The start of a new legislative session is months away, but that hasn’t stopped lobbyists from spending cash on Colorado legislators while Amendment 41 remains in limbo.Amendment 41, the state law passed in the 2006 election banning gifts from lobbyists to public officials, is not in effect because of a Denver District Court court injunction in May. The measure is currently being heard by the state Supreme Court, leaving lobbyists free to operate.
One example is Roberta Kirscht Robinette, a lobbyist for companies like AT&T and Centura Health. Disclosure reports with the Secretary of State’s Office show that Robinette spent approximately $380 in the months of September and August lobbying 11 legislators, including Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker) and former Democratic lawmaker Mike Cerbo, who is now executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO.
Patrick Boyle, a lobbyist for clients like First Data Corporation and the Colorado Cable Television Association reported spending over $60 in September towards things like “entertainment” and “goodwill.” Boyle also used the same definitions in the summer when he disclosed his expenditures.
Another lobbyist, Leo Boyle, representing the public advocacy firm Colorado Communique, went an indirect route and spent cash on campaign contributions rather than gifts, disclosure reports show. State Rep. Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) netted $50, state Rep. Jeanne Labuda (D-Arapahoe County) received $100, and state Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald, who represents District 16 and serves as the president of the state Senate , was given $250. Campaign contributions are not regulated under Amendment 41.
Legislators are required to disclose gifts given by lobbyists quarterly, and lobbyists are required to disclose expenditures and income on a monthly basis.