Colorado Concern, one of the most influential business groups in the state, is no longer talking to the leader of the House Republicans. Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) says he’s been “cut off” by the powerful lobbying group.
Speaking with KNUS radio hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden on August 2, Neville confessed he hasn’t talked to them since last November’s election.
Bonniwell: Who do you talk to over there? [At Colorado Concern] Greg Stevinson? He’s the Treasurer, he’s a Republican, kinda-sorta.
Neville: They [Colorado Concern] have actually cut me off to be honest with you. I really don’t talk to them at all any more. I did when I first took over leadership for about the first year, and then after [Propositions] Y & Z, I haven’t really talked to them since.
Colorado Concern, led by former Republican lawmaker Mike Kopp, is an “exclusive alliance” of over 120 CEOs from around the state. The group ranked third among all entities that lobby at the state capital in campaign contributions last election cycle. The group is bipartisan but its 2018 political giving leaned heavily Republican.
Propositions Y & Z were the 2018 anti-gerrymandering ballot measures reforming Colorado’s federal and state redistricting processes. Both campaigns succeeded by wide margins, thanks in part to support from leadership from both parties, including Neville, as well substantial financial support from a group affiliated with Colorado Concern.
Neville’s admission followed a long discussion about Colorado Concern’s influence and policy goals, specifically the failed negotiations over a possible special session to try to generate more support for Proposition CC. This November Colorado citizens will decide whether or to approve Prop CC, which would allow the state government to retain and spend all of the revenue it collects. The state is currently barred from keeping more than a certain amount (determined by a formula based on inflation plus population growth) of collected tax revenue. The vast majority of all Colorado counties cities and school districts have already passed a local equivalent of Prop CC.
Neville implied that his reluctance to come to the table led Colorado Concern to threaten primaries against his candidates:
Neville: I hear they’re threatening “we’re gonna start getting involved in races, ” Well [they] always do! $400,000 in 2014- they dumped in a ton of money then against all of our candidates.
It’s sad- I was hoping there would be a change when they changed the executive director. It used to be Kelly Brough and she went after all the conservatives and we just cleaned the slate back then and we’ll do it again. Because they might have a lot of money, but we actually have the ideas and the people out there.
So if they want to play this game, I’m game.
Neville later dismissed Colorado Concern’s influence in recent elections, noting that it only gave him $5,000 to $10,000 for house races. He instead praised groups like Right To Work and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners
Colorado Concern president Mike Kopp did not return a call requesting comment.