Chris Gates to head national watchdog group

Chris Gates, former chairman of Colorado’s Democratic Party, has been named president of the Sunlight Foundation.

The D.C.-based non-partisan, non-profit advocates for open government and accountability among public officials, largely by publishing reports and making available databases that track ties between money and power. Nancy Watzman, Sunlight’s Denver-based consultant, contributes occasionally to The Colorado Independent’s coverage of campaign finance issues.

In 2005, Gates lost his chairmanship of the state party in a bitter dust-up after having tried to convince 13 of the state’s 63 delegates to the 2004 Democratic National Convention to switch their votes from liberal presidential contender Dennis Kucinich to John Kerry. At the time, Gates said he was facing “tremendous pressure” to ensure Colorado’s delegates were unanimous in their nominating vote.

Gates went on to lead the National Civic League, a group working to push democratic participation in communities throughout the country. Most recently, he has led the Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE).

[Photo from NCOC.]