Colorado Capitol Report

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State Policy News

Amendment 69: the Organizations, People and Money behind ColoradoCare

The most visible person behind Amendment 69 is undoubtedly Colorado State Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver), the physician who sponsored a bill in the 2015 legislative session to create a single-payer health-care system in Colorado.  The bill died.  CACI opposed the measure.

Organizations Backing Amendment 69

In March, an issue committee named ColoradoCareYes was filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.  This will be the main campaign vehicle advocating for the passage of Amendment 69.

It appears that there are two organizations that have laid the groundwork for Amendment 69 and are coordinating support for ColoradoCareYes:

Co-operate Colorado, an IRS 501(c)(4) organization, transferred $39,000 to ColoradoCareYes.  Co-operate Colorado, formed in May 2012, “educates Coloradans about the health care crisis, brings Coloradans together to work for solutions, and advances principles, policies and structures that establish universal and equitable access to affordable, quality health care for all Coloradans.”  As a 501(c)(4), the organization does not have to disclose its contributions.

Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, an IRS 501(c)(3) organization, whose mission is to conduct “research on and educate the public about universal health care in Colorado.”  It will spend 20 percent of its expenditures on advocating for ColoradoCareYes as allowed by IRS rules.

The Money behind ColoradoCareYes

The October 15th filing of ColoradoCareYes listed contributions of about $33,000, expenditures of just over $261,000, and balance of almost $69,000.

Co-operate Colorado transferred $39,000 to ColoradoCareYes because, as a 501(c)(4) organization, it cannot advocate for Amendment 69 once the initiative had qualified for the ballot.

Here are the major, individual contributors:

  • $122,000, Lyn Gullette, Louisville, a psychologist;
  • $69,880, Ivan Miller, Boulder, a psychologist;
  • $34,650, Ralph Ogden, Denver, a retired attorney;
  • $23,025, Eliza Carney, Fort Collins, retired;
  • $21,059, David Beckwith, Westminster, retired;
  • $10,000, Katherine Kohnen, Fort Collins, retired; and
  • $8,125, Dr. Mark Matthews, Littleton, Kaiser Permanente.

Beckwith, Carney, Ogden and Miller are, or were, members of the Board of Co-operate Colorado and Gullette was the executive director.  Beckwith is the registered agent for ColoradoCareYes with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Perhaps the most interesting contributor, however, is T.R Reid, the noted journalist who wrote “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care,” which was published in 2009.

Reid contributed $2,200 to ColoradoCareYes.  He also penned an op-ed, “ColoradoCare is health care for everyone,” that ran in early November in The Denver Post.  Reid is the chairman of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care.

Paying for Gathering Signatures

To gather signatures to qualify a proposed ballot initiative takes money.  Specifically, at least 98,492 valid signatures are needed to place a ballot initiative on the November 2016 ballot.  This represents 5 percent of the votes cast in the last statewide race for Secretary of State.

To that apparent end, ColoradoCareYes paid Kennedy Enterprises LLC, which is located in Colorado Springs, $183,142.88 from July 31st to September 25th.  The company describes itself as “a marketing and consulting firm that has a proven methodology that gets results.”

ColoradoCareYes submitted 158,831 signatures.  Based on a 5 percent sample, the Secretary of State’s Office calculated that 110.8 percent of the needed signatures were valid, thus qualifying the measure for the ballot.

For more information on Amendment 69, read:

Godzilla of All Colorado Ballot Initiatives: $25 Billion Universal Health Care Measure Qualifies for 2016 Ballot,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, November 13th.

You Are Invited to “CACI 101” Luncheon at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, December 8th

Have you ever wondered what CACI Councils are like, but were afraid to ask?  Are you thinking there might be more advantages and opportunities at CACI that you have yet to discover?  Then you should attend our “CACI 101 Luncheon” at the CACI Office.

Come and meet our new members and find out how to get the most out of your dues investment.  The agenda will include meeting the CACI staff, events overview, membership overview, legislative indications for 2016, Policy Council Chairs review and, if we have time, a mock Policy Council meeting!

Space is limited to register today!  For questions call Bonnie Finley at 303.866.9643.