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Author Archives: COEthics

Outside counsel contracts for jail abuse case raise questions

Arthur Kane (ColoradoWatchdog.org)-

Two Denver city contracts issued to law firms with close ties to Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez raise questions about timing, billing and whether they were bid.

Martinez’s office hired Faegre Baker Daniels and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in June 2014 to handle a lawsuit by Jamal Hunter, who said he was assaulted by fellow Denver jail inmates with the knowledge and encouragement of a deputy.

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Utah lawmakers got a hefty pay raise for waging lands fight, tax record shows

Robert Gehrke (The Salt Lake Tribune)-

State Rep. Ken Ivory was paid $135,000 last year for his work as president of the American Lands Council — a group dedicated to winning state ownership of federal lands — and his wife was paid another $18,000, according to the group’s most recent tax filing.

Ivory’s salary shot up by $40,000; the state representative estimated he spends about 60 hours a week working on issues for the American Lands Council.

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Ethics Watch Submits Comments On Proposed SOS Rules

January 14 – Today, Ethics Watch submitted comments opposing proposed changes to the Colorado Election Rules that would increase the chances of partisan mischief in elections and exceed the authority of the Colorado Secretary of State.

The two rules would (1) allow political parties to dictate to clerks which election judges should perform the task of signature verification and (2) apply electioneering prohibitions to drop-box locations, which would increase opportunities for harassing election complaints if, for example, a car with a political bumper sticker inadvertently drove within 100 feet of a drop box located on a public street.

The hearing on the proposed rules is today at 9:00 a.m. Ethics Watch will not submit additional testimony at the hearing.

Click here to read Ethics Watch’s comments.

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Databases, nonprofit records, wage theft, transparency on Colorado legislature’s 2016 agenda

Jeffrey Roberts (Colorado Springs Gazette)-

Colorado lawmakers will consider at least four measures to expand public access to information during the legislature’s 2016 session, which convenes Wednesday.

Those measures include database records; nonprofit records; wage theft transparency and judicial branch records.

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What your Colorado lawmakers will be up to this session

Corey Hutchins (The Colorado Independent)-

Next week begins another legislative session in Colorado where Republicans who control the Senate and Democrats who control the House will hash out bills under the gold dome of the Capitol all while Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper continues to shape his legacy a year into his final term.

Democrats and Republicans are offering differing agendas but they’ll both be dealing with budget cuts and will be debating laws this year under the pressure of a presidential election cycle and while every member of the House and half the Senate is up for re-election themselves.

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Greeley-Evans School District 6 officials raise questions with hint hiring campaign consultant

Tyler Silvy (Greeley Tribune)-

With state funding cuts and nearly $300 million in potential construction costs looming for Greeley-Evans School District 6, district officials have considered hiring a campaign consultant to help the district pass a ballot initiative. If officials were to do so with taxpayer dollars, it would blur the spirit — if not the letter — of campaign finance law.

District 6 Superintendent Deirdre Pilch during a Dec. 14 Board of Education work session floated the idea of bringing in a campaign consultant to help the district pass a ballot initiative, an idea Pilch hasn’t actively pursued since.

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Colorado’s senators agree on most candidates for federal vacancy

Monica Mendoza (Denver Business Journal)-

In what appeared to be a partisan spat over the choosing of candidates to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court bench in Colorado, Colorado’s two U.S. senators — one a Democrat, the other a Republican — set up two different search committees.

But those panels have come with nearly the same short lists of candidates.

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Teachers unions played major role in recall effort

Gabrielle Porter (Canyon Courier)- Local and national teachers unions made major donations to the campaign to recall three conservative members of the Jeffco school board, according to financial records ordered released by a state judge. Recall critics have said donations from the National Education Association and the Jefferson County Education Association prove that union interests were a guiding force in the ousting of board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams in the November election.

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Councilwoman Lawson’s dual role as state worker, elected official debated at ethics commission

Rachel Sapin (Aurora Sentinel)- Less than a month after being sworn in, At-Large City Councilwoman Angela Lawson’s electoral win has spurred discussion over state ethics laws.

While Lawson is not accused of doing anything to run afoul of city or state ethics laws, her dual role as a state employee and elected official caused the state’s independent commission on ethics to take a closer look at how to handle which set of rules anyone in that position would abide by.

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Colorado ethics commission has no investigators, little authority

Joey Bunch (Denver Post)- The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, approved by voters in 2006, struggles to do its work for lack of authority, resources and money, say critics who include former administrators.

Its limitations have made what might have been a graft-busting agency a panel of five political appointees who give their opinions and, at worst, charge a fine of double the amount of money in question.

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