Journalist crowdfunds money for emails between GOP and oil and gas industry

Westword (Denver): David Sirota, a Denver-based journalist and nationally recognized columnist, took to crowdfunding to raise enough money to get e-mails between Republican lawmakers in Colorado and oil and gas donors and lobbyists.

Sirota raised the $1,670 required by the state to mine the e-mail accounts of Republicans in the Colorado Senate — specifically, Republicans on the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy committee. According to Sirota, the resulting documents could show why GOP committee members killed a series of oil and gas measures proposed this legislative session by Democrats, including a 1,000-foot setback of oil and gas wells from schools and a reform of controversial forced-pooling practices.

“First of all, we would like to see how closely in contact were the Republican legislators who voted this bill down — how closely were they in contact with the oil and gas industry and oil and gas donors on these specific bills,” Sirota continues. “We want to know the extent of the legislative lobbying campaign against these bills.”

Sirota, a senior editor for investigations at International Business Times, says this isn’t a political attack on the Republican senators. Rather, he sees oil and gas as a “really important matter of public policy,” and believes that government transparency is important in policymaking.

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