Exec fraud initiative gains strength
Growing support linked to turmoil on Wall Street
By David Milstead
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The turmoil on Wall Street seems to be boosting the prospects of Colorado's labor-backed
ballot initiative on corporate fraud.
Pollster Floyd Ciruli has just completed a poll for the Economic
Development Council of Colorado that found Amendment 53 has
support in "the high 50s," Ciruli said Wednesday. The
amendment creates new criminal liabilities for business
executives after a corporate fraud and expands Colorado residents'
ability to sue.
Other labor-backed ballot measures that protect workers from
firing and extend health care benefits to more workers didn't
get majority support in the poll, he said.
"My interpretation -- because frankly the others are
sexy-sounding, too -- is we have been hearing for a couple of
weeks about corporate fraud, FBI investigations, and a bailout
that's arguably rewarding bad judgment or misbehavior," Ciruli
The initiatives are part of a business-labor battle prompted by
proposed Amendment 47, the measure that would prohibit "union
shops," where all workers must pay either union dues or the cost
Labor unions retaliated with a raft of worker-friendly measures
that business groups have said are hostile to the state's
economy. Recent negotiations to pull all the measures from
the ballot have been unsuccessful, and the deadline to yank the
amendments is today.
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce has funded the legal
challenge to many of the labor initiatives. It also
opposes right-to-work in the name of business peace, but isn't
actively campaigning against it.
Spokeswoman Kate Horle said, "The fear that the economy will not
be the way they've known because there were a lot of
irresponsible senior executives at a collection of banks -- it's
definitely a part of this."
Representatives of Protect
Colorado's Future, the group campaigning
for Amendment 53, were unavailable Wednesday afternoon. The
group says motivation for the amendment comes from the events at
Qwest, where "Coloradans continue to pay the price" even as
former CEO Joe Nacchio has so far avoided jail time by appealing
his 2007 conviction on insider-trading charges.