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Clear the Bench, a group campaigning to replace Colorado Supreme Court Justices, took what looks like bad advice from Secretary of State staffers last spring when it decided to file with the state as an issue committee rather than as a political action committee. The distinction may sound esoteric but it's exactly the distinction Colorado citizens voted into place in 2004 with Amendment 27 because they believed it could head off the kind of corruption that can swing legal rulings that affect everyday issues-- the safety of drinking water, for example, the outlines of labor rights, the frequency of tax hikes.
Clear the Bench Colorado, a group seeking to replace Supreme Court justices at the ballot this November, was advised by Secretary of State Bernie Buescher's office to register last spring as an issues committee even though the group originally filed as a political action committee, according to documents obtained by the Colorado Independent. Clear the Bench last week was the subject of a complaint filed by Colorado Ethics Watch, which is arguing that the organization is mis-categorized and, as a result, can collect unlimited funds in its effort to target the justices. It's a reality that works against the specific wishes of Colorado citizens who voted to restrict the flow of money into judicial elections to limit the chance for corruption, according to Ethics Watch.
Firebrand anti-tax Tea Party speaker and Clear the Bench Director Matt Arnold posted a broadside at the group's website today in which he railed...
Colorado Ethics Watch filed complaint Wednesday against Clear the Bench Colorado (CBC), alleging the group has been collecting uncapped donations only issues committees are allowed to receive while acting as a political action committee by campaigning against specific judicial candidates. Clear the Bench founder Matthew Arnold called the complaint a spurious attack and said he has been acting under guidelines developed for Clear the Bench by the Secretary of State.