Amy Oliver does a lot of incredible things around here. She is our transparency guru, or as we like to call her, the “Transparency Czarina,” and she’s the director of our Energy/Environmental Policy Center. She’s also responsible for some really cool catch phrases too. Some of them I can’t repeat on this blog, but one new one caught my eye this morning: “crony philanthropy.”
Amy and her intern were hot on the heels of a transparency scandal issue involving the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO). They poured through oodles and oodles of open records requests and published their findings in this Issue Paper: Governor’s Energy Office Needs a Dose of Sunshine. They uncovered a ton of suspicious expenditures from the GEO, including some charitable giving on behalf of us taxpayers (did you know that YOU contributed to making the Denver Zoo the “greenest” zoo on the planet??)
Furthermore, Amy also uncovered some “crony philanthropy” as well. For example,
Also notable is the total of $77,434.05 paid to the Boulder Energy Conservation Center (BECC), a non-profit for which former GEO Director Tom Plant served as executive director when he was in the Colorado state legislature. BECC since has changed its name to the Center for Resource Conservation (CRC). Other GEO funds have been directed to organizations to which CRC board members have had connections. Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, where CRC Vice President Mark Ruzzin once worked, received $222,162.29 from the GEO. Another $22,000 went to the Colorado Brownfields Foundation, on which CRC Secretary Polly Jessen once served.
First of all. It is impossible to be philanthropic WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY! I believe that goes against the definition of philanthropy. Secondly, it’s downright shameful to be generous with other people’s money when it serves your own naked self-interest! Double-fail! Luckily, the hard work Amy and her intern Kyle did will not be in vain. Rep. Cindy Acree is calling for an audit on the GEO. If and when we have an audit, I’ll be anxious to find out what other organizations I have been unknowingly charitable towards.