Session Nets Heavy Spending

Some might view $26,000 as a yearly salary. For other corporate entities, it’s the cost of gaining influence in politics.

According to lobbyist disclosures through the end of April, companies like Xcel Energy and Qwest spent significant amounts of cash for representation at the state capitol during the most recent session.

When it comes to lobbying the legislature, big business means big business. One example is Comcast, a provider of cable and Internet services in the state, spent nearly $67,000 throughout the four-month session and paid for a total of seven lobbyists, including firm Political Works, LLC.

Xcel Energy also paid for seven lobbyists with more than $112,000. Meanwhile, Qwest spent approximately $70,000 and hired two lobbying firms-Phase Line Strategies and Colorado Communique-to help out.

Not to be outdone, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association spent almost $27,000 on lobbying with Colorado Legislative Services, LLC.

Powerful entities obviously have more financial resources at their disposal than average members of the public, and even most advocacy groups can’t afford thousands of dollars a month.

With such political maneuvering, can citizens be expected to compete on the issues that are important to them?

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