Eye on the IEC 2011

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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 timeline 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.

December 8, 2011

The IEC issues its final decision on Complaints 10-12 and 11-02, finding a violation but assessing no penalty against former PUC Chair Ron Binz.

December 7, 2011

The IEC meets in person on Complaints 10-12 and 11-02.

November 30, 2011

Ethics Watch files a complaint against the Public Trustees Association of Colorado.

November 29, 2011

The IEC meets telephonically on Complaints 10-12 and 11-02.

November 18, 2011

The IEC holds a hearing on Complaints 10-12 and 11-02, filed by the Intermountain Rural Electric Association and former Sen. Andy McElhany against former PUC Chair Ron Binz.

November 7, 2011

The IEC releases Advisory Opinion 11-12, ruling that the Governor's office could not accept reimbursement of travel expenses for a trip to New York for an NBC News interview paid for with state funds. The IEC hears a presentation from the Colorado Association of Nonprofits regarding their letter ruling request about the method of valuing the "gift" portion of a ticket to a fundraising event. It also releases its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2013.

October 3, 2011

Commissioner Dorothy Butcher announces her intent to resign from the IEC effective December 31, 2011. The IEC considers but does not rule upon an advisory opinion request from Governor Hickenlooper to allow NBC News to reimburse the state for a trip by the governor to a televised education summit with other governors in New York City. By a 3-0 vote (Grossman and Smith recused), the IEC denies a motion by the Intermountain Rural Electric Association to refer its ethics complaint against former PUC Commissioner Ron Binz to an administrative law judge. The IEC also received an update on the investigation of Ethics Watch's complaint against former Jefferson County Commissioner Kevin McCasky and discusses budget matters and its strategic plan. Later the same day, the IEC releases its investigation report on the McCasky complaint.

September 12, 2011

The IEC discusses its training and investigation missions and receives updates on four pending complaints.

August 26, 2011

The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 11-11 on conflicts of interest for new hires. It hears updates on several pending complaints, schedules a hearing on Complaints 10-12 and 11-02 for November 18, and votes to dismiss Complaint 11-07 (Reyes) because the alleged misconduct happened more than one year before the filing date, and Complaint 11-11 as frivolous. The IEC also receives a budget update.

July 22, 2011

The IEC considers an advisory opinion request and receives updates on four pending complaints. It votes to dismiss Complaint 11-10 for lack of jurisdiction.

July 1, 2011

In a short public session, Commissioners Smith, Hopper and Grossman vote to appoint Commissioner Pinkham to a new four-year term on the IEC. Pinkham had been appointed to complete the term of Commissioner Larry Lasha, who resigned. The IEC then adjourned into executive session to discuss legal matters.

June 20, 2011

The IEC announces that Matt Smith (R-Grand Junction) has been reappointed for a new four-year term by the Chief Justice. The IEC approves Advisory Opinion 11-10 on a 3-2 vote (Wood and Grossman dissenting). The IEC hears an update on Complaints 10-12, 11-01 and 11-02 against PUC Commissioners Binz and Baker and votes to dismiss two complaints (11-09 and 11-10) for lack of jurisdiction.

May 23, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from a Colorado Bureau of Investigations employee regarding the acceptance of a door prize at a conference.

May 19, 2011

The IEC elects Dan Grossman as its new Chair and Sally Hopper as its new Vice-Chair. The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 11-08, allowing a blind trust to be established to pay medical and related expenses for a legislator and family.  By a 3-2 vote, it issues Advisory Opinion 11-09, prohibiting a state employee from accepting a ticket to an award dinner worth more than $53.

May 11, 2011

The House of Representatives names former Rep. Dorothy Butcher (D-Pueblo) to the IEC to replace outgoing Commissioner Roy Wood. Her term will begin July 1, 2011.

May 10, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from The Governor’s Office regarding the acceptance of a ticket to an award dinner

May 9, 2011

The Adams County Commissioners file a complaint against Adams County Assessor Gil Reyes. Complaint 11-07Exhibits Part 1Exhibits Part 2.

May 6, 2011

The IEC names Estes Park Mayor William Pinkham as the fifth Commissioner, replacing Commissioner Larry Lasha.   The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from the Office of Legislative Legal Services regarding the establishment of a blind trust for medical expenses of a legislator.

April 22, 2011

The IEC interviews candidates to replace Commissioner Larry Lasha. The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 11-04, holding that contributions to a county commissioner running for the board of a national nonprofit are subject to the gift ban and Advisory Opinion 11-05, permitting state employees to accept travel to a national safety training conference and safety guides that will be gifts to the State.  It also issues two advisory opinions on legislator travel, prohibiting one because it would be paid for by a nonprofit that receives more than 5% of its funding from for-profit sources, and permitting another because the nonprofit receives less than 5% of its funding from for-profit sources. Advisory Opinion 11-06Advisory Opinion 11-07.

April 11, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from Representative Crisanta Duran regarding travel expenses.

April 8, 2011

The IEC discusses proposed budget cuts and adjourns to executive session to discuss personnel matters. The IEC issues Position Statement 11-01, adjusting the gift ban amount to $53 based on inflation.  The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from Senator Kevin Grantham regarding travel expenses.

March 29, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from a Colorado Department of Labor and Employment employee regarding travel expenses and materials provided at a conference.

March 18, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from Colorado Counties Inc. regarding contributions to a county commissioner running for the board of a national nonprofit.

Mar. 3, 2011
The IEC votes to dismiss Complaint 10-05.  The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 11-01, authorizing State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and a deputy to accept $5500 from the Western States Scholarship Fund to attend four conferences sponsored by the National Association of State Treasurers.

Mar. 2, 2011

Ethics Watch files a complaint against former Jefferson County Commissioner Kevin McCasky.

Feb. 23. 2011
The IEC adopts revisions to its Rules of Procedure.  It also approves Advisory Opinion 11-02, approving participation by Reps. Ryden and Joshi in an international exchange program, and 11-03, approving Rep. Joshi's acceptance of an award and related admission and meal expenses but disallowing his acceptance of related travel reimbursement. The IEC determines that two complaints filed by former Senator McElhaney against members of the Public Utilities Commission are not frivolous.

Feb. 14, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from State Representative Janak Joshi regarding acceptance of an award and related travel expenses.

Feb. 4, 2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from State Representatives Su Ryden and Janak Joshi regarding participation in an international exchange program.

Jan. 19, 2011

The IEC takes public comments on its proposed rule changes and postpones further action to its February 23 meeting.  The IEC also approves an order resolving Complaint 10-06, filed by former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher against former SOS employee Andrew Whitfield, based on a stipulation.

Jan. 14,2011

The IEC receives an advisory opinion request from State Treasurer Walker Stapleton regarding travel expenses for participation in the National Association of State Treasurers’ Conferences.

Jan. 13, 2011 
Former state Sen. Andy McElhany reportedly files two ethics complaints against members of the Public Utilities Commission.