Ethics Watch Opposes Republican Bid To Operate Super-PAC
On Friday, Colorado Ethics Watch filed a brief in opposition to the Colorado Republican Party's motion for a summary judgment permitting it to operate an "independent expenditure committee" (or Super-PAC) free from political party contribution limits.
Ethics Watch intervened in the suit when it became clear that Secretary of State Scott Gessler and Attorney General John Suthers would not vigorously defend Colorado's political party contribution limits. Secretary Gessler issued an advisory opinion that he believed the party should be allowed to establish a Super-PAC that would raise soft money not subject to political party contribution limits or the prohibition against corporate or labor union contributions to parties.
The Colorado Democratic Party advised the Secretary of State that while it would not support the Republicans' request, it would establish its own Super-PAC if the Republicans are permitted to establish one.
"We're intervening in this case to defend what Colorado voters said they wanted when they put campaign finance limits in the state constitution," said Luis Toro, Director of Ethics Watch. "Political parties have unique power because they are the means through which candidates get on the ballot. Parties can't have it both ways by raising money like an independent group while maintaining their privileged access to the ballot."
As of Monday morning, Ethics Watch had not received a response to the CRP's motion from the Secretary of State. UPDATE: The Attorney General's office has confirmed that it filed no response to the CRP's motion.
The case is Colorado Republican Party v. Gessler, Denver District Court Case No. 2014-CV-31851.