In a confidential internal memorandum obtained by Face The State (PDF), the Colorado Democracy Alliance outlines a roster of “operatives” who worked for Democratic victory in the 2006 general election. The document outlines specific tasks for various members of the state’s liberal infrastructure, including a campaign to “educate the idiots,” assigned to the state’s AFL-CIO union. Among the operation’s intended targets: “minorities, GED’s, drop-outs.”
Individuals named in the document, marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” “for internal use only,” and “DO NOT DISTRIBUTE,” are high-level elected Democrats including House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, as well as Gov. Bill Ritter‘s press aide and former campaign chief Evan Dreyer. All are specially marked as “off-the-record or covert.”
Mentioned as a “critical contact” was Dominic DelPapa, a partner at Ikon Public Affairs. DelPapa was at the center of recent controversy stemming from the February leak of a confidential memo he authored detailing a multi-million dollar “foot on throat” attack on Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, among others.
CoDA is one of 18 state-based versions of the nationally focused Democracy Alliance, a self-described “investment partnership of business and philanthropic leaders” funding liberal infrastructure nationwide. For more information about the Democracy Alliance in Colorado, see day one and two of Face The State’s week-long series on the group.
In a podcast released by the DNC Host Committee Tuesday, national Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein explains the need for large, secretive donor networks. “We do not have the infrastructure that the right has built, yet,” he said. “But there has never in the history of progressivedom (sic) been a clearer, more strategic, more focused, more disciplined, better financed group of institutions operating at the state and national level.”
In the same podcast, Laurie Hirschfeld Zeller, the newly installed executive director of CoDA, explains her organization’s mission. “Our job is to build a long-term progressive infrastructure in Colorado while we’re conceding nothing in the short term in terms of progressive goals at the ballot box.”
Zeller had high praise for the state’s liberal establishment, specifically naming America Votes, New Era Colorado, Progressive Majority, the Latina Initiative, and ProgressNow as partners in CoDA’s coalition building efforts. “CoDA works with all these organizations,” she said.
The Bell Policy Center, a liberal think tank that regularly plays host to CoDA board meetings, was praised for its work fighting to dismantle Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. She characterized Colorado’s constitutional requirement for voter approval of tax increases as “arcane.”
According to Zeller, CoDA operates “in a structure that provides privacy to members.” Under current law, this structure is as a taxable non-profit organization that allows individual donors to give anonymously to shared causes. She described the structure as a “fiscal irrigation system” designed to “provide a harvest later this fall.”
Stein, the DA founder, said state groups like CoDA have fired “a warning shot to conservatives in America.”
“Conservatives have nothing comparable to possibly compete with it, and they better watch out,” he said. Colorado was chosen as a test case for exporting DA’s national model, due in part to the “significant wealth” of liberal donors living here.
“It’s not just individual donors,” Zeller said of CoDA’s financial underwriting. “One of the things that has been crucial in making the work of the Colorado Democracy Alliance effective in Colorado has been our partnership with institutional donors and activist organizations in labor, particularly,” she said. “That’s been a major part of how we get our work done here.”
According to Zeller, CoDA’s giving is concentrated in five general funding categories: leadership development, communications, “research and ideas,” “civic engagement” and “constituency development.”
“We embrace the ‘progressive’ label in our giving and the strategic role we play in Colorado politics,” she said.
Despite sweeping gains for political liberals both in Colorado and nationally, Stein believes his coalition can do a better job of communicating with voters.
“It feels scary, because we don’t have the message down right,” he said. “[But] We’re being more businesslike – we’re being more professional.”
Can you believe these people? IF the main-stream media would have some balls and report this – man, the shit would fly.