Ethics Watch Publishes SOS Response to CORA on Legislative Issues
Today, Ethics Watch is releasing to the public the results of its recent open records request to Secretary of State Scott Gessler. On April 10, 2012 a post on Junction Daily Blog published a copy of an email from Secretary Gessler on his campaign email account asking for help rallying opposition to a bill that would change Colorado's "inactive voter" classification. The email was copied to the Secretary of State's Director of Communications, also on a personal email account.
Ethics Watch submitted a CORA request for all communications, including those sent from/to non-governmental email addresses, between the Secretary and any person regarding various legislative issues related to official business of the Secretary of State's office. Today, Ethics Watch is posting the documents it received from the Secretary of State's office in response to that request.
Under Colorado law, it is permissible for state officials to discuss and conduct official business through personal email accounts as well as through official governmental channels. However, this does not hide such discussions from CORA. As seen in the documents released today, an agency must release communications discussing official business conducted through personal email accounts in response to a CORA request. The use of private email accounts for official business is a subject likely to draw increased attention in the future as this practice becomes more widespread.