As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports today, newly filed spending disclosures reveal over $55,000 from a "Colorado Springs-based" (as characterized in most media reports) 501(c)(4) organization called I Am Created Equal to fund a paid petition drive to place a recall of Senate President John Morse on the ballot sometime later this year:
The organization, I Am Created Equal, bankrolled the organizers of an effort to recall Morse, a Democrat, with about $42,500 in May. That’s up from the $14,000 the organization supplied The El Paso Freedom Defense Committee — the group spearheading the Morse recall for his support of stricter Colorado gun laws — in April.
Much of this money has gone toward paying petitioners to gather 7,178 signatures ahead of Monday’s deadline. The group submitted more than double that figure Monday and is confident the secretary of state’s office in the next week will verify the signatures and in turn spark a recall election that could come as soon as September.
As a "501(c)(4)" organization under the tax code, I Am Created Equal is not required to disclose its donors. We had always suspected that the total amount required for this petition drive would be much higher than the $14,000 already reported, but we are perhaps a little surprised that the donations weren't spread out among a few organizations–or something to make this one nonprofit group, I Am Created Equal, less than solely responsible for getting this recall successfully to the ballot as they apparently have.
Because based on publicly available records, I Am Created Equal is anything but "grassroots."
I Am Created Equal, like so many shady Republican-leaning interest groups in Colorado today, was incorporated via the Hackstaff Law Group, 1601 Blake Street, Denver. Here's the nonprofit Articles of Incorporation for the group, including the representation agreement from none other than our good friend Mario Nicolais!
And here is the "advisory board" for Carno's "grassroots conservative women's" organization:
From left, that's former Republican National Committee member Mark Hillman, longtime GOP campaign operative Shari Williams, and failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. We'll give them credit for including at least one woman among the three members of this "women's group's" advisory board, but there's nothing "grassroots" about Shari Williams.
And folks, to suggest Mark Hillman, or especially "Both Ways" Bob Beauprez are "grassroots" figures is a joke. Beauprez's connection to this recall effort could be a particularly interesting side-story to this recall if he, as has been widely speculated, makes a run for the U.S. Senate next year against Mark Udall.
However it plays out, make no mistake–far from a "grassroots" movement, the same GOP usual suspects we've been writing about in this space for years have purchased this recall election against John Morse.