Non-profit

Colorado Independent

The Colorado Independent logo (link)
Website:

coloradoindependent.com

Location:

DENVER, CO

Tax ID:

46-2634633

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $551,245
Expenses: $443,018
Assets: $156,927

The Colorado Independent is a left-of-center political news website focused on Colorado. The site frames stories and publishes opinion pieces in ways that demonstrate support for liberal expansionist immigration policy including legal status for illegal immigrants, environmentalist initiatives, and gun control. The website was founded by the left-of-center American Independent Institute and is funded by left-wing organizations. [1] [2] The site commonly publishes guest posts from left-wing individuals advocating for liberal policies.

Background

The Colorado Independent was founded in 2006 by the left-wing American Independent Institute (then called the Center for Independent Media). [3] David Brock, a close ally of Hillary Clinton and founder of the left-wing group Media Matters for America, started the American Independent Institute. [4]

After the American Independent Institute ran into financial difficulties and had to shut down the website, in 2013 the Colorado Independent relaunched as an autonomous news website. [5] Editor Susan Greene credited liberal foundations including the Douglas H. Phelps Foundation of Public Interest Network founder Doug Phelps with enabling Colorado Independent’s relaunch as an independent entity. [6]

The Colorado Independent receives funding from left-of-center groups including the ACLU of Colorado, billionaire heiress Pat Stryker’s Bohemian Foundation, Brett Family Foundation, Colorado Trust, the Arabella Advisors-managed Hopewell Fund, Merle Chambers Fund, and Western Resource Advocates. [7]

People

Leadership

Susan Greene has been editor-in-chief of the Colorado Independent since early 2013; Greene led the organization through its transition from a satellite of American Independent Institute into an independent organization. [8] Greene has received honors from the ACLU for her coverage of social policy[9] and appeared on the left-wing Democracy Now program as a guest, on which she lamented the 2014 defeat of U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). [10]

The Colorado Independent board of directors includes longtime liberal activist and political consultant[11] Holly Armstrong, former newspaper executive Durham Monsma, arts funding consultant Jane Potts, and philanthropic consultant Damian Thorman, who was appointed director of the White House Social Innovation Fund during the Obama administration. [12]

Opinion Contributors

Colorado Independent’s most prominent columnist is Mike Littwin, a longtime newspaper writer. Littwin is a staunch liberal and has written numerous columns in support of the political efforts of the Democratic Party, including backing plans to impeach President Donald Trump, [13] blaming Republicans for political violence, [14] and bashing Colorado Republican officeholders. [15]

The Independent also hosts the work of liberal[16] former Denver Post cartoonist Mike Keefe. [17]

Issue Writing

Colorado Independent opinion pieces and reporting both by staff writers and outside contributors endorse liberal issue positions and issue framing.

Gun Control

Opinion writer Mike Littwin has called for expanded gun control, including banning certain rifles and restricting the size of magazines. [18] He also says that politicians that blame mental illness, rather than access to guns, for mass shootings should be voted out of office. The column backs the idea that Democrats should make gun control a top issue moving forward. Gun buybacks, making gun licenses more difficult to obtain, raising the age of purchase for long guns, and federal red-flag laws are all among the policies that Littwin hopes Democrats will endorse. [19]

In an article discussing where members of Colorado’s congressional delegation stand on gun control, the Colorado Independent characterized the Gun Owners of America organization as “a conservative pro-gun group”[20] while it quoted Chelsea Parson as the “vice president of gun violence prevention policy at the Center for American Progress,” leaving out mention of the Center of American Progress’s (CAP) liberal issue alignment. [21]

Environmentalism

A guest column the Colorado Independent published by Chris Hoffman, a member of the left-of-center environmentalist organization Citizens Climate Lobby, [22]  advocated for passing H.R. 763 the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. [23] The bill would implement a carbon tax that would automatically increase every year. [24]

Another guest column the Colorado Independent published was by Arn Menconi, a 2016 Senate candidate for the far-left Green Party. [25] Menconi claimed that global warming will bring “destruction to our democracy, economy and planet.” [26] Policy proposals that Menconi backed in the article included a carbon tax, a ban on drilling, requiring utilities stop using traditional energy sources such as coal and natural gas, and cutting military spending by a third and redirecting funds to environmentalist energy projects. [27]

Immigration

In July 2019, Colorado Independent ran a story discussing how the Trump administration’s efforts to step up immigration enforcement were affecting unlawful immigrants in Colorado. [28] The article focuses on ways that illegal immigrants avoid deportation, such as having secret door knocks and a emergency go-bag ready if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes to the door. [29] One group highlighted in the article is the Colorado Rapid Response Network that reports where ICE is active so that illegal immigrants can avoid those areas. [30] The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) is a member of the network and says that calls to the network have increased due to the Trump administration’s deportation efforts. [31]

A guest column by Marcus Doe criticized the Trump administration’s decision to limit the Temporary Protected Status Program (TPS) and end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). [32] The piece supported the passage of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 which would give some illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and would allow state universities to provide benefits to illegal immigrants that are not available to U.S. citizens. [33]

The Colorado Independent published a guest post from the Boulder County Democratic Socialists of America. The article focused on a protest at a GEO Group facility in Aurora, CO where those caught crossing the border illegally are held. The writer labeled the detention center a “concentration camp” and called the “Blue Lives Matter” pro-police flag “a bastardization of American symbolism in service to the authoritarian police state.” [34] During the protest, the American flag was taken down outside the facility and the Mexican flag was raised in its place. The Boulder County Democratic Socialists defended the action as an act of “solidarity with immigrants from all nations who have been systematically targeted, harassed, and abused in this country.” [35]

A guest post by Jessica Leitch advocated for increasing access to Colorado driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. [36] While the state of Colorado does allow illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license, Leitch wanted more DMV locations to issue such licenses. Unlawful residents need valid driver’s licenses according to Leitch in part because it helps them find work. [37] The post advocated for the passage of SB19-139, which would increase the number of locations issuing driver’s license to illegal immigrants to 10 offices. [38]

Left-Wing Politicians

The Colorado Independent conducted an interview with far-left Denver City Councilor Candi CdeBaca. She told the Independent that “I have never believed in capitalism” and that the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party reflect her policy positions. [39]

During CdeBaca’s campaign, critics called her a communist after she said, “I believe in community ownership of land, labor, resources, and distribution of those resources.” [40] The Colorado Independent used comments from Jodi Dean, a professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a leading Communist political theorist, to reframe CdeBaca’s statement. Dean said that CdeBaca was speaking to an “ideal” that is different from 20th century totalitarian communism. [41] CdeBaca claimed during the interview that communist ideals are not an issue but rather “the way we understand communism is the problem.” [42]

CdeBaca praised Communist Cuba for its lack of “rampant consumerism” and told the Indepdent that she found it unfortunate that Cuba was reliant on tourists from capitalist countries that make Cubans “think they’re missing out on something.” [43]

Pro-Abortion

The Colorado Independent published a guest article by Sarah Taylor-Nanista, the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado,[44] criticizing U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) for his pro-life stance and skepticism of Planned Parenthood. [45]

References

  1. “About.” The Colorado Independent. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/about-us/. ^
  2. “Donors.” The Colorado Independent. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/donors/. ^
  3. “About.” The Colorado Independent. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/about-us/. ^
  4. Byers, Dylan. “David Brock to Launch Journalism Institute.” POLITICO. June 19, 2014. Accessed August 22, 2019 https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/06/david-brock-to-launch-journalism-institute-190746. ^
  5. “About.” The Colorado Independent. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/about-us/. ^
  6. Lichterman, Joseph. “After the Demise of Its Network, The Colorado Independent Is Born Again on Its Own.” Nieman Lab, February 18, 2014. https://www.niemanlab.org/2014/02/after-the-demise-of-its-network-the-colorado-independent-is-born-again-on-its-own/. ^
  7. “Donors.” The Colorado Independent. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/donors/. ^
  8. Lichterman, Joseph. “After the Demise of Its Network, The Colorado Independent Is Born Again on Its Own.” Nieman Lab, February 18, 2014. https://www.niemanlab.org/2014/02/after-the-demise-of-its-network-the-colorado-independent-is-born-again-on-its-own/. ^
  9. “Our Team.” The Colorado Independent, September 17, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/our-team/. ^
  10. “Mark Udall, Leading Senate Voice on NSA Surveillance and Environment, Ousted in Heated Colorado Race.” Democracy Now!, November 5, 2014. https://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/5/mark_udall_leading_senate_voice_on. ^
  11. Baer, April. “Candidates ‘Show Their Stuff’ With Pamphlet Language.” Oregon Public Broadcasting. OPB, July 17, 2012. https://www.opb.org/news/article/candidates-show-their-stuff-pamphlet-language/. ^
  12. “Board of Directors.” The Colorado Independent. Accessed October 3, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/board-of-directors-2/. ^
  13. Littwin, Mike. “Littwin: We Know Pelosi Is Deep into Trump’s Head, but What Exactly Is She Looking for?” The Colorado Independent, May 24, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/05/24/littwin-pelosi-trump-impeachment-feud-tantrum/. ^
  14. Littwin, Mike. “Littwin: American Carnage. American Madness. American Denial.” The Colorado Independent, August 5, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/05/littwin-elpaso-dayton-guns-trump-white-nationalism/. ^
  15. Littwin, Mike. “Littwin: As Self-Justifying Ryan Bashes Trump, Gardner Must Wonder When His Turn Will Come.” The Colorado Independent, July 12, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/12/littwin-as-ryan-gardner-trump-carnage-alberta/. ^
  16. Zoschke, Nathan. “The Road to Greatness: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Cartoonist Began His Career with U-News.” The Road to Greatness: Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist began his career with U-News – University News |, September 12, 2011. https://info.umkc.edu/unews/the-road-to-greatness-pulitzer-prize-winning-cartoonist-began-his-career-with-u-news/. ^
  17. “Our Team.” The Colorado Independent, September 17, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/our-team/. ^
  18. Littwin, Mike. “Littwin: American Carnage. American Madness. American Denial.” The Colorado Independent, August 5, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/05/littwin-elpaso-dayton-guns-trump-white-nationalism/. ^
  19. Littwin, Mike. “Littwin: American Carnage. American Madness. American Denial.” The Colorado Independent, August 5, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/05/littwin-elpaso-dayton-guns-trump-white-nationalism/. ^
  20. Stevens, Allison. “Where Does Colorado’s Congressional Delegation Stand on Gun Access?” The Colorado Independent, August 16, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/16/gun-access-reform-colorado-congressional-delegation/. ^
  21. Stevens, Allison. “Where Does Colorado’s Congressional Delegation Stand on Gun Access?” The Colorado Independent, August 16, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/16/gun-access-reform-colorado-congressional-delegation/. ^
  22. Hoffman, Chris. “Guest Post: How You Can Help Fight Global Warming.” The Colorado Independent, August 16, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/16/carbon-pollution-fight-climate-change/. ^
  23. Hoffman, Chirs. “Guest Post: How You Can Help Fight Global Warming.” The Colorado Independent, August 16, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/16/carbon-pollution-fight-climate-change/. ^
  24. “H.R.763 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.” Congress.gov. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/763. ^
  25. Menconi, Arn. “Climate Change Delayers Are Climate Change Deniers.” The Colorado Independent, April 19, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/04/19/guest-post-climate-change-deniers/. ^
  26. Menconi, Arn. “Climate Change Delayers Are Climate Change Deniers.” The Colorado Independent, April 19, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/04/19/guest-post-climate-change-deniers/. ^
  27. Menconi, Arn. “Climate Change Delayers Are Climate Change Deniers.” The Colorado Independent, April 19, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/04/19/guest-post-climate-change-deniers/. ^
  28. Burness, Alex. “For Colorado Immigrants, an Extraordinary Moment of Dread and Empowerment.” The Colorado Independent, July 17, 2019. Access August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/17/dread-power-colorado-immigrant-raids/. ^
  29. Burness, Alex. “For Colorado Immigrants, an Extraordinary Moment of Dread and Empowerment.” The Colorado Independent, July 17, 2019. Access August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/17/dread-power-colorado-immigrant-raids/. ^
  30. Burness, Alex. “For Colorado Immigrants, an Extraordinary Moment of Dread and Empowerment.” The Colorado Independent, July 17, 2019. Access August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/17/dread-power-colorado-immigrant-raids/. ^
  31. Burness, Alex. “For Colorado Immigrants, an Extraordinary Moment of Dread and Empowerment.” The Colorado Independent, July 17, 2019. Access August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/17/dread-power-colorado-immigrant-raids/. ^
  32. Doe, Marcus. “Guest Post: Why We Must Pass the Dream and Promise Act.” The Colorado Independent, March 18, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/03/18/guest-post-why-we-must-pass-the-dream-and-promise-act/. ^
  33. “H.R.6 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.” Congress.gov. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6. ^
  34. Boulder County Democratic Socialists of America. “Who among Us Is Proud to Fly an American Flag over a Concentration Camp?” The Colorado Independent, July 17, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/17/aurora-protest-flag-immigrant-detention/. ^
  35. Boulder County Democratic Socialists of America. “Who among Us Is Proud to Fly an American Flag over a Concentration Camp?” The Colorado Independent, July 17, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/07/17/aurora-protest-flag-immigrant-detention/. ^
  36. Leitch, Jessica. “Guest Post: Expand Access to Driver’s Licenses for Colorado’s Undocumented Immigrants.” The Colorado Independent, February 20, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/02/20/guest-post-immigrant-drivers-licenses/. ^
  37. Leitch, Jessica. “Guest Post: Expand Access to Driver’s Licenses for Colorado’s Undocumented Immigrants.” The Colorado Independent, February 20, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/02/20/guest-post-immigrant-drivers-licenses/. ^
  38. Leitch, Jessica. “Guest Post: Expand Access to Driver’s Licenses for Colorado’s Undocumented Immigrants.” The Colorado Independent, February 20, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/02/20/guest-post-immigrant-drivers-licenses/. ^
  39. Burness, Alex. “People Are Calling Candi CdeBaca a Communist. She’d Rather Be Called an Anarchist.” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/06/21/candi-cdebaca-communist-anarchist-denver-city-council/. ^
  40. Burness, Alex. “People Are Calling Candi CdeBaca a Communist. She’d Rather Be Called an Anarchist.” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/06/21/candi-cdebaca-communist-anarchist-denver-city-council/. ^
  41. Burness, Alex. “People Are Calling Candi CdeBaca a Communist. She’d Rather Be Called an Anarchist.” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/06/21/candi-cdebaca-communist-anarchist-denver-city-council/. ^
  42. Burness, Alex. “People Are Calling Candi CdeBaca a Communist. She’d Rather Be Called an Anarchist.” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/06/21/candi-cdebaca-communist-anarchist-denver-city-council/ ^
  43. Burness, Alex. “People Are Calling Candi CdeBaca a Communist. She’d Rather Be Called an Anarchist.” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/06/21/candi-cdebaca-communist-anarchist-denver-city-council/. ^
  44. Taylor-Nanista, Sarah. “GUEST COLUMN: Cory Gardner, a Senator for All Coloradans (Just Kidding).” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2016. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2016/06/21/cory-gardner-planned-parenthood-rocky-mountains/. ^
  45. Taylor-Nanista, Sarah. “GUEST COLUMN: Cory Gardner, a Senator for All Coloradans (Just Kidding).” The Colorado Independent, June 21, 2016. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2016/06/21/cory-gardner-planned-parenthood-rocky-mountains/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Laurie Zeller
    Publisher
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $551,245 $443,018 $156,927 $40,080 N $548,665 $2,580 $0 $217,197
    2015 Dec Form 990 $365,279 $369,146 $56,900 $48,280 N $365,619 $0 $0 $148,708 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $436,689 $393,651 $70,767 $58,280 N $436,689 $0 $0 $184,894 PDF

    Colorado Independent

    8273 E 29TH PL
    DENVER, CO 80238-4000