2012 IEC Notes

CLICK ON THE DATE TO SEE THE NOTES FROM THAT MEETING. THEY ARE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.

January 5

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from The Colorado State Purchasing Office regarding travel expenses paid by a state purchasing cooperative.

January 17

Commissioners Grossman and Smith reverse their previous decisions to recuse from the hearing on Complaint 11-01 (IREA v. Baker) under the rule of necessity to ensure a quorum for the hearing on the complaint in the absence of a replacement for Commissioner Butcher, who resigned in December 2011. The IEC discusses a letter ruling request on the calculation of the value of a ticket to a nonprofit fundraising event and an advisory opinion request on travel paid by a state purchasing cooperative. The IEC approves a stipulation regarding the hearing of Complaint 11-03 (Ethics Watch v. McCasky).

February 6

The IEC holds a hearing on Complaint 11-03 against Former Jefferson County Commissioner McCasky.  The IEC asks for further briefing from the parties and sets another hearing for March 19, 2012.  The IEC hears public comment and discusses an advisory opinion request from Logan County Commissioner Edwards.  The IEC approves Letter Ruling 12-01 stating that value of a ticket to a nonprofit event should be calculated as a “gift” based on the amount of the lowest cost ticket to the event available to the public.  The IEC approves Advisory Opinion 12-02 allowing travel paid by a state purchasing cooperative.  The IEC hears an update on Complaints 11-01 against PUC Commissioner Baker, and denies the motion to refer the matter to an ALJ and the motion to dismiss without prejudice. A hearing is set for this complaint on February 28, 2012.  The IEC also hears an update on Complaint 11-12 against the Public Trustee Association of Colorado.  Finally, the IEC deferred consideration of a draft Position Statement regarding travel.

February 21

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Education regarding travel expenses paid by a foreign government.

February 28

The IEC holds a hearing on Complaint 11-01, filed by former Sen. Andy McElhany against PUC Commissioner Matt Baker. The Commission votes 3-1 (Commissioner Grossman dissenting) to dismiss the complaint. Final Order.

March 19

The IEC holds an additional hearing on Complaint 11-03 against Former Jefferson County Commissioner McCasky.  The IEC finds that Commissioner McCasky violated the state ethics code by not publicly disclosing that he applied for the Director position of an organization when the County Commissioners voted to provide grant of public funds to that organization, and by voting in support of that grant.  The IEC also holds a hearing on Complaint 11-12 against the Public Trustees Association of Colorado.  The IEC issues an order requiring the Association to pay fines and provide additional notification and training to its members after providing gifts of hotel lodging that exceeded $53 per person.  The IEC discusses a draft of an advisory opinion to Logan County Commissioner Edwards, but requests additional revisions before taking a vote.  Finally, the IEC discusses a draft position statement regarding the acceptance of travel expenses.  Additional revisions to the draft will be made and presented for further discussion.

March 22

The IEC approves its Final Order on Complaint 11-03 (McCasky). It also approves Advisory Opinion 12-01 (conflict of interest in county purchasing).

April 3

The IEC discusses a draft position statement regarding the acceptance of travel expenses, deciding to solicit further input from the public and affected officials and discuss a revised version at the May meeting.  It also approves Advisory Opinion 12-03 (travel paid by foreign government).

April 23

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from a Jefferson County Commissioner regarding travel expenses to attend a conference

April 24

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from the Public Utilities Commission regarding the waiver of conference fees.

May 7

The IEC discusses a draft position statement regarding privately-funded travel for state and and local public officials.  Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro appears and presents comments on the issue of when an offer to pay travel expenses is a gift to the government, as opposed to the individual government official.  The IEC also approves Advisory Opinion 12-04 (Free Admission to an Event) and Advisory Opinion 12-05 (Acceptance of Travel Expenses).

June 26

The IEC meets telephonically and discusses an Advisory Opinion request from the Colorado Lottery regarding travel by employees to an annual conference.  The IEC determines it needs to review further information before providing a response.

June 28

The IEC meets telephonically and approves Advisory Opinion 12-06 (Acceptance of Travel Expenses to a Conference).

July 30

The IEC discusses an Advisory Opinion request  from the Director of the Colorado Lottery regarding travel to an annual conference.  The IEC then approves Advisory Opinion 12-08 (Acceptance of Travel Expenses from a For Profit Entity).  The IEC also discusses an Advisory Opinion request from Office of the Governor regarding free use of a test vehicle.  The IEC again discussed a draft position statement regarding privately-funded travel for state and local public officials and requested additional revisions before taking a vote.   Finally, the IEC votes 4-0 to dismiss Complaint 12-05 as frivolous and outside the jurisdiction of the IEC.

August 9

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety regarding travel expenses to a conference paid by a nonprofit organization.

August 24

The IEC approves Advisory Opinions 12-11 (Acceptance of Travel Expenses from a Nonprofit) and 12-07 (Waiver of Registration Fee).  The IEC also votes 3-1 to accept a request to clarify Advisory Opinion 12-08 (Acceptance of Travel Expenses and Waiver of Registration Fee) and issues a Revised Advisory Opinion.  The IEC discusses a draft position statement regarding privately-funded travel for state and local public officials, and plans to release a draft for public comment later this month before voting to adopt a final position statement at the October meeting.

September 4

The IEC meets telephonically and approves Position Statement 12-02 (Political Events) which reminds covered individuals that gift limits apply to attendance at, and gifts offered during, political events and political conventions.  Ethics Watch Staff Counsel Peg Perl provides public comment on the proposed position statement during the call.

September 20

The IEC meets telephonically and approves a Draft Position Statement 12-01 (Travel) to be released for public comment.  Interested individuals or groups may appear at the October 1 meeting to offer public comment in person, or submit written public comments by Oct. 1.  Details on the IEC website. The IEC also approves Advisory Opinion 12-09 (Acceptance of a Vehicle).

October 1

The IEC holds a public hearing to take comments on Draft Position Statement 12-01 (Travel). Ethics Watch and others provide spoken and written comments on the draft position statement.  The IEC extends the comment deadline to October 15. The IEC also votes 4-0 to deem Complaint 12-06 non-frivolous and proceed with an investigation.

November 5

The IEC gives discusses Complaint 12-06 concerning a Leadville City Councilperson and instructs the Executive Director to prepare an investigation report and set the matter for a hearing.  The IEC also votes to deem Complaint 12-07 non-frivolous and proceed with an investigation.  The IEC discusses a Revised Draft Position Statement 12-01 (Travel) and invites public comment on this draft.

December 7

The IEC discusses the possibility of adopting a CORA (open records) policy, including charging research and retrieval fees to requestors.  The Commission will discuss a draft policy at the January meeting.  The IEC approves Position Statement 12-01 (Travel).  The Executive Director gave an update concerning the investigation of Complaint 12-06 (regarding a Leadville City Councilperson) and the IEC votes to conduct a public hearing regarding the complaint at the February meeting.  The IEC votes 4-0 to deny a motion to stay the proceedings by the respondent in Complaint 12-07 (regarding Secretary of State Gessler), but also votes 4-0 to approve a request by the respondent for more time to file a response to the Complaint.  A response is due on December 21, and the IEC plans to discuss the progress of the investigation on Complaint 12-07 at the January meeting.

December 20

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from the Public Utilities Commission regarding travel expenses to a workshop paid by a U.S. Government agency.