by Chet Hardin
It appears that the grassroots effort to recall Sen. John Morse has attracted some monied supporters.
We recently wrote about the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, the organization behind the statewide effort to recall a number of Democratic legislators in response to their votes on the gun bills, as well as the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, its local offshoot. At that time, it appeared that the activists behind both had very little in the way of outside support.
Now, according to ColoradoPols, that seems to have changed. "One of the most prominent (and ethically questionable) petition signature gathering firms in Colorado, Kennedy Enterprises, has been hired to take over petition drives for some or all of the recall campaigns presently underway."
Pols goes into some detail about Kennedy, which is located here in the Springs, noting: "In 2010, Kennedy conducted the paid petition gathering campaign on behalf of the "Bad Three" anti-tax initiatives, Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101."
Plus, someone leaked video of a signature-gathering training session. It is clear from this video that Morse is the target.
Now that Kennedy appears to be involved, any notion that this effort to recall Morse is just a group of grassroots activists hitting the streets to flex their democratic muscle needs to be dismissed. It might have started that way, but professional signature-gathers don't come cheap.
As an example of the kind of money we are talking about (and the tactics Kennedy is willing to employ): According to a 2007 document, in a pitch to Colorado AFL-CIO, Kennedy proposed "to insure that the 'Right to Work' initiative does not qualify for the Colorado Ballot in the 2008 general election."
For $2 million, Kennedy would essentially corner the market by buying up all the professional signature-gatherers in the state and having them sign a contract with a clause stipulating that "they cannot circulate the Right to Work initiative."
Of course, the AFL-CIO didn't want to see the Right to Work initiative succeed (and it didn't), but according to sources the union didn't take Kennedy up on this proposal.
See it by downloading this PDF: