Today, Colorado Ethics Watch submitted comments on proposed changes to the state campaign finance rules. The rule changes were primarily designed to implement new laws regarding school board elections and small groups involved in ballot initiative advocacy, however, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams also proposes to eliminate a rule, first enacted in 1999, that establishes guidelines for when the Secretary of State will initiate a campaign finance enforcement action. That rule allows the Secretary of State to notify filers of technical violations and give them an opportunity to cure the violation before a complaint is filed.
Instead of repealing the rule, Ethics Watch urges the Secretary to strengthen it. The state’s TRACER system already provides notices to filers when they have missed a filing. Ethics Watch urges the state to modify the on-line filing system to flag technical reporting violations such as failure to provide employment information for persons who give $100 or more to a committee. If the rule is repealed, the only recourse for such violations will be the state’s cumbersome and expensive litigation system for campaign finance violations.
Ethics Watch also provided comments to help clarify and strengthen rules implementing new laws regarding school board elections and ballot issue committees that raise and spend less than $5000.
Ethics Watch’s comments were submitted in advance of a public hearing to be held Tuesday, July 26 at 9:00 a.m. at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Click here to read Ethics Watch’s comments.