Lobbyist’s Gift Raises Legal Questions About Disclosure
While some fans were in a frenzy over the Colorado Rockies’ World Series adventure, lobbyists at the state legislature were also in a frenzy of sorts, giving lawmakers free tickets to sold-out games, and in some cases, much-coveted and hard-to-score tickets to the World Series.
Now one Rockies gift has raised legal questions for a veteran lobbyistIn October, joyfully titled “Rocktober” by Rockies fans, Sen. Jennifer Veiga (D-Denver) was given two tickets to a playoff game by veteran lobbyist Bill Artist, who represents a long list of clients at the state Capitol, including the Colorado Rockies, Wal-Mart, and McDonalds.
Such gifts aren’t unusual. For instance, Sen. Veiga was also given two tickets to the World Series (with a cash value of $500) by Qwest lobbyist John McCormick. However, lobbyist disclosure reports at the Secretary of State’s office appear to show that Artist never disclosed the playoff tickets to Sen. Veiga, a gift that was worth $160 according to Veiga’s own quarterly gifts and honoraria report, a form legislators are required to fill out disclosing gifts from professional lobbyists.
When asked about the report, Sen. Veiga confirmed that she had received the tickets, although she admitted the gift could have come from one of Artist’s associates.
A search of the Secretary of State’s disclosure filings found no expenditure reports detailing the tickets to Sen. Veiga, even for filings from Artist’s associates.
“I presume there must be some mistake,” Artist says, noting that he will look into the matter.
The Secretary of State’s office did not return a request for comment as to why or how a mistake may have occurred.
According to state regulations, professional lobbyists are required to file monthly disclosure reports detailing expenditures and income. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $5,000 or possible jail time.