Tag Archives: campaign finance

Ethics Watch Comments on Proposed Campaign Finance Rule Changes

Today, Colorado Ethics Watch submitted comments on proposed changes to the Campaign and Political Finance Rules. Secretary of State Wayne Williams issued the proposed rules on August 30, 2017 and invited comment.

Ethics Watch commented on two aspects of the proposed rules. First, it supported the Secretary’s effort to clarify the difference between political committees and independent expenditure committees and urged him to include in the rules a statement that political committees may make contributions to candidates and political parties but independent expenditure committees may not. Second, it opposed the Secretary’s rollback of a rule allowing Coloradans to file campaign finance complaints by fax or email. It urged the Secretary to restore email filing, or at a minimum, to establish rules permitting filing by mail or private delivery service.

Click here to read Ethics Watch’s comments.

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Denver proposal aims to force disclosure of independent spending as “dark money” trickles down

Companies, groups and other big spenders who work to support or defeat candidates and ballot measures in Denver’s local elections increasingly are operating in the shadows, city officials and good-government advocates say.

Less than two years before the next municipal election, a Denver City Council proposal seeks to close transparency gaps that allow such spending to go unreported as long as the people behind it don’t coordinate directly with a candidate’s campaign.

Such activity by super PAC-style groups has mushroomed in federal and state elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 took the handcuffs off independent spending by corporations and labor unions, making restrictions on them unconstitutional.

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

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Ethics Watch Supports Denver Campaign Finance Reform

Yesterday, the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office submitted proposed language for an ordinance to update the City’s campaign finance disclosure system and improve enforcement. The language was the product of a working group that included Colorado Ethics Watch. Ethics Watch Executive Director Luis Toro released the following statement:

“We thank Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson for devoting her office’s time and energy to the important task of modernizing and improving Denver’s campaign finance ordinance. We hope City Council will see that, with input from members of the working group, the proposal balances the burden on candidates and outside groups to correctly track and report their contributions and spending with the people’s right to cast an informed ballot.”

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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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Black hole in campaign finance sucking all the light out of politics

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.

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The deep-pocketed outside groups that spent millions to influence the race for the state Capitol

The top race for the state legislature in 2016, at least in terms of spending by the candidates, was the contest between Republican incumbent Sen. Laura Woods of Westminster and Democratic challenger and former state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada.

Click here to read the rest of the story at the Colorado Independent.

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Political consultant files legal challenge to stop Denver campaign finance reform proposal

A proposed Denver ballot initiative aimed at reining in big-donor campaign contributions and setting up a public financing system for city elections now faces a challenge in court.

While backers that include Colorado Common Cause and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) are working to collect nearly 5,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot, David Kenney — a political consultant and lobbyist who is active in the business community — recently filed a challenge in Denver District Court.

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

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