COVER STORY YEAR IN REVIEW Jena Griswold (copy)

Newly elected Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold addresses the election-night watch party for Colorado Democrats at the Westin Hotel in downtown Denver on Nov. 6, 2018.

Nearly $3 million has flowed into near-anonymous advocacy for and against Proposition CC, the statewide measure to eliminate refunds under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

The Colorado Sun found that three nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors contributed $1.4 million to Coloradans for Prosperity, the registered issue committee backing CC. 

Nonprofits that fund initiative campaigns do not fall under the disclosure requirements of the Clean Campaign Act, enacted this past legislative session. The bill, House Bill 19-1318, only instituted such requirements for candidate campaigns..

“Transparency is the ultimate goal,” said Sen. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette), one of the sponsors. “We made some good first steps, but we still have more work to do.”

During the legislative session, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said that “right now in Colorado, a $50 contribution to a candidate is more transparent than a $50,000 contribution to Colorado’s version of a SuperPAC. It’s time to put democracy back in the hands of everyday Coloradans.”

Yet The Sun found that one nonprofit group, Defend Colorado, is funding ads against Proposition CC. Those ads feature former Republican Gov. Bill Owens, who had advocated for a measure similar to Prop CC back in 2005. A spokesperson said that the money for advertising “comes from private donors” without elaboration.

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