Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Dan Hopkins 303-866-6324
Sarah Bramwell 303-866-6323
(DENVER) – Citing public confusion that is damaging the efforts of a charity that aids battered children, Gov. Bill Owens today demanded that the leadership of a political group with virtually the same name – which has aired strident and offensive attack ads – immediately change its name. Responding to media reports about the problem, Owens also called on wealthy backers of the political group to make personal donations to the charity to help repair any damage done.
The Governor, a longtime supporter of Families First Colorado, an 18-year-old organization that helps abused children and aids at-risk parents, said the charity was "an innocent bystander" that is being hurt by the public's assumption that it is affiliated with Colorado Families First, a political organization. The group has aired two attack ads against U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that have been widely condemned for their offensive content.
The charity has said publicly that the confusion between the two groups is "keeping us from doing an important job we are committed to doing."
The political group, according to the Center for Public Integrity, has received nearly 40 percent of its donations from three wealthy Coloradans: Tim Gill, Pat Stryker, and Jared Polis. Owens called on all three to use their considerable clout with the organization to immediately end the harm that it is doing to a legitimate and respected charity.
"Simple compassion and decency require these three very wealthy individuals to step up and do the right thing," the Governor said. "Their political activities have backfired and they are hurting a good cause that helps battered children. All three of them, and the other donors to this political group, should act today to help repair the damage done."
The Governor urged Gill, Stryker, and Polis to shift their funding away from unfair attack ads and instead to invest in the Families First charity, which has considerable fundraising goals, including the construction of a new parent education center, so that the charity will not be harmed by the public confusion.
"It's been said that 'all's fair' in politics. But this is the perfect example of how unfair political attacks have also resulted in unfair damage to a good charity with a great mission," said Owens. "Today's the day for the confusion to end and for politics to take a backseat to common sense."
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