August 9, 2016

Visualizing The Flow Of Money Behind Oil And Gas Ballot Measures

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The race to gather enough signatures to put issues on the ballot in Colorado is over. On August 8th, groups supporting ballot initiatives 75 and 78 – which would restrict oil and gas development in the state – turned in signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State. We won’t know just how many signatures they were able to collect until the vetting process is complete, which could take up to 30 days.

What we do know is that nearly $15.5 million dollars have been collected in the battle over signatures. As Inside Energy reported, groups opposing measures 75 and 78 – largely funded by oil and gas companies – collected 35 times as much money as the groups supporting the measures.

These graphics show where groups on both sides of the oil and gas measures are getting money, and where that money is going.

Groups supporting oil and gas ballot measures

The two main groups supporting the oil and gas ballot measures are Yes For Health And Safety Over Fracking and Yes For Local Control Over Oil And Gas. As of July 27, 2016, these groups had collected $424,000 in cash and non-monetary contributions (staffing, consulting, etc.). Here’s what that looks like:


Get the data and see notes: Github

A few things to notice:

  • Most of the contributions came from individual donations.
  • Most of the money was spent on signature gathering.
  • The non-monetary contributions from environmental groups (, Greenpeace, Food and Water Watch) were also mostly signature gathering activities.
  • Nearly all of the money that has been collected has already been spent.

Groups opposing oil and gas ballot measures

The two main groups opposing the oil and gas ballot measures are Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence and Vote No On 75/78. As of July 27, 2016, these two groups had collected $14.9 million in cash and non-monetary contributions. Here’s what that looks like:


Get the data and see notes: Github

A few things to notice:

  • The vast majority of contributions came from oil and gas companies.
  • So far, only a third of the money collected has been spent – leaving more than $8 million for a campaign to defeat these measures if they do make it to the ballot.
  • Nearly all of that money has gone to communications firm Pac/West.
  • Pac/West is the firm responsible for Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED). CRED also supplied non-monetary contributions to the campaign against the ballot measures.

(Note: A third group, Coloradans for Responsible Reform, also works on oil and gas initiatives. Because this group does not focus exclusively on oil and and gas, Inside Energy did not include it in this graphic.)

If these measures make it on the ballot, expect the spending to continue

Inside Energy will continue to cover the story, and money, behind oil and gas and Colorado’s ballot, so stay tuned. Have questions about energy and the upcoming election? Submit them below, or email us at