No hot water for lobbyist Ben Waters after ‘miscommunication’

Last week, Rep. Jon Becker, a Fort Morgan Republican, threatened lobbyist Ben Waters with an ethics complaint for lying about Gov. John Hickenlooper opposing a bill that would help remedy long-standing conservation easement problems.

This week Becker’s saying he, Waters and the Governor’s office met and the lobbyist’s untrue claim about Hickenlooper was the result of a “miscommunication,” not a lie.

RELATED: Lobbyist Ben Waters may be in hot water for lying to lawmakers

The bill that led to the dispute was House Bill 16-1174, which would have allowed those fighting the Department of Revenue over disputed tax credits to take the Department to court without having to post bonds, sometimes in the millions of dollars.

Waters was working with the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, an industry group working against the bill.

The measure was killed by the Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee last Friday on a party-line 7-6 vote.

Waters had played a major role in rewriting the bill, but strongly opposed Becker’s choice of a Senate sponsor.

Becker plans to bring another bill to the Statehouse on the issue before the end of the session, which is three weeks from Wednesday.

In a statement to The Independent, Waters said, “In the fourth quarter of any legislative session, passions run high, but I did not lie and am glad cooler heads prevailed. I will continue to strongly defend the work of the conservation community to keep Colorado the best place to live in America.

“Representative Becker is a strong advocate for rural Colorado and I look forward to working with the good state representative from Fort Morgan moving forward.”

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.


  1. The Republican Party has devolved into this…what is bad for the people is good for the GOP…never trust a republican to do the correct thing…These folks are not going to help America, nor Colorado…they have been corrupted by the Koch Machine…

  2. Land Trusts control $45 million per year in appropriations through appointments to the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission (CEOC). This lobbyist represents the existing corruption of Land Trusts and the real estate based industries (i.e. tax-credit brokers, conservation easement appraisers, realtors selling “pre-vetted real estate for easements) who prey on landowners to fuel the existence of their program. The corruption will end when 3rd party sale of Colorado Tax Credits ends along with the yearly $45 million appropriation. Only then will conservation be based purely on a desire for landowners to preserve resources. Removing the power and money will finally end the twisting of the program by its regulators for their personal gain at tax-payer expense.

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