Energy Director Tom Plant OK Under A41

It’s hard enough to start a new job, but when former Rep. Tom Plant was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter to head the Office of Energy Management and Conservation, he also came under fire for possibly infringing on the anti-lobbying regulations under Amendment 41. However, the complaints are without warrant insists Ritter’s spokesperson Evan Dreyer.A portion of A41 reads:

“No statewide elected officeholder or member of the General Assembly shall personally represent another persons or entity for compensation before any other statewide elected officeholder or member of the General Assembly, for a period of two years following vacation of office.”

According to Ritter critics, notably on the blog and from Peter Blake of the Rocky Mountain News, Plant would be “lobbying” when he goes before the governor or legislators. Blake made this argument:

That means the Nederland Democrat legally can’t promote to the legislature whatever new programs Ritter might want established. And he especially can’t go before his old colleagues on the Joint Budget Committee in search of cash for the programs.

Dreyer dismissed Blake’s interpretation. “We’ve talked to our lawyers and to the Attorney General’s office,” he said, “and they have ruled that since Tom Plant is making a lateral move in state government, he is not breaking any Amendment 41 laws.” Dreyer added the ruling applies when a former legislator goes into private practice as a lobbyist.

Plant represented House District 13 and was term-limited in 2006. Among the key pieces of legislation Plant sponsored was the Colorado Renewable Energy Act, which later formed the basis for Amendment 37.