Breaking News
More () »

Both candidates for Denver mayor have powerful interests spending money to get them elected

An IEC is a group that campaigns for a candidate or against their opponent, without input from that candidate. And IECs are exempt from contribution limits.

DENVER — We know Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough want to be Denver's next mayor, but who is behind the money that also wants them to be mayor?

Money in large amounts. Money from outside of Colorado. Money trying to influence your vote.

After the April 4 Denver mayoral election, Johnston was first with 24.5% and Brough was second with 20%. And the two are first and second with money being spent on their behalf by independent expenditure committees (IECs).

An independent expenditure committee (IEC) is a group that campaigns for a candidate or against their opponent, without input from that candidate. And IECs are exempt from contribution limits.

The IEC supporting Johnston is called “Advancing Denver” and has brought in $2.2 million.

The IEC supporting Brough is called “A Better Denver” and has brought in $984,000.

Advancing Denver

The majority of the money for Advancing Denver – 86% -- comes from outside of Denver.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn has contributed more than $900,000.

He posted support for Johnston on LinkedIn in March.

Hoffman lives in California, where he has contributed to Democratic candidates and causes, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for state assembly races (California calls the House an Assembly), money in support of Gavin Newsom for governor and money to support a repeal of the death penalty.

In the last two years, he contributed $15 million to congressional candidates and state Democratic parties, including money for 7th Congressional District Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Colorado) and $10,000 for the Colorado Democratic Party.

Other contributors to Advancing Denver include:

  • Kent Thiry from Cherry Hills Village, former CEO of Denver-based DaVita, a kidney dialysis company
  • Steve Mandel from Connecticut, a hedge fund manager.

A Better Denver

The IEC supporting Brough has money from real estate, developers and construction companies.

About 55% of the dollars are from outside of Denver.

That includes $513,000 from the political arm of the National Association of Realtors in Chicago.

However, a spokeswoman for A Better Denver said that the money was contributed based on support from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR).

What does DMAR want in a candidate?

It has a political advocacy portion of its website. It lists its effort to defeat the 2019 Denver ballot issue that would have ended the camping ban. Voters agreed with DMAR’s position and overwhelming rejected the ballot issue (81% said no).

DMAR also spent money to fight a limited growth ballot issue in Lakewood, which actually passed.

The largest individual contributor to A Better Denver is from Denver developer Cal Fulenwider.

He has developed Polo Club near Cherry Creek Mall and areas surrounding Denver International Airport.

He has recently contributed to Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate, including Joe O’Dea in Colorado and Mitt Romney in Utah.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Full Episodes of Next with Kyle Clark

Before You Leave, Check This Out