The Colorado Independent,2020
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Who holds the lawmakers to the law? Who watches the watchers? The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission last year operated behind closed doors, ironically shrouding in secrecy the open-government mission voters bestowed upon it when they voted it into existence. Nonprofit Colorado Ethics Watch called out the commission, filing and winning a lawsuit this summer, forcing the commission to open its deliberations to public scrutiny and bringing the matter to the attention of the press. Luis Toro, new director of Colorado Ethics Watch, counts the suit as a major victory and a model for the kind of work he will pursue in the coming year.
In what some might see as a revealing small chapter of contemporary U.S. politics, an ugly school board election in Douglas County has seen the local Republican Party use hard-line ideological arguments to promote preferred "freedom-loving" Republican candidates over teachers' union-endorsed "liberal" Republican candidates. In a race that sees Republicans eating Republicans, the point seems to be less about the candidates than it is about the kind of school system a right-wing GOP would like to install in Douglas County.
Building from reports last month on a possible breach of campaign-finance regulations, Colorado Ethics Watch has filed a Colorado Opens Record Act request to determine whether the government-funded Colorado Senate Minority Office provided the gubernatorial campaign of Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction) with email contact lists. Colorado law prohibits state agencies from providing contributions to a campaign. Ethics Watch contends the email lists are valuable and would amount to a campaign contribution.
In Colorado, the state with the longest ballot in the country, 215,000 new voters have signed up since January. The woman in charge of the state elections department, Holly Lowder, resigned just weeks ago, after her cozy personal relationship with the beneficiary of several state election-related contracts surfaced. Lowder's boss, Secretary of State Mike Coffman, is himself the target of longstanding ethics complaints and is overseeing an election that he is also running in — to replace retiring Congressman Tom Tancredo. And, oh yeah, Colorado could be the deciding state for the presidential election. Hold on tight. It could be a bumpy ride.
The response to yesterday's Colorado Supreme Court ruling reinstating a ban on gifts to lawmakers has ranged from disappointment to delight -- and confusion...
The Denver District Attorney's Office is still investigating a legal complaint filed by a local watchdog group against a state senator, but it has...
A local watchdog group is accusing the Denver District Attorney's Office of stonewalling a criminal investigation into whether a state senator broke the law.Colorado...