Out-of-state money helping fund state ballot measures

DENVER -- Money and politics go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Knowing where the money comes from can help decide who and what to vote for during this election.

In 2016, some of the state's biggest ballot measures are being influence by out-of-state cash.

In regards to Amendment 72, which would raise the cost of cigarette taxes, the opposition has benefited from an influx of cash from Altria, the Virginia-based tobacco company.

According to secretary of state records, Altria has given at least $16 million and is on pace to set a record for ballot measure spending.

The group supporting Amendment 72 voiced its frustration at a news conference Thursday.

“The tobacco industry is trying to deceive the people of Colorado -- again," said Ellen Penrod, executive director for the American Lung Association in Colorado.

Supporters of Amendment 70, which would raise the minimum wage, are also benefiting from out-of-state cash.

The group has received donations from The Fairness Project in California and the Center for Popular Democracy in New York. Those donations were for $900,000 and $600,000.

"It is perfectly fine for entities outside the state to contribute money or get involved in politics. It is the disclosure that is the big kicker," said Matt Arnold, director of the Campaign Integrity Watchdog.

Arnold said it shouldn't be a surprise by the amount raised as several of the state's ballot measures could make or cost companies outside Colorado millions.