Education Group Gets State Funds & Lobbies for More Spending

The Colorado Children’s Campaign (CCC), which bills itself as a privately funded political nonprofit, has received over $100,000 from the state government in recent years, including thousands of dollars from the Office of Governor John Hickenlooper. The CCC was also the organization that partnered with state Senator Mike Johnston (D-Denver) to co-author the liberally-backed School Finance Act, Colorado’s 2013 education overhaul that comes with a $1 billion price tag for Colorado taxpayers.

CCC claims explicitly that its campaign “is an independent, privately funded organization that does not benefit financially from any of the programs for which we advocate.” According Colorado’s latest governmental finance data however, the CCC received $128,889 in public funding in recent years via Colorado taxpayers in order to fund its liberal leaning educational campaigns, like Senator Johnston’s current school finance legislation.

Nearly $50,000 of CCC’s public funding came directly from the Office of the Governor since 2010, when John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was elected. In addition to receiving funds from political offices, the CCC has already been paid $30,000 by the state Department of Education billed as “professional services.” The Colorado Department of Human Services even awarded CCC with a direct grant in 2009.

Though political nonprofits like CCC are required to compile annual reports and usually make them publicly available on their websites, CCC only has one annual report on file, for the year 2010. Under the “donors” tab on CCC’s website, 2010 is also the only year where the organization chose to disclose the financial backers of its effort. The “State of Colorado” is actually listed on this 2010 donor list, but only in the $2,500-$5,000 contribution range. In comparison, the Transparency Online Project lists $46,987 in state monies allocated to CCC by the state that year.

Nearly all of the CCC’s board members and staff are registered Democrats with a lengthy list of individually financing Democratic campaigns and personally contributing to liberal causes. In a mutually beneficial exchange, several CCC leaders gave to Governor Hickenlooper’s campaign and many gave in Democratic legislative races. The Democrats for Education Reform Small Donor Committee has also received funds from the CCC’s Vice President of Education Initiative, Reilly Pharo.

In tandem with its public funding, financial support from, and giving to the Colorado Left, the CCC has shown a theme of supporting liberal education in its policies as well. Usually these initiatives, bills, ballot measures, and educational campaigns also involve drastic tax increases in order to adequately foot the bill. In recent years, CCC has led campaigns such as Yes on 23, Safe Colorado, and Citizens for a Healthier Colorado.

In its latest move, CCC has now hit the road with Senator Mike Johnston, helping to push an expensive school overhaul for the state of Colorado. CCC’s website outlines Johnston’s School Finance Act and highlights the importance of public and political support for it. The Colorado Children’s Campaign has also hired a lobbyist to specifically advocate for Johnston’s bill in the General Assembly.

A Douglas County school board member, Kevin Larson, recently spoke about the School Finance Act stating that the money will not go directly to school children, but to the educators and teachers unions. So far, the School Finance Act has been passed through the House and Senate Appropriations committee with amendments and will eventually reach the floor for a full vote from the House and Senate.

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