Take a look inside the Dylan Roberts money machine (letter) | VailDaily.com

Take a look inside the Dylan Roberts money machine (letter)

In the 1976 movie "All the President's Men," one of its most famous lines was "follow the money." When it comes to political campaigns, that line is as true today as it was then.

Two basic reasons guide donations to political campaigns. One is to buy favor — someone wants something for the contribution. This, of course, happens, although we don't believe that most candidates or office holders are so easily bought. The second is to support a person you already know will support your ideals, beliefs or interests. This kind of support is both smart and ethical. Campaigns are not cheap, and all candidates need to raise money.

Nearly everyone who watches television has no doubt seen the ads touting lawyer Frank Azar, the self-described "Strong Arm." Would it surprise you to learn that Frank Azar and his wife have each contributed the maximum allowable under Colorado law to support Dylan Roberts? After all, Dylan Roberts is quick to remind voters he is one their side. But is he?

A quick review of Mr. Azar's law firm's website shows one of its specialties is going after drug and medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical litigation and drug product liability. Most independent research has shown that the proliferation of lawsuits against the health care profession is among the most significant drivers of increased health care costs over the past 25 years, particularly as seen in the growth of defensive medicine and excess medical testing.

Dylan Roberts' claim that he will drive down health care costs sure seems at odds with those supporters who profit from rising costs. The next time I ask myself why my health insurance premium keeps going up and up, why my deductibles have skyrocketed and why so many providers demand cash upfront before treatment, I need to look no further than Mr. Roberts' funding list.

Indeed, the Azars are not the only tort interests in the Roberts camp. Michael Sawaya, one of Mr. Azar's competitors in the litigation arena, has common ground with Mr. Azar when it comes to Dylan Roberts. He is also a maximum individual contributor. And among all of Roberts contributors, his second largest PAC donor is the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association ($2,000, behind the Public Education Committee at $2,425 and tied with the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Small Donor Fund).

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Do these interests write checks to Dylan Roberts because he promises to oppose their interests? These are not dumb people. They do things for a reason. And if their interests are not your interests, which side is Mr. Roberts actually on?

This picture is part of a larger pattern in the Roberts campaign. More than 65 percent of his contributions come from outside our district. And of those, 17 percent come from outside the state. When someone or some political action committee from California or New York or Washington, D.C., writes Roberts a check, are they weighing how well he will represent voters in our district or how well he will represent their views? The question begs an obvious answer.

John Rosenfeld

Minturn