AGNC + NCA = Super PAC

Researched and compiled by Anita Sherman and Peggy Tibbetts

Mike Samson chairs the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC), a group that meets monthly to create and lobby collectively for legislation without the public. AGNC is a Colorado government agency de facto, originally created in the 1960’s to be a lobbying collective to expand mineral extraction development in rural northwest counties. Now, it’s just one of many groups that have found a corporate loop hole in our democratic process, and moving to the far partisan right, promoting special interests in the Western Slope, and nationally. AGNC is being used to promote ALEC-modeled legislation at the State level; lobbying legislative support and creating public policy behind closed doors with public funds.

Garfield County is the #1 and highest dues-paying member — over $24,000 — supporting other counties and municipalities that can’t afford the high membership price tag, so AGNC can stay afloat.

Scott McInnis, AGNC’s executive director, is currently touring New Castle, Silt, and Rifle, with his good friend, Commissioner Mike Samson to rally municipal members for AGNC. Imagine your city spending up to $3500 to join a politically partisan, ALEC-modeled group, hitting your wallet twice at the county and municipal level, to promote policy and politicos you don’t support. Where is the public voice in that process?

Last month AGNC made a public statement that the 5-county group does not support Sen. Michael Bennet’s Thompson Divide Withdrawal Act.

AGNC and Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association (WSCOGA) have used their “membership” dues to help create groups like Northwest Colorado Alliance (NCA), lobbying groups masquerading as 501(c)(4) non-profits that are being used exclusively as electioneering arms for the Republicans candidates and incumbents.

NCA has a Grand Junction address, but the registration in TRACER lists John Zakhem, a registered Republican from Denver, as forming NCA. Last week during a pre-debate panel discussion in Denver, Colorado Republican Party attorney John Zakhem and Republican Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler “emerged as the de facto defenders of the [Citizens United] decision that equated money with political speech.”

In order to contact NCA one must fill out an email form. The website lists no phone number, or direct contact info. They were formed in July with no information about expenditures.

Samson is very generous with county funds he claims to steward responsibly. But who do Samson and AGNC really serve?

Included below are links to blatant propaganda ads promoting Republican GarCo Commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovksy.

Air quality mailer – This one is especially repugnant. Check out the photos. By protecting air quality, evidently they mean in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Air Quality mailer flip side

Champions of water?? – Yessiree Bob, hanging onto those water rights for the oil & gas companies.

Debt free mailer – Breaking all past records, Garfield County had 701 residential and commercial property foreclosure filings in 2011, 644 foreclosures in 2010, and 408 in 2009.  County coffers may be overflowing but citizens and businesses are drowning in debt.

Debt free mailer flip side

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