Home > News Articles > Colorado bond companies’ role in school campaigns raises questions

Colorado bond companies’ role in school campaigns raises questions

May 12, 2012

The following news article was published in the Denver Post.

When Colorado citizens vote to borrow money to build new schools, a library or a recreation center, the crusader behind the curtain is often the investment banker who gets paid to sell the bonds.  For those pushing bond issues in a tough economic climate, help from a bond underwriter can mean the difference between election day success and defeat. But the prevalence of bond house involvement — everything from polling to designing yard signs — also raises concerns from critics who worry they exert undue influence in a campaign.  At worst, critics and experts say, governments pay bond companies extra to help pass tax increses, a potential violation of Colorado law.  “It does seem like a backdoor way of using public funds (to finance campaigns),” said Colorado Ethics Watch director Luis Toro. “To say there’s no chance of corruption is totally out of touch.”  The Denver Post analyzed 15 successful Colorado bond campaigns backed by large contributions from investment banks. In every case, the bank that helped finance the campaign sold the bonds.  The Post found that individual school districts took as much as $137,500 from a single bond company, and that in six of the 15 campaigns, bond company donations amounted to a majority or nearly half of all contributions.  By comparison, no person can give more than $1,100 to a Colorado gubernatorial candidate, and corporate gifts to state candidates are forbidden.

Read more: Colorado bond companies’ role in school campaigns raises questions – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20603705/colorado-bond-companies-role-school-campaigns-raises-questions#ixzz1ugXPKCET
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