Jared Polis is taking big money from private donors to fund key positions in Colorado governor’s office | CraigDailyPress.com
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Jared Polis is taking big money from private donors to fund key positions in Colorado governor’s office

The work covered by private gifts and grants include the Colorado governor’s top issues -- climate change, immigration and early childhood

John Frank / Colorado Sun
Gov. Jared Polis delivers his big idea pitch about a state-level public option health insurance to the audience at The Colorado Sun's Big Ideas 2020 Forum at the Cable Center on the University of Denver campus on Jan. 14, 2020.
Eric Lubbers / Colorado Sun

To deliver on his campaign promises and policy priorities, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is relying on wealthy donors and major advocacy organizations to pay the bill.

The Democratic governor is accepting more than $1 million from donors, nonprofits and foundations to pay salaries and costs associated with six top policy positions, according to a review of financial records and other documents by The Colorado Sun in partnership with CBS4 Denver.

The governor’s special adviser on climate change — tasked with moving Colorado to 100% renewable energy and hitting pollution reduction targets — is funded through the U.S. Climate Alliance with money from a foundation backed by the grandson of Walmart’s founder. 

His special adviser on immigrants and refugees is paid with money from the Emerson Collective, a social impact firm led by the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. 

The office’s special adviser on early childhood is funded by two other foundations that are leading advocates on the issue.

The three other donor-backed positions focus on economic stability, an aging population and people with disabilities, and additional donations pay for various projects and initiatives.

Taken together, private dollars are driving many of the Polis administration’s top priorities in the first 18 months of his term — all without disclosure to the public until now.

The donations operate outside the state budget with limited oversight and transparency, and continue a pattern from previous governors. At least three of the grants accepted by the governor’s office include confidentiality clauses that limit the information available, according to documents obtained by The Sun. And four donors funneled money for the grants through other organizations, hiding the true source.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.


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