Ethics

Pugliese vote on tax break was proper, attorney says

Greg Ruland (Grand Junction Sentinel) – Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese’s vote to give a property tax break worth more than $3,500 to a former law client was proper, County Attorney Patrick Coleman said earlier this week.

The vote was proper and Pugliese’s relationship with the former client at the time of the vote imposed no obligation on her to disclose it, Coleman said.

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Ethics Commission runs to Supreme Court in bid to avoid accountability

Late Friday afternoon, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (“IEC”) asked the Colorado Supreme Court to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit filed by Ethics Watch in May for judicial review of the IEC’s 3-2 decision to dismiss a complaint, filed by Ethics Watch, asking whether Elbert County Commissioner Robert Rowland violated ethical standards of conduct when he cast the deciding vote to authorize the county to pay for an appeal of a campaign finance award against himself personally. The extraordinary petition asks the Supreme Court to hold that IEC decisions to dismiss complaints without a hearing cannot be reviewed by any court.

The IEC’s argument is based on the constitutional provision stating that complaints may be dismissed without a hearing only if they are frivolous, and frivolous complaints must be maintained as confidential. The IEC maintains that this means it may not disclose a dismissed complaint even to a court. Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones rejected the IEC’s argument and ruled that Ethics Watch’s suit may go forward. Ethics Watch had argued that a routine confidentiality order would address the IEC’s concerns.

“We are at a loss to understand why the IEC wants to make a Supreme Court case out of a simple failure to proceed on a case that two of the five commissioners thought deserved a hearing,” said Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “Nevertheless, we will fight to make sure the Ethics Commission does the job it was established to do, even if that means going to the Colorado Supreme Court.”

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Local government emails in Ashley Madison database

Jeremy Jojola (9News) – Taxpayers may also be getting cheated as government employees use their official work accounts to conduct extramarital affairs.

9Wants to Know found numerous local government email accounts in the Ashley Madison database acquired and uploaded by hackers.

“Any kind of misuse, including for your own personal affairs is something that should be avoided,” said Luis Toro of Colorado Ethics Watch, a government watchdog group. “Government emails, government resources at your computer are supposed to be used for public business only.”

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Cynthia Coffman’s private-meeting invitation irks SW Colorado public officials

Susan Greene (Colorado Independent) –

At the peak of the Animas River crisis, Cynthia Coffman reached out to the Durango City Council and La Plata County Commission and invited each member to dinner. But several of her would-be guests didn’t appreciate what the state Attorney General planned to serve up.

Some are blasting Coffman for ignoring Colorado’s open meetings law. As the state’s top law enforcement official, they say, she should have known better than to try to gather them together in a closed meeting.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.

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