All Foggy On The Lobbyist Front

The lobbyist restrictions in the much-embattled Amendment 41 remain in legal limbo for now, and some lobbyists are opting to  abide by the measure and relinquish spending on state lawmakers until there is a clear legal decision on the matter.

But then again, some aren’t.

In July, Colorado Confidential confirmed that summer lobbying was back in action, with one lucky legislator being treated to a lunch totaling almost $100 in June. Lobbyist disclosures for the month of July continue to show expenditures, although capitol influencers are being careful to say what they’re for.Take lobbyist Patrick Boyle for instance, with employers like the First Data Corporation and the Colorado Cable Television Association.

Secretary of State records show Boyle spent exactly $53.07 in the summer months of June and July for “entertainment” purposes, although it does not say who was entertained or where the money went.  Also listed was the $1.89 that went directly toward the purpose of “good will.”

Then there’s Ruben Valdez, who lobbies on behalf of clients like Comcast Cable and Phillip Morris.

Lobbyist disclosures show that Valdez spent approximately $20 for gifts and entertainment. For what purpose? The disclosures reads “no information provided.”

Lobbyist Steve Balcerovich, who represents Xcel Energy and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, spent a total of $318 towards “miscellaneous.”

But not so fast. Leo Boyle, representing lobbying firm Colorado Communique, played it safe by sticking to campaign contributions rather than lawmaker spending. Secretary of State records show he gave $250 to Joan Fitz-Gerald (D-Jefferson County), $100 to Jeanne Labuda (D-Denver), and $50 to Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge).

Meanwhile, Totsy Rees–the lobbyist who treated House Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker) to a $98 lunch in June–is continuing to court the lawmaker, and spent approximately $17 for general legislative issues and the 2008 session in August, although it is not directly said what the money bought. Rees also gave $13 to Rep. Buffie McFadyen (D-Pueblo West) for energy issues.

Even with the legal confusion over Amendment 41, lobbyist are still continuing to spend cash, although the reasons are less than elaborate. 

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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