David Sirota (International Business Times)- A top fossil fuel industry official poured $40,000 into the Colorado Republican Party’s super PAC on the same day the state’s legislature began considering a bill to limit the oil and gas industry’s fracking and drilling near schools, according to state documents reviewed by International Business Times. Soon after the contribution from Halliburton board member J. Landis Martin, Republican lawmakers lined up against the legislation. They eventually killed it — days before a deadly blast at a home near an oil well in Northeastern Colorado.
Halliburton has a large presence in Colorado. The company says it employs 1,900 people in operations across the state; it bankrolled a 2012 effort to defeat municipal fracking regulations in the state; and it has a top executive on the executive board of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association — an industry lobbying group that fought the setback legislation, according to state records. (Halliburton is a member of the COGA and has touted its links to the group in the past.)
Click here to read the full story in International Business Times.
Daniel Glick and Ted Woods (Colorado Independent)- Advocates for tighter controls on the oil and gas industry who have appeared at Colorado’s gold-domed statehouse recently say that the oil and gas industry is increasingly behaving like the National Rifle Association.
Like the NRA, which vigorously opposes any legislation restricting gun ownership, the oil and gas industry in Colorado steadfastly opposes new legislation it perceives would inconvenience its operators.
Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.
Monica Mendoza (Denver Business Journal)- It’s been one year since the nomination of Denver attorney Regina Rodriguez to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. District Court in Colorado.
She never received a confirmation hearing despite the backing of both Colorado Senators Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican. The senators nominated Rodriguez, who is a trial lawyer and partner at Hogan Lovells Denver office, after they each convened their own screening and nomination panels.
Click here to read the full story in the Denver Business Journal.
Tony Flesor (Law Week Colorado)- Courts Matter Colorado marked the one-year anniversary of Regina Rodriguez’s nomination for the vacant judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by urging Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner to reaffirm their support of Rodriguez.
Bennet and Gardner both recommended Rodriguez to the White House in January 2016 after parallel screening processes and the senators sent a joint letter to the Judiciary Committee in July asking for confirmation hearings and votes “as soon as possible” on her nomination. Rodriguez was never scheduled for a hearing or vote and her nomination expired at the end of 2016.
Click here to read the full story in Law Week Colorado.
Corey Hutchins (Colorado Independent)- Mystery fliers about candidates in elections that don’t say who paid for them will still be allowed in Colorado after a law supporters said would plug a disclosure loophole died on a party-line vote in a GOP-controlled committee.
“They’re exploiting a loophole to keep voters in the dark,” said Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada about political groups who pay for anonymous fliers during election season.
She would know.
Last November she found such fliers, glossy negative hit-pieces that didn’t say who was behind them, fluttering around her district. She said if she won her election she would introduce a law to close what she called a loophole that allowed them.
Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.
Megan Schrader (Denver Post) – Colorado lawmakers have a chance in the next couple weeks to close a black hole in the campaign finance universe that is sucking all the light out of politics.
When candidates and political committees run honest campaigns based on fact and policy and character, they do so in part because the bright light of scrutiny is shining on their actions and their words.
Colorado’s media try to fact-check political statements, especially those from candidates. But operating in the darkness are third-party shadow groups engaged in the “fake news” of fliers, advertisements and online videos, ads and posts. There’s little accountability for these groups now, but there’s hope.
Click here to read the rest of the story in the Denver Post.
Pam Zubeck (Colorado Springs Independent)- A nasty Colorado Springs City Council campaign in which one group spent at least $240,000 without identifying donors is spurring interest in taking a new look at local campaign finance rules.
Five members of the new Council, due to take office April 18, say they’re up for rethinking the city’s code, which allows unlimited donations and doesn’t restrict so-called “dark money” groups. Newly elected Richard Skorman, for instance, says he wants to place a measure on the 2019 city ballot limiting donations from individuals, political action committees (PACs) and corporations to $400 each per candidate.
Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Springs Independent.
Dan Njegomir (Colorado Politics)- An oft-criticized feature of Colorado’s campaign-finance law that has been manipulated for years to sling mud and take cheap shots at candidates and political groups is on the verge of reform.
The Colorado Senate’s State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee voted unanimously today to send House Bill 1155 to the full Senate for consideration after no one showed up to testify against the measure, and lawmakers of both parties attested to its need based on their personal experience.
Click here to read the full story in Colorado Politics.
Eric Galatas (Public News Service)- DENVER – Colorado lawmakers are being asked to shine some light on how so-called dark money influences political campaigns in the state. Four new bills introduced in the House would set limits on campaign spending and require additional disclosures for who’s footing the bill.
Peg Perl, senior counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch, says the measures would help voters cut through the noise of seemingly endless campaign ads by following the money.
Click here to listen to the full story on Public News Service.