Independence Institute Alumni: Where Are They Now?

The 2005 off-year election in Colorado revolved around  two letters: C and D.

Referendums C and D were made to limit the restrictions of TABOR in the state constitution. And, while the measures enjoyed bipartisan support, their were still vocal critics who believed that TABOR should not be touched.

One of the most vocal groups was the Golden, Colorado based Independence Institute (II), a think tank self-described as having a “free-market, pro-freedom perspective.”

The II is not a new entity however, and many influential people have worked with the group.Including:

  • Gale Norton:

    According to SourceWatch, run by the Center for Media and Democracy, Norton was a Fellow and Board Member at the Institute. She would later become the United States Secretary of the Interior and resign following accusations that her department was influenced by Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist convicted of fraud.

  • Tom Tancredo:

    Currently Tancredo is a Republican representing Colorado’s 6th congressional district, and has been since his first election in 1998. He has also made a name for himself with his controversial positions on immigration and assimilation.

  • During the Referendum C and D election the Institute’s “Vote No It’s Your Dough” campaign sponsored automated telephone calls that told voters budget money would be going to illegal immigrants.

    Tancredo was president of the Independence Institute from 1993 to 1998.

  • John Andrews:
  • Andrews is the founder of II, and was succeeded by Tom Tancredo. He would go on to become state Senate president, before Democrats took both houses. Currently, he is Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute.

  • Mike Rosen:
  • Rosen used to be an institute board member, and now hosts his own conservative radio program on KOA-AM, a Clear Channel station. He is also a columnist for the Rocky Mountain News.

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

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