Swing State Confidential: Colorado–Disclosure Lacking


Denver, Colorado…Two kinds of non-disclosure popped up in my half hour of TV news viewing this morning in Denver, ground zero for this year’s outside spending spree on political ads. One was an issue ad by the Chamber of Commerce, which famously does not disclose its donors; the other was an issue ad by American Action Network, which not only does not disclose its donors, but also has yet to report its spending in Colorado to the Federal Election Commission.

(Edited to add: As of October 27, the American Action Network’s (AAN) spending in Colorado now show up on FEC reports: $725,000 dated October 12. Also on October 27, the Denver Post reported that channel 9 (NBC) is pulling the AAN ad recorded in this diary for false claims.)

Of nine ads viewed in half an hour on channel 7, ABC, two were funded by outside groups, three by party committees, and four by candidates’ campaign funds. Here is what I saw:

8:28 a.m. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) takes one of its many hits on Sen. Michael Bennet. This time the ad says “Bennet is pushing for Obama’s over-reaching agenda.” The Denver Post referred to him with the phrase “not enough spine.” The NRSC has reported spending nearly $4 million on ads opposing Bennet, which is more than Buck has collected for his campaign fund. Sunlight CAM link to ads mentioning Bennet here.

8:41 a.m. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) goes after Ryan Frazier, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter, claiming that in his business dealings he’s helped send jobs overseas. The DCCC has recently started spending in this district, which has recently become competitive, at the expense of helping Rep. Betsy Markey, who is facing off against Cory Gardner. See Sunlight CAM links for Frazier here.

8:42 a.m.  Here’s the issue ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, criticizing Michael Bennet for voting for “Obama-care.” “Bigger government, less choice, more pain.” “Call Michael Bennet and tell him that’s not the kind of change we were looking for.” The Chamber of Commerce has reported spending $1.9 million on the Bennet race; the group does not publicly disclose its donors.

Next up is the American Action Network (AAN), with an issue ad on Perlmutter. A woman appears on a computer screen; she’s skyping her friend. “You have to check out the article I just sent you. Apparently convicted rapists can get Viagra paid for by the new health care bill….Yep. I mean Viagra for rapists? With my tax dollars?” The viewer is asked to call Perlmutter and ask him to repeal the health care bill.  As I reported over here, AAN has yet to disclose its spending in Colorado, and, as a 501(c)4 organization, also does not have to publicly disclose its donors. See AAN ads on Sunlight CAM here.

8:48 a.m. A tried and true ad from the Cory Gardner campaign, which I’ve seen many times before, saying that Markey has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “94 percent of the time.”

8:49 a.m. An ad from the Bennet campaign criticizes Ken Buck for supporting sending jobs overseas.

8:53 a.m. The NRSC repeats its “not enough spine” ad about Bennet. (See: 8:28 a.m.)

8:54 a.m. Another old one from the Markey v. Gardner matchup, an ad from the Markey campaign urging viewer not to listen to the attacks on her. She says she’s got “zero tolerance” for Wall Street bailouts and voted to stop Congressional payraises.

8:58 a.m. Bennet goes for cute with this ad featuring his daughters, who are working on “getting out the vote” for his campaign. They offer to help out an older woman and give her a ride in a wagon.