

It is not illegal for several members of a family to each contribute to a political campaign. But it is yet another way that the wealthy play the campaign finance game to maximize their clout in a way that ordinary people can’t afford. It’s an open secret in Washington that money buys access. That access is worth plenty when there is a piece of legislation before Congress that affects your bottom line.

Here is a list of some of O’Donnell’s not-so-desperate housewife donors:

Nancy Anschutz, wife of Phil Anschutz, former chairman of Qwest gave $1,000, hubby Phil gave O’Donnell $2,000.

Ellen Armstrong is wife to former Senator William Armstrong, who recently was asked to become president of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. William is also chairman of Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, Greenwood Capital, both mortgage banking firms, and Blueberry Systems, a software development company.
Ellen gave a total of $4,100. Her better half contributed $4,100 as well.

Nancy Bauman and her husband Mark each gave the maximum permitted, $4,200. Mark is retired president of Starz Encore.

Sharna Coors is wife of John, Pete’s brother. John is president of CoorsTek Inc., a technical ceramics manufacturer. The couple are also founders of Community Uplift Ministries, a Christian group doing work in Africa. Sharna contributed $2,100; John, $5,100 (more than the legal limit).

Christine Monfort maxed out to O’Donnell, contributing $4,200. Her husband, Dick, an executive with the Rockies and a cattleman, also gave $4,200.

Mary Osborne, wife of John, Village Homes CEO, gave O’Donnell $4,200. John gave $5,200, more than the legal limit.

Margaret Reisher is wife of Roger, founder of FirstBank, who last year lobbied Congress to preserve a charitable loophole that helped him save big on taxes while protecting his company from a takeover. Margaret gave $4,200; Roger, $8,400, more than the legal limit.

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About the Author

Nancy Watzman

is a Denver-based writer.

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