Trailhead-Linked Group Sends Inaccurate Mail to Voters

  “The future of our state is at stake,” says Governor Bill Owens in a letter sent to a Broomfield resident. “You must make sure your voice is heard on critical issues like illegal immigration, controlling spending and improving education.”

The mail encourages the recipient to vote early and includes a list of nearby voting locations.

But this message wasn’t brought to you by the Trailhead Group. Instead, it came from a nonprofit corporation funded by the Trailhead Group.In today’s Denver Post there is a story on the Colorado Good Government Initiative (CGGI), the nonprofit that shares an address with Trailhead:

A Republican campaign group has started a nonprofit to fund get-out-the-vote activities and is raising liberal eyebrows because it does not have to report its donors or expenditures before next week’s election.

The Trailhead Group – a GOP campaign operation founded by Gov. Bill Owens, oilman Bruce Benson and beerman Pete Coors – has funded the nonprofit, the Colorado Good Government Initiative, to encourage Republican- leaning voters to cast a ballot.

The work of a Republican consultant for Trailhead and the state Republican Party has a leading Democratic lawyer questioning whether the groups are sharing information that is worth more than campaign contribution limits allow.

In September, Colorado Confidential reported on CGGI, the money it received from Trailhead, and its curious registration with the Secretary of State.

Now, CGGI is sending out literature in an effort to get out the vote, amid criticisms that CGGI is a using its nonprofit status to not disclose funders.

Legally it is unlawful for a nonprofit to lobby for specific ballot issues, although it is not illegal to fund media “educating” voters about a specific measure or voting.

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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