Eye on the IEC 2009

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Colorado Ethics Watch has been actively monitoring the activities of the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (“IEC”) since the IEC first met in 2008. To provide an independent source of information about IEC activities, Ethics Watch has compiled this chronology of IEC activities and related documents submitted to or produced by the IEC. Ethics Watch will update the information regularly so please check back often.

Dec. 29, 2009

The Denver District Court orders that Advisory Opinion 09-04 (Turkey trip) be vacated for violation of the Open Meetings Law.  Order.

Dec. 28, 2009

Commissioners Smith and Grossman meet with Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey to discuss a possible IEC proposal to relocate the IEC to judicial offices.

Dec. 21, 2009

The IEC discussed the proposed advisory opinion on governmental exchange organizations and decided to delay setting a hearing on Complaint 09-08 pending further investigation.  Commission Chair Matt Smith announced that he and Commissioner Dan Grossman intend to meet with Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey regarding the possibility that the IEC would relocate into judicial branch offices.

Dec. 17, 2009
The IEC's second staff member, Doug Platt, begins work with the Commission.

Dec. 16, 2009
The IEC voted to issue an opinion regarding the application of the gift ban to things of value received from intergovernmental policy organizations. The IEC voted to proceed with a hearing on Complaint 09-08 in early March 2010.

Dec. 4, 2009

The IEC discussed how to divide job responsibilities after the anticipated addition of a second staff member later in the month.  The IEC debated a potential position statement regarding the interpretation of the gift ban exemption for gifts paid by certain nonprofits or "other state or local government."  The IEC also discussed possible rule revisions to be considered in 2010.  The IEC received an update from Executive Director Jane Feldman regarding the status of the investigation of Complaint 09-08.

Nov. 20, 2009

The IEC discusses personnel matters and litigation in executive session.  In public session, they are briefed by Jennifer Okes and Monica Cortez-Sanger of the Department of Personnel and Administration regarding state personnel rules.  Also in public session, the IEC adopts Letter Ruling 09-06 regarding tours provided to legislators by corporations and trade associations, and Position Statement 09-07 regarding the definition of "independent contractor" under Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution.  The IEC dismisses Complaint 09-13 for lack of jurisdiction and 09-14 for failure to state an ethical violation.  Order on Complaint 09-13Order on Complaint 09-14.

Nov. 10, 2009

The Denver District Court dismisses part of Ethics Watch's suit against the IEC regarding Advisory Opinion 09-05, ruling that advisory opinions are “neither the issuance of a general regulation nor the
determination of particular rights in adjudication.”  Order re Motion to Dismiss.

Oct. 29, 2009

A resident of Nunn files Complaint 09-14 against several officials of the Town of Nunn.

Oct. 20, 2009

The IEC approved Advisory Opinion 09-09 regarding free admission to events by public employees accompanying the Governor.  The IEC conducted a public interview of Rex Burns, the subject of Complaint 09-08.  The IEC also spoke with Luis Toro, Senior Counsel of Colorado Ethics Watch, regarding possible changes to the IEC Rules of Procedure. The IEC also discussed the definition of "independent contractor" for purposes of interpreting Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution.  The IEC voted to partially dismiss and partially stay Complaint 09-12 (which has not been released to the public).  Order on Complaint 09-12.

Oct. 15, 2009
A property owner filed a complaint against a homeowners' association in Teller County.

Oct. 8, 2009

The Larimer County Attorney files a response to Complaint 09-08 on behalf of Rex Burns.

Sept. 21, 2009

The IEC approved Letter Ruling 09-05, regarding a request to pay expenses and a per diem to legislators attending a conference sponsored by a non-profit.  The IEC also approved Position Statement 09-03, regarding future employment, and Position Statement 09-04, regarding the definition of "persons" under Amendment 41.

Sept. 14, 2009

The IEC heard a presentation from Judge Matthew Azer of the Office of Administrative Courts and Rich Gonzales, Executive Director of the Department of Personnel and Administration.  The IEC heard a request for reconsideration of Advisory Opinion 09-02.  The IEC considered a letter ruling request to pay per diem expenses to state legislators who attend conferences.  The IEC also considered three position statements.

Sept. 4, 2009

Ethics Watch presents written suggestions for reform of the IEC complaint process.

Aug. 31, 2009

The Denver District Court rules in favor of The Colorado Independent in its Open Meetings Act lawsuit against the IEC.  August 31 Order.

Aug. 24, 2009

The IEC issues Position Statement 09-02, Restrictions on Representation After Leaving Office, and Advisory Opinion 09-08, Acceptance of a Fellowship.

Aug. 21, 2009

The IEC approves a position statement regarding the anti-revolving door provision of Article XXIX.  The IEC discusses draft advisory opinions and position statements and votes to deny reconsideration to two complaints (09-05 and 09-06) that were previously dismissed without a hearing.  The IEC voted to dismiss Complaint 09-11 as frivolous and to find Complaint 09-08 non-frivolous.

Aug. 6, 2009

The Colorado Independent publishes the first IEC executive session audiotapes released to the public as a result of the Center for Independent Media lawsuit.  March 19 Executive Session tapes

July 31, 2009

The Court in the Center for Independent Media lawsuit against the IEC holds a hearing on an order to show cause why tapes of allegedly unlawfully convened executive sessions should not be released to the public.  As a result of the suit, the IEC agrees to release some executive session audiotapes.

July 30, 2009
Ethics Watch files its response to the IEC's motion to dismiss its challenge to Advisory Opinion 09-04 (Turkey trip).

July 23, 2009

The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 09-06, Service on the Board of a Non-Profit Entity, in response to a request from Secretary of State Bernie Buescher.

July 22, 2009

The IEC and plaintiffs file a joint status report in the Developmental Pathways case. Status report.

July 21, 2009

The IEC approves a revised position description for the still-vacant assistant director position.  The IEC votes to approve an advisory opinion regarding potential conflicts of interest by the Secretary of State and a position statement regarding the "revolving door" ban in Article XXIX, § 4 of the Colorado Constitution. The IEC adjourned to executive session to discuss pending litigation.  The IEC also voted to dismiss five complaints (09-05, 09-06, 09-07, 09-09 and 09-10) without a hearing.

July 17, 2009

The IEC files a motion to dismiss part of Ethics Watch's suit regarding Advisory Opinion 09-04.  Motion to Dismiss.

July 15, 2009

Governor Ritter appoints Sall-y Hopper (R-Golden), who previously served as a Commissioner appointed by the state Senate, to a four-year term on the IEC.

July 7, 2009

The IEC met by telephone to discuss possible budget cuts and a meeting schedule.  The IEC voted to offer to reduce its planned assistant director position from full time to a .6 FTE as part of a statewide budget cutting effort.  The IEC then adjourned to executive session to discuss pending litigation.

July 1, 2009

Commissioner Dan Grossman begins a four year term on the IEC, replacing Commissioner Sally Hopper, whose term expired, as the commissioner appointed by the Colorado Senate.

June 30, 2009

Complaint 09-09 is filed against an administrative law judge and Complaint 09-10 is filed against the Lake County Commissioners.

June 25, 2009

James L. Fry files Complaint 09-08 against Rex Burns of the Boxelder Basin Regional Stormwater Authority.

June 17, 2009

The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 09-07, "Acceptance of a Prize by Governmental Employees."

June 16, 2009

The IEC discusses the status of the hiring process for the assistant director position.  The IEC debates and votes on Advisory Opinion 09-07 regarding acceptance of prizes.  The IEC discusses lessons learned from the public hearing in the Coffman case and possible changes to the way the IEC handles complaints.

June 1, 2009

Complaint 09-07 is filed against five employees of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) regarding their handling of a civil rights complaint.

May 29, 2009

In response to the court's order in the IEC's Open Records Act litigation with Ethics Watch, the IEC makes advisory opinion and letter ruling files open for inspection.

May 20, 2009

The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 09-05, Acceptance of a Fellowship from a Nonprofit Entity, and advises Ethics Watch that, in response to the Denver District Court ruling in its CORA suit with Ethics Watch, it will permit inspection of documents regarding non-frivolous complaints dismissed without a hearing during 2009. The Center for Independent Media, publishers of the Colorado Independent, and Wendy Norris file suit against the IEC for alleged violations of the Open Meetings Law.  Center for Independent Media complaint.

May 20, 2009

Complaint 09-06 is filed against the President, Provost and two employees of Fort Lewis College over the removal of the complainant's name from a list of approved art exhibitors at the Fort Lewis Art Gallery.

May 19, 2009

Meeting of the IEC. Monica Cortez-Sangster of the Department of Personnel and Administration briefed the IEC on the status of recruiting for the IEC's trainer position.  The IEC voted to hire Jane Feldman for the Executive Director position that had been upgraded during the legislative session.  The IEC discussed Advisory Opinion 09-05, Acceptance of a Fellowship from a Nonprofit Entity).  The IEC then adjourned into executive session to discuss pending and imminent litigation.

May 18, 2009

Ethics Watch files suit in Denver District Court to overturn Advisory Opinion 09-04.  ComplaintExhibits to Complaint.

May 15, 2009

Complaint (09-05) is filed against two employees of the Colorado Department of Education related to the same issue involving the Steamboat Springs School District that was the subject of Complaint 09-03.

May 14, 2009

The Denver District Court rules in favor of Ethics Watch in the Colorado Open Records Act litigation initiated by the IEC.  Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order and Judgment.

May 12, 2009

Trial is held in Denver District Court of the Colorado Open Records Act lawsuit between the IEC and Ethics Watch.

May 6, 2009

The IEC hears a report from the Executive Director and then moves into executive session.

May 5, 2009

Colorado Senate President Peter Groff appoints former Senator Dan Grossman to a term on the IEC beginning July 1, 2009.  Sen. Grossman will take the seat being vacated by Commissioner Sally Hopper at the expiration of her term.

April 28, 2009

The IEC and Ethics Watch file trial briefs in their Colorado Open Records Act lawsuit.  IEC Trial BriefEthics Watch Trial Brief.

April 21, 2009

The IEC discusses hiring an assistant director and then adjourns to executive session.

April 17, 2009

The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 09-04, Travel Expenses from a Nonprofit Entity - Travel to Turkey

April 16, 2009
The IEC meets telephonically to discuss an advisory opinion.

April 14, 2009

The IEC issues its decision in the Mike Coffman case, Complaint No. 08-01.  IEC Decision on Complaint No. 08-01.

April 8, 2009

The IEC releases Advisory Opinion 09-02, regarding the payment of bar membership fees on behalf of administrative law judges, and Advisory Opinion 09-03, on payment for tickets for use by Colorado State Patrol employees assigned to security details.

April 7, 2009

The IEC and plaintiffs file a joint status report in the Developmental Pathways case.  Status Report.

April 6, 2009

Meeting of the IEC.  The IEC elects Matt Smith as the new Chair and Roy Wood as new Vice Chair.  The IEC also approves two advisory opinions and votes to dismiss two complaints.  Outgoing Chair's Report 2009Order on Complaint 09-03 (erroneously identified as 09-04).  Order on Complaint 09-04.

March 31, 2009

The IEC meets in executive session to discuss the Coffman case.

March 18 and 19, 2009

On March 18, IEC members who heard the Coffman case met in executive session to deliberate.  On March 19, the full IEC met to discuss hiring an assistant executive director and approved Letter Ruling 09-03, regarding payments by non-profits for meals to board members who are also government employees.

March 16, 2009

Ethics Watch and Coffman file closing briefs in the Coffman case.  Ethics Watch briefCoffman brief.

March 9, 2009

The IEC and plaintiffs file a joint status report in the Developmental Pathways case.  Status Report.

March 6, 2009

The IEC holds a hearing in the Coffman case.

March 2, 2009

Complaint 09-04 is filed against the Mayor of Rye and two Rye Trustees.

Feb. 27, 2009

In Coffman v. IEC, the Denver District Court enters an order denying Coffman's motion to stay the ethics hearing scheduled for March 6.

Feb. 20, 2009

The IEC discusses procedural matters related to the hearing on the ethics complaint against former Secretary of State Mike Coffman and the IEC's plans for ethics training of state employees. The IEC also approves Advisory Opinion 09-01 (University Professors). Complaint 09-03 is filed against three members of the Steamboat Springs School Board.

Feb. 18, 2009

The IEC files its response to Coffman's motion to stay in Coffman v. IEC.

Feb. 17, 2009
Ethics Watch files a motion to intervene in the Coffman v. IEC case.

Feb. 13, 2009

Coffman and Ethics Watch file their final prehearing statements. Ethics Watch Final Prehearing StatementCoffman Final Prehearing Statement.

Feb. 11, 2009

Mike Coffman files suit against the IEC, seeking an order preventing the IEC from holding the ethics hearing scheduled for March 6.  Coffman v. IEC ComplaintEmergency Motion for Stay.

Feb. 2, 2009
The IEC approves two letter rulings, dismisses the complaint in Case No. 09-02, and denies Mike Coffman's motion to dismiss the complaint against him in Case No. 08-01. LR 09-01 (Lunch With A Lobbyist)LR 09-02 (Luncheons)Order on Motion to Dismiss. Order on Motion to Determine Evidentiary Standard. Order on Motion to Transfer, etc.  Order on Complaint 09-02.

Jan. 30, 2009

Ethics Watch files supplemental disclosures in the Coffman case.

Jan. 27, 2009

Complaint 09-02 is filed against the Gilpin County Assessor.

Jan. 26, 2009

IEC releases Position Statement 09-01,"Gifts from Lobbyists."

Jan. 23, 2009
In Case No. 08-01, the IEC denied Mike Coffman's motion to transfer the case to an administrative law judge.  The IEC also approved goals statements and Position Statement 09-01, Gifts from Lobbyists and Organizations Represented By Lobbyists, to be released January 26.  Order re Motion to Recuse (filed Jan. 28).

Jan. 14, 2009
The IEC discussed its goals for 2009 and over a three year period.  The IEC also unanimously voted to dismiss Complaint No. 09-01 under IEC Rule 7.D.3.  Commissioner Wood recused himself from proceedings on the complaint against former Secretary of State Mike Coffman. Order on Complaint 09-01.

Jan. 9, 2009

Complaint 09-01 is filed against the Department of Regulatory Agencies and the Department of Personnel.