Colorado Professional Fire Fighters fight fire -- and opposition -- with money

Think firefighters want Senate Bill 25, which would allow collective bargaining, to go through the Colorado Legislature? According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters group was the single-biggest donor to current legislators in 2011-12, pouring out $140,325.

But other groups weren't far behind.

The Colorado Education Association paid out $107,300 during the same time period.

Colorado Wins Small Donor Committee, a public employee union that funnels members' dues to the campaigns of Democratic candidates and organizations (and sometimes doesn't file paperwork on time), donated $72,090.

COPIC Insurance, which represents doctors, contributed $91,200; meanwhile, the Colorado Medical Society anted up another $69,870, spreading those donations between two-thirds of all legislators.

The top five economic sectors contributing to current legislators in 2011-12? Labor, $750,565; Lawyers and Lobbyists, $598,522; Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, $576,514; Health $369,953; General Business, $229,429. (Find more data -- lots more data -- at followthemoney.org.)

In February Governor John Hickenlooper came out against the firefighters' collective-bargaining bill; here's the response from Mike Rogers, president of the Colorado International Association of Fire Fighters:

Colorado professional firefighters plan on moving forward with Senate Bill 25 and we look forward to any viable alternative that Governor Hickenlooper may present about firefighters collective bargaining rights. We want to learn more about Governor Hickenlooper's plans for supporting firefighters having a legitimate voice in their communities around bargaining for safety equipment and other important work place issues. We feel there are still many ways to address Governor Hickenlooper's issues with the existing bill and that is the strategy we will continue to pursue. Once these issues are worked out we hope Governor Hickenlooper will support it.

We appreciate that Governor Hickenlooper identified favorably with the positive impacts of collective bargaining during his time as mayor.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Sand Creek Massacre: Unlike History Colorado, Northwestern is re-examining the tragedy."

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