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Tag Archives: transparency

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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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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Sunshine Week: Ethics Watch Releases “Campaign Finance Basics”

In honor of Sunshine Week, which promotes public access to government information, Colorado Ethics Watch has created a new tool to assist citizens and interested groups in understanding how to access and understand campaign finance contributions, expenses and reports in Colorado.

Colorado Campaign Finance Basics, a new tool posted to the Ethics Watch website, reveals:
• How to find the money involved in Colorado county or state political campaigns
• Useful websites for Colorado county or state campaign finance research
• Where to find out how much money is spent on political advertisements in Colorado county or state campaigns
• What Colorado county or state political campaigns have contribution limits

“Campaign finance can be a complicated issue to understand,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “Colorado Campaign Finance Basics helps Coloradans find out the groups and money involved in their Colorado county and state political campaigns.”

Colorado Campaign Finance Basics outlines the process to check the Colorado Secretary of State TRACER system and suggests checking the IRS forms of nonprofits and other political organizations to find otherwise unreported contributions. Information can also be found in political files or public inspection files that show the purchase of advertisement space for political purposes by groups or individuals, searchable on the Federal Communication Commission website.

While Colorado municipal elections fall under the jurisdiction of the municipality rather than the Colorado Secretary of State, it is possible to find local campaign finance disclosures and reporting in similar avenues through the appropriate municipality.

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