Vail Resorts donates $25K to help fund inauguration
The Denver Post
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado – Big-name businesses in Colorado have opened their checkbooks to fund the inauguration of Governor-elect John Hickenlooper.
Three companies each have donated $25,000. Another 15 firms and individuals have given $10,000 apiece.
The contributions represent either public-minded gestures of good will or attempts to gain influence with the new governor, depending on who’s talking.
The top donors are energy producer EnCana USA, sandwich maker Quiznos and ski-area operator Vail Resorts.
“As a large employer in the state, we want to see our newly elected officials, such as Governor-elect Hickenlooper, succeed as they transition into leadership,” said EnCana spokesman Doug Hock.
“It’s important as job creators that we work with our elected officials to ensure the state’s economy recovers from the current downturn and returns to prosperity.”
Yet the corporate donations are troubling to political-reform group Colorado Common Cause.
“People make contributions for a reason. It’s a way to curry favor with the incoming leadership,” said Jenny Flanagan, executive director of the group. “Time and again Colorado voters have made it clear they want to limit the influence of big money in government.”
Major donors receive up to 10 tickets for Tuesday’s inaugural dinner and dance at the Fillmore Auditorium, followed by a concert at the Ogden Theater.
Sponsors also receive free parking at the events and seating at various inauguration-day activities.
Individual citizens pay $100 for the dinner and $75 for the concert.
Donations of $500 or more to the inaugural events totaled $225,700 through Friday, or about 57 percent of the entire $395,000 raised from sponsors and individual ticket sales.
Inaugural committee spokesman Ben Davis said major corporate and individual donors will receive no preferential treatment from Hickenlooper.
“Our sponsors know John listens to all citizens, organizations, and businesses in our state,” he said.