In honor of Sunshine Week, which promotes public access to government information, Colorado Ethics Watch has created a new tool to assist citizens and interested groups in understanding how to access and understand campaign finance contributions, expenses and reports in Colorado.
Colorado Campaign Finance Basics, a new tool posted to the Ethics Watch website, reveals:
• How to find the money involved in Colorado county or state political campaigns
• Useful websites for Colorado county or state campaign finance research
• Where to find out how much money is spent on political advertisements in Colorado county or state campaigns
• What Colorado county or state political campaigns have contribution limits
“Campaign finance can be a complicated issue to understand,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “Colorado Campaign Finance Basics helps Coloradans find out the groups and money involved in their Colorado county and state political campaigns.”
Colorado Campaign Finance Basics outlines the process to check the Colorado Secretary of State TRACER system and suggests checking the IRS forms of nonprofits and other political organizations to find otherwise unreported contributions. Information can also be found in political files or public inspection files that show the purchase of advertisement space for political purposes by groups or individuals, searchable on the Federal Communication Commission website.
While Colorado municipal elections fall under the jurisdiction of the municipality rather than the Colorado Secretary of State, it is possible to find local campaign finance disclosures and reporting in similar avenues through the appropriate municipality.