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.
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.
Corey Hutchins (Colorado Independent)- The attorney who filed a lawsuit to help former lawmaker Jon Keyser secure a spot on the U.S. Senate Republican primary ballot also advises the Colorado Republican Party.
The state GOP pledges to remain neutral in Republican primaries. Party spokesman Kyle Kohli says there are only a handful of attorneys who do the kinds of political work needed by the party and by Keyser’s campaign. Others contacted for this story also pointed to the small pool of Republican election attorneys in Colorado.
Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.
January 14 – Today, Ethics Watch submitted comments opposing proposed changes to the Colorado Election Rules that would increase the chances of partisan mischief in elections and exceed the authority of the Colorado Secretary of State.
The two rules would (1) allow political parties to dictate to clerks which election judges should perform the task of signature verification and (2) apply electioneering prohibitions to drop-box locations, which would increase opportunities for harassing election complaints if, for example, a car with a political bumper sticker inadvertently drove within 100 feet of a drop box located on a public street.
The hearing on the proposed rules is today at 9:00 a.m. Ethics Watch will not submit additional testimony at the hearing.
Click here to read Ethics Watch’s comments.