Saturday, April 21, I attended the BoCo Dems candidate forum for Colorado’s second congressional district candidates Joe Neguse and Mark Williams. Attendees were asked to write and submit questions. That said, the moderator already had a typed list of questions, and she read from her prepared list. Audience members submitted written questions that were never asked, begging the question: What was the point other than to give the appearance of public input while stopping any pointed, uncomfortable-for-the-candidates questions?
My question, never asked, requested that Mr. Neguse explain his contributions from PACs ($400,000-plus to date) and from lawyers and partners at a who’s who of law firms representing the oil and gas industry. I asked what access these contributors think they are buying and how CD2 residents, facing an onslaught of neighborhood and Open Space drilling, should understand the influence of money in his campaign.
Mr. Neguse’s lawyer/contributors are partners and attorneys of law firms very familiar to communities sued by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA). The most well-known firm, Brownstein/Hyatt, represented COGA against citizen initiatives passed in Lafayette, Longmont and Fort Collins. Another, Polsinelli, represents Extraction Oil & Gas in recent civil suits against nonviolent protestors, a videographer and a legal observer at a recent protest at Bella Romero school in Greeley. The list goes on: Beatty and Wozniak, Patton Boggs, Holland & Hart, Snell & Wilmer, and more.
Mr. Neguse said climate change is an “existential threat.” Apparently not when it comes to his campaign contributions.
Many Boulder County electeds have endorsed Mr. Neguse, including County Commissioners Jones, Gardner and Domenico, Lafayette’s mayor Christine Berg, Lafayette Councilor Jamie Harkins, state Senator Matt Jones, state Rep Mike Foote, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones and several Boulder City Councilors. Do these endorsers know about Mr. Neguses’s campaign contributors and their employers? Or do they just not care?
Local families care. They don’t want double-talk about climate change and clean air; they don’t want oil and gas money in Front Range races — either directly or indirectly — and they don’t want wells in their communities.
Merrily Mazza is a member of the Lafayette City Council.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.