March 08, 2006

Catholic conference hires lobbyist on abuse bills

Denver Post

By Mark P. Couch and Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writers

The Colorado Catholic Conference has hired a high-powered lobbying firm with ties to Gov. Bill Owens in an effort to defeat bills that would give victims of childhood sex abuse more time to file lawsuits.

Phase Line Strategies - created in 2002 by Owens' former campaign manager and recipient of a $480,000 contract to do political work for the governor - has been retained to fight the legislation.

Sean Tonner, founder and president of Phase Line, said the contracts are not connected and will not influence his firm's work on the issue. He said his firm has been hired to lobby lawmakers and help church officials handle media relations.

Tim Dore, executive director of the Catholic Conference, which lobbies for the state's three Catholic dioceses, said he needed outside help to cope with the many bills of Catholic concern, including emergency contraception, rights for gay couples and immigration.

"We got to the point where we could not concentrate on those as well as do justice to (the sex abuse bills)," Dore said.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2006 07:17 AM