• Federal judge finds portions of Colorado’s campaign finance complaint process are unconstitutional

    In a ruling with a major impact on Colorado elections, a federal judge this week found that portions of the state’s campaign finance procedures centering on private citizens’ ability to file complaints are unconstitutional.

    Judge Raymond Moore’s Tuesday decision, on campaign finance law enforcement procedures that voters added to the state’s constitution in 2002, focuses on how when complaints are filed they are automatically forwarded — without review for merit by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office — to an administrative law judge.

    Moore’s ruling essentially means that there now has to be some kind of screening mechanism put in place to prevent frivolous cases that can leave defendants facing high attorney fees.

    “How is it reasonable to encroach upon First Amendment speech by allowing a person to enforce campaign finance regulations when that person may have no experience of campaign finance regulations?” Moore asked in his 26-page ruling.

    Colorado’s deputy secretary of state, Suzanne Staiert, said the decision now means her office has to find a way to satisfy the vetting requirements.

    “We have to decide in the next few days, because right now I don’t think we can send a complaint over,” Staiert said Wednesday. “It’s a little upheaval, but we’ll figure it out so there’s an enforcement mechanism for the (2018) election.”

    Staiert said one option is for elections officials to add screening procedures through a rulemaking process.

    Related Articles

    “The court’s ruling leaves in place the substantive requirements of Colorado’s campaign finance law but strikes down the enforcement mechanism,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, said in a written statement. “We are considering our options for further review, but in the meantime we will work collaboratively with interested parties to adopt temporary rules providing an enforcement mechanism.”

    Williams also vowed to address the issue with state lawmakers through legislation in 2019. (He is up for re-election in November.)

    The ruling stemmed from a case involving a Strasburg woman who placed ads in her local newspaper about a school board race. The Secretary of State’s Office says the school district’s superintendent filed a complaint against her, which was then forwarded to an administrative law judge.

    The judge found in the woman’s favor, Staiert said, though the process cost her thousands of dollars.

    Next on feeds.denverpost.com

    System evaluation: This is  truth  with an error of 50%

    User rating: This is  truth  with an error of 50%

    You can give your personal estimation of the news to underline their conformity to real facts. By voting, you teach the system to distinguish truth and false. Your input will help people get independent view on things happening.

    False
    Truth