Corporate fraud initiative makes ballot

A measure that would toughen fraud penalties against corporate executives was approved for the 2008 state ballot on Monday by the secretary of state’s office.

The initiative, which is now officially titled Amendment 53, would make business executives in Colorado liable for fraud offenses associated with their companies and is considered to be one of the toughest laws in the nation targeting corporate crime.

Protect Colorado’s Future, a campaign supported by labor unions and other advocacy groups, submitted petitions to put the measure on the ballot, citing public cases like the trial of Qwest Communications CEO Joseph Nacchio, who was sentenced to six years in federal prison for insider trading offenses before having his conviction overturned on appeal in March.

The corporate fraud proposal is one of two measures submitted for the ballot by Protect Colorado’s Future to counter two other ballot questions that could restrict the way unions organize and collect dues from members.

Another proposal supported by Protect Colorado’s Future would require certain companies to provide a just cause for firing employees, but it has not be certified for the ballot yet.

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

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