Marianne Goodland (Colorado Politics) – In just over two weeks, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission will hold a formal hearing to determine whether Sen. Vicki Marble violated the state’s ethics law concerning gifts to lawmakers.
The Commission worked through pre-trial motions Thursday in preparation for the Jan. 8 meeting, which could feature testimony by Marble, an Extraction Oil & Gas employee and Marble’s legislative aide. The five-member group could rule on the complaint following the hearing.
Last June the ethics body decided to investigate a complaint filed against the Fort Collins Republican by Sarah Hall Mann of Broomfield. The complaint deals with a Feb. 15 town hall hosted by Marble at a Broomfield restaurant. The event was paid for by Brian Cain, a media relations spokesperson for Extraction Oil & Gas.
Click here to read the rest of the story in Colorado Politics.
Julia Rensch (Loveland Reporter-Herald) – A court brief filed by the Colorado Municipal League on Wednesday bearing signatures from the Loveland city attorney’s office aims to re-assert the rights of home-rule cities, towns and counties to handle their own governance issues.
The brief weighs in on an issue of constitutional interpretation, which may ultimately need to be resolved before the Colorado Supreme Court.
Click here to read the rest of the story in the Loveland Reporter-Herald.
John Fryar (Boulder Daily Camera)- Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission has dismissed a Boulder County resident’s complaint in which he alleged that County Commissioner Elise Jones had violated state conflict-of-interest laws.
The complainant, Chuck Wibby, had accused Jones of actively participating in several meetings — and not adequately recusing herself — when the Board of County Commissioners discussed and voted on items that could potentially have financially benefited Eco-Cycle, the agency headed by Jones’ sister, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones.
Click here to read the full story in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Jon Murray (Denver Post)- A state employee who also serves as a city councilwoman in Aurora should follow Colorado’s Amendment 41 rather than her city’s less-stringent gift rules, the state’s ethics commission said Monday.
Councilwoman Angela Lawson works by day as the lobbyist program manager in the secretary of state’s office. She and her employer have been waiting more than a year for an advisory opinion from the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission following her election in November 2015. The request was delayed after the five-member commission decided first to sort out how to approach home-rule cities that have their own ethics codes and don’t follow the state’s Amendment 41, passed by voters in 2006.
Click here to read the full story in the Denver Post.
Jon Murray (Denver Post)- Colorado’s voter-passed Amendment 41 put the clamp down on most gifts to government officials and employees a decade ago — but not in the state’s largest cities, which have set or kept less-restrictive local ethics rules.
Now, the state’s ethics commission has delivered a shot across the bow of Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs and dozens of other home-rule cities, signaling that such independence may be in jeopardy.
Click here to read the full story in the Denver Post.
John Fyer (Longmont Times Call)- A Boulder County resident filed a state ethics complaint Wednesday alleging County Commissioner Elise Jones violated Colorado’s conflict-of-interest laws in a number of votes that could financially benefit Eco-Cycle, the recycling agency headed by her twin sister, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones.
Chuck Wibby, who’s been battling Boulder County over subdivision road repaving, filed the complaint with the Independent Ethics Commission, accusing Elise Jones of active participation in several county board meetings — or at least the pertinent portions of those meetings — involving items affecting Eco-Cycle.
Click here to read the full story in the Longmont Times Call.
Jason Salzman (Colorado Times-Recorder) –
After receiving a state grant to broadcast its meetings live over the internet, as well as a lessson (See it here.) from Colorado Ethics Watch on how easy it is to broadcast on the internet, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission has made its meetings open to the public via video livestream.
Watch the Commission’s August 10 meeting here.
Click here to read the rest of the story at the Colorado Times-Recorder.
Today, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission for the first time made its meetings open to the public via video livestream on the internet. The Ethics Commission made the move after Ethics Watch conducted a live demonstration of how easy it is to broadcast via internet at the Commission’s June 30 meeting. The Commission received a state grant over a year ago to broadcast its meetings live via the internet.
“We’re glad the Ethics Commission has finally joined the internet age by broadcasting its meetings on-line,” said Luis Toro, Executive Director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “The Ethics Commission’s meetings are of interest to people around the state, many of whom cannot travel to downtown Denver to watch the meetings in person. Today’s step is a victory for transparency and accountability.”
Colorado Ethics Watch has been monitoring the activities of the Independent Ethics Commission since its inception. It operates a website, Eye on the IEC, dedicated to providing information about the Commission’s activities.
The Independent Ethics Commission was created by Colorado voters in 2006 to hear complaints and issue advisory opinions on ethics laws. State elected officials and employees in the executive and legislative branches, and many county and municipal elected officials and employees, are under the jurisdiction of the Commission.
Watch the livestream of the August 10 meeting here.
Watch Ethics Watch’s demonstration at the June 30 meeting here.
Today, Colorado Ethics Watch submitted written comments to the Independent Ethics Commission on its draft position statement regarding the application of Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution, the Ethics in Government Amendment, to home rule cities. Ethics Watch told the IEC that it went too far in requiring home rule cities, such as Denver and Colorado Springs, to enact laws at least as strict as those found in Article XXIX. Ethics Watch agreed with the IEC that in order to opt out of the ethics system set out by the Amendment, a home rule city must have some sort of enforcement authority for its ethics system.
Article XXIX provides that home rule jurisdictions may opt out of the Amendment’s coverage if they enact laws “that address the matters covered by this article.” Last month, the Commission released a draft position statement that would require home rule cities to submit their ethics codes for approval and have laws at least as stringent as those found in Article XXIX if they wished to opt out from Article XXIX and IEC jurisdiction. Ethics Watch disagrees and joins other commenters in arguing that a home rule jurisdiction can have different and even weaker ethics rules so long as they have a gift rule and an enforcement mechanism.
Ethics Watch also urged the Commission not to act until it is at full strength. The empty seat on the Commission happens to be the seat reserved for a representative of local government; Ethics Watch believes the views of the local government commissioner will be very helpful toward resolving this issue.
Ethics Watch submitted two sets of written comments during the discussion phase of this process. Ethics Watch’s comments today are the first submitted since the IEC published a written draft statement.
Click here to read Ethics Watch’s comments.
Click here to read all comments filed with the Commission on this topic.
Marianne Goodland (Colorado Independent)- The conflict over a lack of transparency at Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission came to a head Thursday when Colorado Ethics Watch set up a live video feed to allow the public, at least in Denver, to watch and listen to the commission’s meeting.
That didn’t sit well with Commission Chair Bill Leone, who directed the group to shut down the broadcast.
Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.