Homebuilder advocates gave at least $16,200 to Mayor Michael Hancock’s reelection campaign, states a report Ethics Watch released today. This is a hike in industry contributions for a mayor with no funded opponents – especially considering homebuilder advocates gave him just $5,000 in his 2011 campaign when he faced opposition.
Ethics Watch Colorado suspects the campaign donations swayed Hancock to show up to the Statehouse and promote the homebuilder-supported construction-defects bill.
“This is an example of how big money drives down from the national level to the state level to the local level,” said Luis Toro at Ethics Watch. “In the case of the battle over home building, both sides have done work to influence the state legislature. Homebuilders have done more, and that’s one thing, but unlike the opponents of construction-defect reform, the homebuilders have been cultivating municipal relationships.”
Hancock campaign manager Jake Marin insists the homebuilder-advocates’ contributions have nothing to do with the Mayor’s advocacy.
“Campaign contributions do not influence Mayor Hancock’s policymaking decisions and never will. The mayor has advocated for a change in the state’s construction-defect laws for years because he sees firsthand how the status quo is hindering cities like Denver from creating diverse, accessible and affordable housing options for all of the new residents and workers moving to Colorado.”
Homebuilder advocates spent $158,000 in direct contributions to state-level candidates and political committees of both parties during 2014.
The Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, the monied players opposing construction-defects reform, also participated in that election. Ethics Watch tallies their spending at $69,200.
Both the homebuilders and trial lawyers spent most heavily on lawmakers from urban areas like Denver, Aurora and Colorado Springs.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s re-election campaign also saw money from both the builders and trial lawyers.
Hickenlooper has yet to weigh-in on the specific, evolving bill but has expressed general support for construction-defects reform saying there “will be consequences” if Denver doesn’t find a way to build more condos.
You can read the full report here.
Still from Mayor Hancock’s campaign announcement.