Public Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization aimed at reducing the role of big special interest money in American politics, called on Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) “to return thousands of dollars in contributions he received from the executives of SG Interests.” According to the Denver Post, the company has been ordered to pay $275,000 following a federal antitrust lawsuit that alleged [Gunnison Energy Corp. and SG Interests] worked together in bidding on public land leases in Gunnison County.”
In a release, Public Campaign went on to say:
“The people of Colorado need to know that their elected officials are working for them and not big donors trying to defraud taxpayers,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director at Public Campaign. “Scott Tipton should immediately return contributions from the company or donate them to charity.”
The agreement to pay the fine, according to a report by the Denver Post, is part of the first federal challenge to an anti-competitive bidding agreement for mineral rights after SG Interests and Gunnison Energy entered into an agreement that only SG would bid at gas field auctions but would split the acreage with Gunnison.
Tipton has close ties to SG Interests and has faced criticism for taking contributions from company donors while simultaneously working to address a local dispute between landowners and the company. He received $8,100 from donors at SG Interests based in Houston in 2011 and has taken $15,300 from company donors since 2009, according to Public Campaign analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.
The company wants to increase drilling operations on public lands in Tipton’s district and the congressman has been “trying to mediate ” a solution between both SG Interests and the ranchers, local elected officials and citizens opposed to expanded drilling in the area.