Antero’s CEO: Nothing secretive about donation
An energy company official says there was no attempt to be secretive about an incorrectly reported $20,000 donation to an independent group campaigning on behalf of Republican Garfield County candidates.
“Shoot, if they want to send the money back and not use it, that’s fine with me,” Paul Rady, chairman and chief executive officer of Denver-based Antero Resources, said of the group.
Michael Hesse, a representative of Western Heritage, the 527 organization that received the donation, said returning the money’s not possible because it has been spent. But he said Rady has every right to make a political donation, and he and Rady said an initial lack of clarity was a simple mistake.
Western Heritage originally told the Secretary of State’s Office the donation was made by Paul Randy of Orion Energy. It has since sent corrected information to the state.
Democratic county commission candidates Stephen Bershenyi and Steve Carter have pointed to the incorrect listing as one of several concerns they have about independent groups working on behalf of
Republican candidates John Martin and Mike Samson. Bershenyi and Carter also have been the subjects of mailings with inaccurate allegations, and they say some of the groups have failed to comply with laws for reporting funding activities.
Bershenyi suggested the incorrect Western Heritage listing may not have been coincidence, but rather an attempted cover-up.
Four Garfield County mayors — three Democrats and Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen, who is unaffiliated — share Bershenyi and Carter’s concerns. At a recent news conference, Christensen said he found it particularly disconcerting that the listing could have gotten Rady’s name, hometown and company all wrong.
“I think the people of the county need to know what’s going on,” he said.
Hesse said Western Heritage had done an Internet search to verify the hometown of what turned out to be the incorrect name. As for the incorrect company, he said the mistake was innocent and there would have been no point in listing another energy company if the group was trying to be deceptive about who was behind its funding.
Rady said his contribution wasn’t much, but the mayors say it’s big money for a Garfield commission race and it’s improper meddling by the energy industry.
Rady said he’s not trying to unduly influence the race but is just trying to play by the rules.
“I was under the impression that people from all sides are donating money as they often do to those things,” he said.
Bershenyi and Carter have benefited from spending by outside groups that include WORC Colorado Rural Voters, a political action committee that has spent at least $13,500 in support of them.