No Presents For Lawmakers

Say goodbye to Broncos tickets, and bid adieu to free golf.

Under Amendment 41 state officials are barred from receiving gifts that are over $50 in value, and the new law is quite a change for some legislators.

In February, Colorado Confidential reported on gifts and honoraria disclosures that had been filed with the Secretary of State (SOS) since 2004, which showed that leading lawmakers had received their share of perks from lobbyists and other organizations.

Now recent disclosures filed with the SOS paint a different picture.Take Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany for example. The Republican from Colorado Springs has reported $6,693.93 in gifts. But he hasn’t reported any presents since amendment took effect this January.

Then there’s House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, who had $5,135.90 in gifts during the previously mentioned time period.  He hasn’t reported receiving any gifts this year either, although Merchants Mortgage & Trust Corporation, LLC and the Compass Bank PAC did give $400 contributions to his candidate committee in January.

Speaker Pro Tem Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge had reported $5,490.65 in presents, and new documents show she was paid $29 to attend a March awards luncheon sponsored by the Community College of Denver.  But that’s it for gifts in 2007. Jahn also received $3,776.18 in contributions to her political committee in January, before the legislative session started.

Among the General Assembly’s leadership, Reps. Alice Madden and David Balmer have not reported any gifts for this year. Neither has Senate Assistant Minority Leader Nancy Spence, a Republican from Centennial.

An SOS representative confirmed that reports from Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald , Senate President Pro Tem Peter Groff, and Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon had not yet been received as of this afternoon. The SOS also had no current report for House Minority Leader Mike May.

According to the SOS, this could either be because the lawmakers did not receive any gifts or for other processing reasons. Stay tuned.

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