527 spending money to support Samson, Martin | PostIndependent.com
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527 spending money to support Samson, Martin

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Western Heritage, a 527 political action group, is spending thousands of dollars on a media campaign that includes television and radio ads in support of Republican Garfield County commissioner candidates John Martin and Mike Samson, state records and interviews show.

Most of the money the 527 group currently has comes from Paul Randy, who lists an address out of Palisade and is the chairman of Orion Energy, according to state campaign records.

However, Randy and his business have no connection to Orion Energy Partners, which recently completed drilling in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area, according to officials with that Denver-based company. It wasn’t exactly clear late Friday what exact business Randy’s Orion Energy conducts.



Western Way, a political action committee (PAC) to support former Colorado Republican congressman Scott McInnis, who was born in Glenwood Springs, also has contributed to Western Heritage. McInnis’ district included Garfield County.

State campaign finance records shows that Randy contributed $20,000 to Western Heritage on Oct. 3. McInnis’ Western Way gave $10,000 to the 527 organization on Sept. 29. The 527 group is one of the thousands that are organized to advocate for or criticize certain candidates, and are named after a section of the IRS code that gives them tax-exempt status.



Western Heritage has paid $10,000 to Glenwood Springs-based Tindall Marketing on Oct. 8 to help pay for “television voter contact” for Samson and Martin, state records show.

Michael Hesse, who has a mailing address of Denver and who state records indicates is the contact person for Western Heritage, did not respond to a call for comment about the group.

Samson, who is running against Democrat Steve Carter in the District 3 race, said he has no involvement or connection to Western Heritage and he only heard of it when he listened to local radio spots that apparently have McInnis endorsing Martin.

“People have told me that there is supposedly an ad out there for me, too,” said Samson, adding he hadn’t heard of Randy, the man who has put $20,000 into Western Heritage. “But I have never heard it.”

Martin, who is running against Democrat Stephen Bershenyi in the District 3 race, said on Friday that he too hadn’t heard of Western Heritage, and that he had no involvement with the group or radio and television ads that support him.

Martin added that he knows McInnis, but has had limited connection with the former congressman except for his time they spent together working on various issues and during other fleeting times in the past. He pointed out that Bershenyi has received direct contributions from political groups, like the Colorado Conservation Voter Action Fund, which has contributed about $1,000 to Bershenyi’s campaign, state records show.

Bershenyi said he has a completely open campaign and that the Colorado Conservation Voter Action Fund only contributed a total of $1,250 to his campaign coffers, out of the almost $25,000 he has raised this year. Most of that money has come from individual contributions of area residents, he said.

“We are looking at really an indication of how important this race is for Garfield County residents,” Bershenyi said of Western Heritage’s ad buy. “We are looking at an attempt to influence this campaign from outside of Garfield County.”

Carter said it was amazing to him that any 527 group would want to get involved in this year’s Garfield County commissioner race. He said there are even rumors flying around that a group is spending close to $100,000 for advertising in the race ” a rumor he said was “patently ridiculous.”

Earlier in the campaign, the Colorado League of Taxpayers spent thousands of dollars on a mailer targeting Carter. It accused him of being a “Boulder liberal,” even though he has lived in Garfield County for more than 37 years. Samson, Carter’s opponent, called the mailer a “smear.”

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117

pyates@postindependent.com


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