Tribune article omitted that critic of voter guide is Independence Institute staffer
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In reporting November 1 on an assertion by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers that the League of Women Voters' guide included in a Greeley city mailing is "inadequate and biased," the Greeley Tribune identified critic Penn Pfiffner only as "president of the taxpayers union." In fact, he also is a former Republican state representative and current director of the Independence Institute's Fiscal Policy Center, which states that its purpose is "to communicate the balance between taxation and liberty."
In a November 1 article about the Colorado Union of Taxpayers' (CUT) allegation of bias in a League of Women Voters guide distributed to Greeley voters, the Greeley Tribune identified Penn Pfiffner as the "president of the taxpayers union," and quoted him expressing doubt "that the league is a non-partisan group." However, the article omitted that Pfiffner is also director of the Independence Institute's Fiscal Policy Center, which has a stated purpose of "communicat[ing] the balance between taxation and liberty."
The Tribune reported, "A group representing Colorado taxpayers has asked Greeley to reissue a voter's guide included in a city mailing because it says the mailing is inadequate and biased." The article continued:
The Colorado Union of Taxpayers recently contacted city officials because the group is concerned a League of Women Voters voter's guide included in the city's quarterly newsletter doesn't include all points of view on Greeley's November ballot issues.
Penn Pfiffner, president of the taxpayers union, said the mailing makes the league's guide an official city document.
"It's inadequate, sophomoric and almost an embarrassment to the organization that they think they're getting away with it," Pfiffner said.
Pfiffner added that the information in the mailing doesn't give proper voice to the cons of sales tax increases on the ballot. Greeley voters will consider two sales tax increases -- Ballot Issues 2A and 2B -- when they go to the polls on Nov. 6.
Pfiffner said he doesn't believe assurances from city officials that the league is a non-partisan group.
"They're not as non-passionate as the city clerk would paint it," Pfiffner said.
In quoting Pfiffner's criticisms, however, the Tribune only identified him as the president of CUT. The newspaper described the organization as a "group representing Colorado taxpayers," although Pfiffner states on the CUT website that the group "advocates for individual liberty, personal responsibility and limited government."
In fact, Pfiffner also is a former Republican state representative and failed state Senate candidate from Lakewood, as well as director of the Fiscal Policy Center at the Independence Institute. According to the think tank, which describes itself as a "free-market, pro-freedom" public policy research organization, "[t]he purpose of the Fiscal Policy Center is to communicate the balance between taxation and liberty."