Colorado Lobbyist Fined Nearly $74,000 For Failing To Register

Sandra Fish (KUNC) – A Colorado lobbyist is facing steep fines for failing to register. The Secretary of State’s Office notified Collon Kennedy on Thursday that he owes nearly $74,000 in late fees.

The matter came to the attention of the office after state Sen. Irene Aguilar filed a complaint against Kennedy. The Denver Democrat observed Kennedy lobbying for Walmart on a liquor sales bill she opposed. When she looked him up in the Secretary of State’s lobbyist database, she couldn’t find him listed.

“I know that he’s been there lobbying a long time, and I had not realized that he wasn’t registered,” Aguilar said.

Click here to read the rest of the story at KUNC.org.

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Colorado Governor Used Taxpayer Dollars To Hire Amazon’s Lobbyist

David Sirota (International Business Times)- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is preparing potentially lucrative tax and subsidy incentives for retail giant Amazon.com, at the same time his office is employing — and being advised by — Amazon’s lobbying firm.

Federal records reviewed by International Business Times show that at the beginning of 2017, Amazon hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby for the company. A few weeks later, Hickenlooper’s office awarded a $210,000 taxpayer-funded government lobbying contract to Brownstein Hyatt, after the firm helped bankroll Hickenlooper’s election campaign. Brownstein’s then-shareholder and government relations and public policy manager became Hickenlooper’s chief of staff.

Click here to read the full story in the International Business Times.

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Democratic Governor Hires Health Care Industry Lobbyist to Push Obamacare Fixes In Congress

David Sirota (International Business Times)- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who is leading the push for an insurer-friendly alternative to Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal, has hired a Washington lobbying firm that represents insurers and other health care industry companies and groups opposed to single-payer health care. The firm was hired by Hickenlooper’s government office to lobby on health care after it helped bankroll the Democratic governor’s election campaign.

According to federal records reviewed by International Business Times, the Colorado governor’s office in March hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck — a lobbying powerhouse whose lobbyist Doug Friednash became the governor’s chief of staff in 2015. The governor’s office has paid the firm at least $70,000 since March to lobby for Hickenlooper. The firm’s work for the governor has involved lobbying Congress, the Interior Department, the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency on “issues related to federal spending and national service programs.” Brownstein Hyatt has also lobbied federal lawmakers on health care on behalf of Hickenlooper.

Click here to read the full story in the International Business Times.

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What does $80 million buy oil and gas interests? Voter profiles, door knocking and influence at local and statewide levels

Christopher Osher (Denver Post)- The oil and gas industry in the past four years has poured more than $80 million into Colorado to shape public opinion and influence campaigns and ballot initiatives, creating a political force that has had broad implications throughout the state.

Environmentalists and industry officials alike call the effort one of the best-financed operations advocating for drilling in any state. Just two months ago, that political muscle came into play when the industry successfully lobbied Republican legislators to kill legislation tightening regulation in the wake of a fatal home explosion in Firestone that investigators have blamed on a severed gas pipeline.

Click here to read the full story in the Denver Post.

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Report: Colorado’s Ken Salazar was hired by Anadarko after Firestone explosion

Kelsey Ray (Colorado Independent)- Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar identified himself as a lawyer for oil and gas giant Anadarko immediately following a fatal home explosion in Firestone last month, International Business Times and MapLight are reporting.

Investigators say an improperly abandoned flowline attached to an Anadarko well caused the blast.

Salazar, also a former Democratic U.S. Senator who weighed a 2018 bid for governor but decided against it, spoke with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s top attorney, Jackie Melmed, about the explosion, according to an email IBT and MapLight obtained. That email is dated April 26, the same day Hickenlooper’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Frederick-Firestone Fire Department linked the explosion to an Anadarko well nearby.

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

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Ken Salazar Working For Anadarko After Promising To Honor Federal Ethics Law

David Sirota, Lydia O’Neal, Andrew Perez (International Business Times)- Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been working for a major oil and gas company as it has sought to limit political damage after a deadly explosion near one of its Colorado wells, a spokesperson for Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and emails obtained by International Business Times and MapLight say.

One of his state’s most powerful Democrats, Salazar was in touch with Hickenlooper’s office after the blast on behalf of Anadarko Petroleum — a company Salazar helped when he ran the Interior Department under former President Barack Obama.

Salazar, a corporate lawyer, has previously said he would honor federal ethics laws by walling himself off from matters in which he was involved at the agency. Emails show he has been working for Anadarko in Colorado though he has not registered to lobby for the company there, state records show.

Click here to read the full story in the International Business Times.

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One year later, predatory lenders are laying low in Colorado

One year after Ethics Watch published its Shark Attack report on predatory lender spending on Colorado politics, the industry has significantly reduced its profile. With no bills affecting the industry on this year’s legislative agenda, industry participants do not appear to have spent any money on lobbying as of the April 15 reporting deadline. Political contributions were also down during the 2016 election cycle, with only about $13,000 spent by industry participants.

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Denver officials move closer to listing their gifts online and tightening ethics rules

Jon Murray (Denver Post)- Denver city leaders are moving closer to adopting ethics code reforms and revamping lobbyist and gift disclosure rules that will make it easier for citizens to see who’s wooing officials with meals and tickets.

Besides discussion Tuesday of a new dollar limit on event tickets from each donor with a city interest, the most significant proposed changes also may be the simplest: Make elected and appointed officials’ gift disclosures available online, and do it more often — every six months instead of annually.

Click here to read the full story in the Denver Post.

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Want to know who’s giving what to Denver’s elected officials? Soon that info may be online

Erica Meltzer (Denverite)- Elected officials in Denver have to file documents every year that lay out their financial interests — where they earn their money, what property they own, to whom they owe money — and disclose any gifts they’ve received from people outside their family.

But it’s not so easy for the public to see those documents.

“These are things that are on paper and in a file cabinet,” said Peg Perl, senior counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch. “Someone has to go and ask for them during business hours.”

Click here to read the full story in the Denverite.

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Denver lobbyists are reporting few expenses

Mike McKibbin (Colorado Statesman) – Monthly lobbyist financial reports required by the City and County of Denver, designed to help the public know who is lobbying City Council members on what issues, are commonly submitted with no reported expenditures, a review of the documents by the The Colorado Statesman has found.

While no wrongdoing or rules violations are thought to have occurred, the city ordinance that regulates lobbyists by requiring registration and the reports does not identify specific oversight. Like many other areas of municipal and state regulations, it is basically a self-reporting arrangement that is only investigated upon complaint, according to Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell.

Click here to read the rest of the story in the Colorado Statesman.

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