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Gov. Hickenlooper solicits money for Democrats from his office

Billie Stanton Anleu (Colorado Springs Gazette)- The Colorado GOP is calling for an ethics investigation into Gov. John Hickenlooper’s video soliciting partisan donations while standing in front of the state seal in his office in the Capitol.

A video since deleted from his Facebook page shows Hickenlooper accepting the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund’s “glass ceiling challenge” and donating $20 to the cause, then challenging Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger and state Rep. Daneya Esgar – all Democrats – to contribute $20 each too.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Springs Gazette.


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Report: Weld County school districts fail to comply with transparency law

Tyler Silvy (Greeley Tribune)- More than 40 percent of Colorado school districts leave their residents out of the loop and appear to be in violation of a 2-year-old state law, according to an investigation by Colorado Ethics Watch, a left-leaning research and advocacy nonprofit.

The group researched 177 Colorado school districts, looking at school board websites to see if the boards were in compliance with a 2014 law that requires districts to post meeting minutes within 10 days of those minutes being approved, according to Colorado Ethics Watch.

Click here to read the full story in the Greeley Tribune.

Click here to read Colorado Ethics Watch report on school board minutes.

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Update: Regional Building takes second look at questionable deal

Pam Zubeck (Colorado Springs Independent)- A deal reported in this week’s edition of the Independent, “Partnering up,” that would give Nor’wood Development Group control of $2.1 million worth of property in the lower downtown area is undergoing further examination for its legality.

The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department had agreed to pursue a “participation agreement” in which it would place two properties it owns near the Olympic Museum site into a new entity with Nor’wood properties. The new entity, with Nor’wood having a 63-percent stake, would then develop the property and have first right to buy the Regional Building land.

Now, Regional Building Official Roger Lovell tells the Indy the deal is on hold.

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

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57% of Colorado School Districts In Full Compliance With New Law

Colorado Ethics Watch has researched 177 Colorado school board websites to determine compliance with Senate Bill 14-182 and found that only 57% of school districts are clearly in compliance with the new law.

In June 2014, the law went into effect requiring school boards to post minutes of their meetings within 10 days of approving those minutes. While government entities in Colorado are generally expected to maintain meeting minutes as public documents, this was the first law that specifically directed public entities to post those minutes online.

To determine compliance with the posting requirements, Ethics Watch visited 177 Colorado school board websites to look for posted minutes from the period January through July, 2016. Ethics Watch discovered that 101 school districts (57% of the total) appear to be in full compliance with the posting requirement. These included large districts such as Denver Public Schools and Colorado Springs District 11 but also included numerous very small school districts.

Another 42 school districts, 24% of the total, appear to be out of compliance with the new law because the website reflects that meetings took place during the relevant time period, but minutes of those meetings are not posted on the website. The remaining 34 school districts (19% of the total), mostly very small districts, posted no information about meetings at all, perhaps indicating that no meetings were held during the relevant time period or that these districts may be out of compliance as well.

“We’re pleased that so many school districts are in full compliance, but the percentage is still too low,” said Luis Toro, executive director of Colorado Ethics Watch.  “School board business is of great interest to those living and sending their children to school in that district, and those citizens have a right to easily access information about the decisions made by their elected representatives.”

The 101 school districts that appear to be in compliance include:

Academy 20 Dolores RE-4a Lamar RE-2 Salida R-32
Adams County 14 Douglas County RE-1 Lewis-Palmer 38 Sargent RE-33J
Adams-Arapahoe 28J Durango 9-R Limon Public Schools School District 27J
Akron R-1 Eagle County RE 50 Littleton 6 South Conejos RE-10
Alamosa RE-11J East Grand 2 Lone Star 101 South Routt RE 3
Archuleta County 50 JT East Otero R-1 Mancos RE-6 Springfield RE-4
Aspen 1 Edison 54 JT Mapleton 1 St Vrain Valley RE 1J
Bennet 29J Elbert 200 Meeker RE1 Steamboat Springs RE-2
Big Sandy 100J Elizabeth C-1 Miami/Yoder 60JT Strasburg 31J
Boulder Valley RE 2 Falcon 49 Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 Stratton R-4
Branson RE 82 Fowler R-4J Montrose County RE-1J Summit RE-1
Briggsdale RE-10 Garfield RE-2 North Park R-1 Swink 33
Buena Vista R-31 Gilpin County RE-1 Norwood R-2J Telluride R-1
Burlington RE-6J Granada RE-1 Park (Estes Park) R-3 Thompson R-2J
Calhan RJ-1 Greeley 6 Peyton 23 JT Valley RE-1
Canon City RE-1 Gunnison Watershed RE1J Plateau RE-5 Walsh RE-1
Cherry Creek 5 Hanover 28 Platte Canyon 1 Weld County RE-1
Cheyenne Mountain 12 Hayden RE-1 Platte Valley RE-7 Weld County School District RE-3J
Clear Creek RE-1 Hindsdale county RE-1 Poudre R-1 West End RE-2
Colorado Springs 11 Huerfano RE-1 Prairie RE-11 West Grand 1-JT
Cotopaxi RE-3 Ignacio 11 JT Primero Reorganized 2 Westminster Public Schools
Cripple Creek-Victor RE-1-J Jefferson County R-1 Pueblo County 70 Widefield 3
Crowley Creek RE-1-J Johnstown-Miliken RE-5J Rangely RE-4 Wiggins RE-50(J)
Delta County 50(J) Kiowa C-2 Ridgway R-2 Wiley RE-13 JT
Denver County 1 La Veta Roaring Fork RE-1 Windsor RE-4
Woodland Park RE-2
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Fixing Colorado’s Broken Campaign Finance Enforcement System

Luis Toro (Colorado Independent)- A federal lawsuit is currently challenging Colorado’s unique system under which private citizens enforce campaign finance laws at their own expense in an administrative law court. The suit was filed by the target of one such lawsuit and is being prosecuted with the help of Washington, D.C. based lawyers.

While the suit is being cheered on by opponents of strong regulation of money in politics, those who support such regulation should be concerned about the outsourcing of campaign finance enforcement to the private sector.

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

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Boulder County’s Elise Jones accused of conflict of interest involving sister’s Eco-Cycle job

John Fyer (Longmont Times Call)- A Boulder County resident filed a state ethics complaint Wednesday alleging County Commissioner Elise Jones violated Colorado’s conflict-of-interest laws in a number of votes that could financially benefit Eco-Cycle, the recycling agency headed by her twin sister, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones.

Chuck Wibby, who’s been battling Boulder County over subdivision road repaving, filed the complaint with the Independent Ethics Commission, accusing Elise Jones of active participation in several county board meetings — or at least the pertinent portions of those meetings — involving items affecting Eco-Cycle.

Click here to read the full story in the Longmont Times Call.

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Regional Building Department would inspect construction of its business partner

Pam Zubeck (Colorado Springs Independent)- The government enterprise charged with monitoring development and construction wants to partner with the region’s largest developer for financial gain.

A pending agreement between the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department and Nor’wood Development Group would create a new entity, to which both stakeholders would transfer land. All the property in question lies within the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal Area, where the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame is to be built. Nor’wood, the master developer of the urban renewal area, would then have the sole option of developing the land held by the new entity.

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

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At 125 years, LifeBridge Christian Church builds toward future

Carah Wertheimer (Daily Camera)- Friday night at Longmont’s Roosevelt Park, LifeBridge Christian Church kicked off its month long 125th anniversary celebration and the 30th anniversary, to the day, of OUR Center, a nonprofit it helped found as part of a coalition of area churches.

For the church, the anniversary is an opportunity to double-down on giving.

Click here to read the full story in the Daily Camera.

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Significant funding gap in Colorado fracking fight

Jacy Marmaduke (The Coloradoan)- Committees fighting proposed Colorado ballot measures that would limit fracking have raked in about $15 million in donations this year, more than 35 times the contributions of groups backing the measures.

About 90 percent of the anti-ballot measure donations have come from energy companies, including $10.5 million from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Noble Energy alone.

Click here to read the full story in The Coloradoan.

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Now you can watch Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission in action

Jason Salzman (Colorado Times-Recorder) –

After receiving a state grant to broadcast its meetings live over the internet, as well as a lessson (See it here.) from Colorado Ethics Watch on how easy it is to broadcast on the internet, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission has made its meetings open to the public via video livestream.

Watch the Commission’s August 10 meeting here.

Click here to read the rest of the story at the Colorado Times-Recorder.


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