In Colorado, organizing, infrastructure and fundraising within the Democratic Party and progressive organizations are the stuff of legend. The story of how liberal mega-millionaires and single-minded cooperation on the left turned this formerly solid red state to purple and blue have been told and retold for years. The story of coordination among conservatives groups, however, and the way millions of dollars each election cycle slosh to candidates and causes on the right has received relatively scant attention.
Posts Tagged Colorado Ethics Watch
There once was a time–you know it’s true–when school board candidates in Colorado hoped to raise enough money for yard signs and a flyer to hand out or leave at doors. Times have changed.
State Senator Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, a strong advocate for campaign-finance transparency, Wednesday penned an open letter to Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler, asking him to rethink rules he is proposing that would dramatically thin laws governing political issue committee donation disclosure reporting (pdf). Gessler’s office is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed rules today.
Denver District Court Judge Bruce Jones ruled Thursday (pdf) that Secretary of State Scott Gessler overreached last summer when, through rulemaking, he raised constitutionally established donation disclosure limits for issue committees in the state. Judge Jones signaled during arguments that he believed Gessler had taken it onto himself to amend the Colorado Constitution, an absurd stretch for a non-lawmaking official such as the secretary of state. Gessler said he is determined to appeal the decision. He dismissed Jones’s arguments as mere grandstanding for the press.
Because sometimes when your pants are down around your knees, it’s easier to step away from the window than it is to pull up your pants, the now infamous Scott Gessler/Larimer County GOP fundraiser will be closed to the media. Problem solved.
At a hearing today, The Colorado Secretary of State’s office proposed a rule change that would result in the need for less frequent reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures.
Progressive politics coalition Campaign for a Strong Colorado says state Treasurer Walker Stapleton should follow the advice he provided to the U.S. House Ways and Means committee this week when he argued in favor of the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act. “Greater transparency and better information is important for the fiscal health of our states and for our taxpayers,” he said. Strong Colorado agreed and urged Stapleton to bring his point home to the taxpayers he serves by opening up his full current employment records so the Colorado public can see how he’s earning his money and spending his time.
In the face of criticism that he is improperly meddling in a campaign finance case on behalf of a former private-practice client, Secretary of State Scott Gessler says he doesn’t believe Coloradans should have to hire lawyers to steer clear of penalties when they simply want to participate in the political process.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed a brief with the attorney general last week supporting an appeal brought by election-politics group Clear the Bench in a campaign finance case. Gessler defended the group as a private attorney in the original case and so his support now as secretary of state is sure to raise more questions about his ability to serve the public without treading across ethical boundaries.
Weeks after Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton took office this past January he drew a flurry of questions about a lucrative consulting contract he made with SonomaWest Holdings, the Northern California real-estate firm he headed for years as CEO. Stapleton arranged to work for up to 250 hours per year with Sonoma for $150,000 while acting as Colorado’s treasurer. Colorado AOL reporter Sandra Fish discovered the arrangement by looking at paperwork SonomaWest had to file as a public company, and government watchdogs took comfort from the fact that those public records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC would continue to provide some level of transparency. Now Stapleton’s family finance business, Denver-based Stapleton Acquisitions Company, is proposing to buy out shareholders of SonomaWest (pdf) and take the company private. That would mean no more filing with the SEC. It would mean no more public records from which to monitor Stapleton’s moonlighting as a consultant.