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Denver District Court Judge Bruce Jones ruled Thursday (pdf) that Secretary of State Scott Gessler overreached last summer when, through rulemaking, he raised constitutionally established donation disclosure limits for issue committees in the state. Judge Jones signaled during arguments that he believed Gessler had taken it onto himself to amend the Colorado Constitution, an absurd stretch for a non-lawmaking official such as the secretary of state. Gessler said he is determined to appeal the decision. He dismissed Jones's arguments as mere grandstanding for the press.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed a brief with the attorney general last week supporting an appeal brought by election-politics group Clear the Bench in a campaign finance case. Gessler defended the group as a private attorney in the original case and so his support now as secretary of state is sure to raise more questions about his ability to serve the public without treading across ethical boundaries.
As the head of Clear the Bench Colorado, firebrand Matt Arnold has toured conservative activist events across the state this past year asking Coloradans to vote against retaining members of the state's supreme court. He argued and is arguing in the last weeks before the November elections that members of the bench are liberal activists who disdain the law. In recent days, an administrative courts judge and the elections director for the state informed Arnold that he failed to follow the laws that govern the form of political activity in which he has been engaging.
In ruling Friday in Denver against Clear the Bench Colorado, the small-government committee seeking to oust three state supreme court justices, Judge Robert Spencer...
On Friday, Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer ruled that Clear the Bench Colorado, a group campaigning against retaining three Colorado Supreme Court justices this November, improperly filed with the state as an issues committee and that it must now file as a political committee. The ruling comes after a complaint filed by government watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch. The ruling limits Clear the Bench fundraising and ups the group's obligation to report contributions. It is the latest chapter in a legal battle colored by partisan rhetoric and suspicion and it is likely not the final chapter.