Common Sense Policy Roundtable
The Common Sense Policy Roundtable is a non-profit created by Starboard Group and EIS Solutions to control and fund the research conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder.
Ties to Fracking Industry
Lem Smith is a funder and board member for CSPR. He is also the Director for U.S. Government and Regulatory Affairs for Encana, one of the largest fracking corporations in Colorado. In CSPR pamphlets from 2011, Encana is listed as a “partner.” Smith is also on the board of Western Energy Alliance, an oil and gas front group known for its aggressive tactics. Smith is also chairman of the Colorado Petroleum Association.
In addition to Encana, CSPR pamphlets list multiple other oil and gas companies as “partners.”
T. Scott Martin is chairman and CEO of EE3, an oil and gas company based in Colorado. He also sits on the board and funds CSPR.
Boardmembers like Lem Smith and T. Scott Martin are expected to contribute at least $150,000 to CSPR every year.
CSPR was created by the Starboard Group and staffed in part by EIS Solutions – two PR firms with close ties to the oil and gas industry, including the billionaire Koch brothers. Earlier this year, the two firms were revealed to be behind a web of front groups in Colorado that oppose regulations on fracking.
Ties to Koch brothers
As a political fundraiser, Kristin Strohm, CSPR's founder and chair, has successfully solicited major funding from the Koch brothers. While Strohm was the finance director for Mike Coffman’s congressional campaign, in which Coffman benefited from ads run by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brother’s flagship political group. Through Strohm, Coffman also received the maximum possible donation allowed by law from David Koch
Starboard Group lists Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a former client. American for Prosperity is also a member of Vital for Colorado, a front group that shares an address with CSPR and counts Kristin Strohm in their leadership.
Starboard Group also works for the Western Energy Alliance.
With Strohm at the helm, CSPR works hand in glove with the Koch political apparatus. CSPR lists “finalizing plans for 2014” with Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a “Strategic Objective.”
EIS Solutions, where Kristin Strohm’s husband Josh Penry is Vice President, has staffed CSPR since its inception. Dustin Zvonek, a former EIS Solutions employee, served as the original media officer for CSPR. He is now the head of Americans for Prosperity Colorado. EIS has worked for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), the top oil and gas lobbying organization in Colorado, and Vital for Colorado. EIS was caught faking signatures for a COGA petition in 2013.
Earl Wright, a member of CSPR’s board of directors, attended the secretive Koch brothers strategy meeting in Aspen in 2010. Former Board Member of CSPR Kaye Fote did as well. Earl Wright is president of the AGM Charitable Gift Foundation, which has significant oil and gas holdings and finds CSPR.
See this relational map of CU Boulder's ties to the fracking industry and the Koch brothers.