Non-profit

The Western Way

Website:

www.thewesternway.org

Location:

DENVER, CO

Tax ID:

81-4204053

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $281,000
Expenses: $53,800
Assets: $252,200

Formation:

2017

Type:

Environmentalist Group

The Western Way (TWW) is an ostensibly right-of-center advocacy group that works on energy and environment issues. The Colorado-based organization seeks to combat “the false narrative that conservatives do not value the environment”[1] and “provide constructive conservative solutions.” [2] Despite presenting itself as a center-right organization and their abundant use of the word “conservative” in its branding, TWW supports various left-of-center environmentalist policies, including conservation initiatives and public land projects. [3]

Leadership

Former U.S. Representative U.S. Representative Scott McInnis (R-CO) created the Western Way after leaving Congress in 2005. McInnis had promised to take what was left of his campaign funds and launch a nonprofit organization to address issues like education and breast-cancer research. [4] However, in 2009, McInnis instead created the Western Way Political Action Committee and donated much of the left over money to candidates and to the legal defense fund of ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX). [5]

In addition to the controversy over his political activities after leaving Congress, McInnis was discovered to have plagiarized an essay while working as a fellow at the Hasan Family Foundation in 2010, while McInnis was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Colorado in 2010. [6]

According to their 2017 tax filing, his wife Lori McInnis and daughter Tessa Canterbury sit on the Western Way board. [7]

Bob Beauprez, a former Colorado Republican Party chairman, two-term U.S. Representative, and two-time unsuccessful Republican nominee for governor, is the organization’s chairman. Beauprez supports taking a middle approach to energy policy. [8] In 2017, Beauprez’s political advocacy group, Colorado Pioneer Action, was found to have committed multiple violations of Colorado campaign finance regulations and fined over $17,000. [9]

Advocacy

In 2017, TWW supported HB17-1227, legislation that would have extended a program that forces Xcel Energy customers to pay the company not to produce electricity. That year, TWW also supported a bill described as “rent-seeking” which would have furthered Xcel Energy’s monopolization of the wind industry in Colorado. Further, TWW supported HB17-1242 which would have raised the state sales tax by 21 percent for transportation. [10]

Work in Other States

In 2018, the Western Way launched a chapter in Arizona. [11] The advisory board of the Arizona chapter includes multiple state senators and lobbyists. [12] In a 2019 op-ed, advisory board member and Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) said that the chapter will do work on a number of environmental issues, including the Salt River Project. [13] As the main electrical utility for the Phoenix metropolitan area, the Salt River Project has faced scrutiny for its business practices,[14] and in 2015 a judge ruled it acted illegally when setting unfair rates for solar customers. [15]

In addition to the chapter in Arizona, TWW has also been active in Nevada, partnering with the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2019 to publish a study on the economic impact of rural environmentalist energy projects. [16]

Ties to Other Groups

In 2018, the Western Way launched a new initiative called the Rural Energy Network to advance an energy agenda within local rural communities. [17] Members of the network include various county commissions and county economic development directors[18], as well as Progressive 15 – an advocacy organization in Northeast Colorado that supports increasing both the state income tax and sales tax. [19]

TWW is also a member of the Conservative Energy Network, an advocacy organization of various state-based right-of-center environmental organizations. Despite the name, the Conservative Energy Network is heavily funded by numerous left-of-center organizations, including the MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Turner Foundation. [20]

References

  1. “What We Do.” The Western Way. Accessed February 1, 2020. http://www.thewesternway.org/what-we-do-1 ^
  2. “What We Are Doing.” The Western Way. Accessed February 1, 2020. http://www.thewesternway.org/what-we-are-doing-1 ^
  3. “Western Conservative Group Outlines Trump’s Possible Conservation Agenda.” PR Newswire. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/western-conservative-group-outlines-trumps-possible-conservation-agenda-300357439.html ^
  4. Fender, Jessica. “McInnis shelved nonprofit he pledged to fund after leaving Congress.” The Denver Post. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.denverpost.com/2009/08/11/mcinnis-shelved-nonprofit-he-pledged-to-fund-after-leaving-congress/ ^
  5. “Call for Scott “McLobbyist” McInniss to keep his commitment.” Colorado Pols. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.coloradopols.com/diary/9155 ^
  6. Burnett, Sara. “Ex-GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInniss won’t be disciplined in plagiarism complaint.” The Denver Post. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.denverpost.com/2011/05/23/ex-gop-gubernatorial-candidate-scott-mcinnis-wont-be-disciplined-in-plagiarism-complaint/ ^
  7. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990, The Western Way. 2017. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2017/841/200/2017-841200408-0fd34cc8-9O.pdf ^
  8. Bunch, Joey. “Bob Beauprez: Colo.’s partisan past should bend toward the middle.” Colorado Politics. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.coloradopolitics.com/news/cover-story-bob-beauprez-colo-s-partisan-past-should-bend/article_951aa0b4-998c-5a50-ad51-dec3f9db6907.html ^
  9. “Beauprez Group Guilty of Violating Campaign Law.” Colorado Pols. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.coloradopols.com/diary/94145/breaking-beauprez-group-guilty-of-violating-campaign-law#sthash.HQ0qH5fB.sOWUTPdg.dpbs ^
  10. Cooke, Amy. “Beware of global warming opportunists in conservative clothing.” Independent Institute. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://i2i.org/beware-of-global-warming-opportunists-in-conservative-clothing/ ^
  11. Donahey, Megan. “The Western Way launches Arizona chapter.” Chamber Business News. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://chamberbusinessnews.com/2018/09/25/the-western-way-launches-arizona-chapter/ ^
  12. “The Western Way Announces Arizona Advisory Board.” The Western Way. Accessed February 1, 2020. http://www.thewesternway.org/tww-blog/2018/7/26/the-western-way-announces-arizona-advisory-board ^
  13. Fann, Karen. “Let’s harness the power of free-markets to find conservation, environmental solutions.” Arizona Capitol Times. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2019/02/15/lets-harness-the-power-of-free-markets-to-find-conservation-environmental-solutions/ ^
  14. Randazoo, Ryan. “SRP system for electing leaders criticized as unfair and undemocratic.” Arizona Republic. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2019/06/06/salt-river-project-system-electing-leaders-criticized-unfair/1361655001/ ^
  15. Weaver, John. “Tesla to sell 25 MW battery as part of Salt River Project settlement.” PV Magazine. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/03/07/tesla-to-sell-25-mw-battery-as-part-of-salt-river-project-settlement/ ^
  16. “Nevada’s Rural Renewables Generate $7.9 Billion in Economic Impact.” The Western Way. Accessed February 1, 2020. http://www.thewesternway.org/tww-blog/2019/1/15/nevadas-rural-renewables-generate-79-billion-in-economic-impact ^
  17. “Rural Energy Network Principles.” The Western Way. Accessed February 1, 2020. http://www.thewesternway.org/rural-energy-network ^
  18. “Rural Energy Network Members.” The Western Way. Accessed February 1, 2020. http://www.thewesternway.org/ren-members ^
  19. “Policy Positions.” Progressive 15. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://pro15.org/policy-positions/ ^
  20. Mooney, Kevin. “What is the ‘Conservative Energy Network’ and why is it back by leftist funders?.” Washington Examiner. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/what-is-the-conservative-energy-network-and-why-is-it-backed-by-leftist-funders ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2017

  • 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $281,000 $53,800 $252,200 $0 N $245,000 $36,000 $0 $0 PDF

    The Western Way

    1800 GLENARM PL STE 950
    DENVER, CO 80202-3852