Drilling company exec donates $20K to support GOP Garfield County commissioner candidates | PostIndependent.com

Drilling company exec donates $20K to support GOP Garfield County commissioner candidates

Phillip Yates Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The chairman and chief executive officer of a company drilling in the area helped fund television and radio ads in support of two Republican Garfield County commissioner candidates.Paul Rady, who is chairman of Denver-based Antero Resources Corp., said this week that he was the one who gave the money to Western Heritage, a recently created 527 political organization. That group later spent $10,000 on a media campaign to support Republican candidates John Martin, a three-term incumbent, and Mike Samson, Rifle High School’s dean of students. Candidates have no control over 527 groups, which are formed to advocate for or against candidates and are named after a section of IRS code that grants them tax-exempt status.”I made the $20,000 donation personally to Western Heritage to support the Republican candidates because I believe in our candidates and their vision for the communities of Garfield County,” Rady said. “I believe that they will lead Garfield County toward greater prosperity in these very challenging economic times. Natural gas development provides jobs and greatly helps local communities.”Martin is battling Stephen Bershenyi, a Carbondale blacksmith/artist, while Samson faces off against Steve Carter, a Rifle attorney and former county judge. While the candidates compete in districts, all voters in the county have a voice in each race. Antero’s drilling operations in Garfield County are concentrated around the Silt-Rifle area, he said. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the body that regulates the oil and gas industry in the state, has issued the company about 150 drilling permits for wells in Garfield County this year, according to agency records. The company has 73 more permits pending with the COGCC.

State records of Rady’s $20,000 donation indicated he was chairman of Orion Energy. But both Rady and company officials with Orion Energy Partners, which recently completed drilling in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area, said they have no connection with each other. He said that mistaken connection was probably because of a clerical error by Western Heritage. Western Way, a political action committee (PAC) formed to support a future candidacy of former Colorado Republican congressman Scott McInnis, a Glenwood Springs native, also contributed $10,000 to Western Heritage. McInnis’ district included Garfield County.Rady has contributed about $2,000 to Republican state candidate campaigns this year, state records show. Those contributions have gone to Shawn Mitchell, who is running for Senate District 23; Bob McCluskey who is running for House District 52; John Hadfield, who is running for Senate District 25; and Lizzy Szabo, who is running for Senate District 19.Federal election records show that Rady has contributed about $148,500 to national Republican candidates and causes since 2004. He has given $50,000 to the Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee since 2005, $25,750 to the Republican National Committee in 2004, along with an additional $4,500 to the Swift Boat Vets and POWS for Truth in late 2004. That 527 political organization launched attacks on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.Rady said he has personally given to a number of causes that he believes “are right for western Colorado.” He said the petroleum geology program at Western State College in Gunnison was started with a $1 million dollar gift from him in 2002. “Western has turned out a large number of young graduates who are on their way to outstanding careers in our industry,” Rady said. “This is another example of how we can make western Colorado better and more prosperous, with more opportunity for everybody, by investing in it.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117 pyates@postindependent.com

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