Skirting Amendment 41
If you’re looking for alternatives to a newly passed constitutional amendment, look no further than the Internet.
A legal list is circulating on-line about Amendment 41, which bars public officials from receiving lobbyist gifts that exceed $50 in value. For instance, a memorandum from lobbyist Robert Ferm on the Economic Development Council of Colorado’s (EDCC) website explains what is permitted under the new law.
The memo is dated early December:
As the Article is implemented, exceptions stated in the text are expected to shape interpretations and discussion. For example, the absolute ban on gifts is modified by provisions indicating that gift or thing of value are not covered if they are:
- A campaign contribution as defined by law (presumably as regulated by the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act).
- An unsolicited item of trivial value less than $50, such as a pen, calendar, plant, book, note pad or other similar item.
- An unsolicited token or award of appreciation in the form of a plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item (whether the $50 limit applies is not stated but presumably applies based on the overall text of the Article).
- Unsolicited informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the recipient’s performance or official duties (again, the $50 limit is not mentioned but expected to apply).
- Admission to, and the cost of food or beverages consumed at, a reception, meal or meeting by an organization before whom the recipient appears to speak or answer questions as part of a scheduled program (applicability of the $50 limit?).
- Reasonable expenses paid by a nonprofit organization or other state or local government for attendance at a convention, fact-finding mission or trip, or other meeting if the person is scheduled to deliver a speech, make a presentation, participate on a panel, or represent the state or local government as long as the non-profit organization receives less than 5% of its funding from for-profit organizations or entities.
- Given by an individual who is a relative or personal friend of the recipient on a special occasion4 (unless that individual This part of the Article does not forbid a gift to a public officers, member of the general assembly, local government official or government employee who is also a member of the lobbyist’s immediate family. is also a professional lobbyist).
- A component of the compensation paid or other incentive given to the recipient in the normal course of employment.
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