Eye on the IEC
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.
Next meetings. The next public meeting of the IEC is scheduled for April 28, 2014 at 9:00am at 1300 Broadway, Denver CO, 1st Floor.
The official website of the IEC can be accessed through this link.
April 14, 2014 - The IEC begins its monthly in-person meeting with a lengthy executive session to receive legal advice regarding Complaint 13-11 (Governor Hickenlooper). The Commission then discusses the pending motion to dismiss the matter and proceeds to delberate and ask questions of counsel for both parties in the matter. The Commission votes 4-1 (Smith dissenting) to find no ethics violation on summary judgment because no material facts are disputed to require a fact-witness hearing. The IEC also hears a request from Mike Davis, attorney for Secretary of State Scott Gessler, to reopen Complaint 12-07 (Secretary Gessler). The IEC declines to rule on the motion based on lack of jursidiction because the final IEC decision in Complaint 12-07 is currently the subject of appeal at the Colorado Court of Appeals. The IEC discusses Advisory Opinion request 14-08 (receipt of gifts by DMV employees) and plans to draft a response for discussion at a later meeting. The Commission votes to approve the request in Advisory Opinion 14-09 (travel by Department of Revenue Director paid by nonprofit organization) and approves a response in Advisory Opinion 14-01 (receipt of Broncos gear by Arapahoe County Clerk employees). Finally, the IEC elects Commissioner Marshall as Chair and Commissioner Smith as Vice-Chair, effective at the next meeting.
April 8, 2014 -The IEC meets telephonically in executive session to consult with counsel and receive legal advice regarding Complaint 13-11 (Governor Hickenlooper).
April 7, 2014 -Governor Hickenlooper publicly releases certain documents related to the IEC investigation in Complaint 13-11 (Governor Hickenlooper). These documents included a draft report by the IEC contracted-investigator and transcripts of interviews done during the investigation. It was revealed at the March 31, 2014 IEC meeting that the Complainant in this matter, Compass Colorado, had not received a copy of this draft even though the investigator provided a copy to the Governor's counsel. The IEC refused to adopt the draft report and instead deemed the transcripts of the interviews as the "results of the investigation" in Complaint 13-11.
March 31, 2014 - After an executive session to consult with IEC's counsel and receive legal advice, the IEC conducts a pre-hearing conference to hear arguments on pending motions regarding Complaint 13-11 (Governor Hickenlooper). The IEC votes 5-0 to deny Compass Colorado's motion to issue a subpoena. The IEC hears arguments on a motion to dismiss, but defers deliberation and decision on the motion until the April 14 meeting. The IEC then handles administrative matters such as setting future meeting dates and update on budget status. The IEC tenatively schedules elections for Chair and Vice-Chair for the April 14 meeting. No motion to file an amicus brief from Secretary of State Gessler appears to have been filed or discussed.
March 12, 2014 - Denver District Court Judge Herbert Stern, III issues a ruling affirming the IEC's final decision in Complaint 12-07 (Secretary Gessler) in all respects.
March 10, 2014 - The IEC's regular monthly meeting starts with staff report by Assistant to the Director, Maureen Toomey, regarding CORA requests and adminitrative process matters now that Executive Director has left the Commission. The IEC discusses and votes to revise Advisory Opinion 14-03 to allow the Director's substitute designee to acccept travel expenses for the speaking engagement. The Commission also discusses Advisory Opinion request 14-01 regarding offered gifts from Denver Broncos to Arapahoe County clerk's office. All commissioners indicate they support a response that did not allow receipt of gifts, but directed IEC staff to revise the draft and present for further discussion and vote next meeting. The IEC also holds another pre-hearing status conference regarding Complaint 13-11 (Governor Hickelooper) and discusses pending discovery matters. Mike Davis, attorney for Secretary of State Scott Gessler, requests the opportunity to file an amicus brief in support of the Governor's motion to dismiss the complaint. After hearing some opposition to the idea of accepting amicus briefs in the pending matter from the parties, the IEC directs Mr. Davis to file a written motion with the proposed brief to be considered by the IEC at the next meeting when the motion to dismiss the complaint is argued and voted upon. The IEC also offers Ethics Watch the opportunity to file a similar motion and brief if it so chooses before the March 31 meeting.
February 25, 2014 - At a prehearing conference, the IEC denies Compass Colorado's motion to transfer the hearing of its complaint against Governor Hickenlooper to an ALJ for alleged bias. The IEC issues Advisory Opinion 13-13, on ethical responsibilities of state employees seeking new employment, and 14-03, authorizing the Director of Revenue to accept payment from a non-profit group of alcohol regulators to address them on Colorado's legalization of marijuana. The IEC continues to discuss Advisory Opinion request 14-01 filed by Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane regarding possible gifts from the Denver Broncos Football Club in gratitude for excellent service from the Clerk's office, without a decision. It also discusses transition issues related to Director Feldman's retirement.
February 10, 2014 - At its regular monthly meeting, the IEC conducts business at times with a quorum three Commissioners, while at various times Commissioners Leone and Pinkham join the meeting via telephone. The Commission discusses pending potential legislation and ballot measures that could affect IEC jurisdiction and budget. In executive session the Commissioners detetermine Complaints 13-12 and 14-01 to be frivolous and, therefore, kept confidential. The Commission discusses Advisory Opinion request 14-01 (acceptance of a gift) and asks questions of the requestor - Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane. The Commission decides to consider the matter and any additional submissions made by the requestor in a future meeting. The Commission also considers Advisory Opinion request 14-02 (travel paid by a foreign government) and gets further information from the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue who has been invited to travel to a conference paid by the Swiss government. The Commission votes 4-0 (Commissioner Leone abstaining) to approve the opinion. The Commission also continues to discuss Advisory Opinion request 13-13 (negotiations for future employement), but defers taking action until the next meeting. During this meeting, Commission Executive Director, Jane Feldman, announces that she is resigning and her last day at the Commission is February 26.
February 6, 2014 - In a telephonic meeting, the IEC changes the dates and deadlines for various filings and stages in considering Complaint 13-11 (regarding Governor Hickenlooper). A public meeting is set for February 25 to consider submissions by the parties. The IEC notes that it might discuss and decide a motion to dismiss the complaint at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on March 10 if the papers are filed early enough before that meeting. Otherwise, the IEC will consider the motion to dismiss on the March 31 date currently set as the final hearing on the complaint. The Commission also introduces its newly hired Assistant Director, Maureen Toomey.
January 28, 2014 - The IEC first convenes an executive session meeting on the telephone to discuss candidates for the Assistant to the Director position. Then in public session the IEC votes to offer employment to a particular candidate for that position. The Commissioners discuss possible scheduling changes to the February meetings. A public session telephonic meeting is set for February 6 to finalize scheduling issues with the Commissioners and the parties in Complaint 13-11.
January 22, 2014 -The IEC holds a telephonic executive session meeting to interview and discuss candidates for the Assistant to the Director position.
January 17, 2014 - The IEC's first monthly meeting of the new year starts with a pre-hearing conference with the parties involved in Complaint 13-11 (regarding Governor Hickenlooper). Counsel for Compass Colorado (the complainant) and the Governor's legal counsel are charged with submitting the Commission a join statement of undisputed facts by the February meeting and any requests for discovery from the parties. The Commission also requires the parties to disclose documents, possible witness lists and other evidence to the IEC investigator. The Commission sets March 31 as the date for the main dispositive hearing for this complaint after the investigation and parties discovery has completed. After an interview conducted in executive session, the IEC votes to hire a contract investigator (Mr. McBean) to conduct the investigation for Complaint 13-11. The Commission notes that its legal services budget for the fiscal year has been mostly used, so they plan to instruc the investigator to rely upon discovery gathered by the parties and only supplement where needed to keep the investigation cost effective. The IEC then discussion Advisory Opinion Request No. 13-13 regarding negotiations for future employment by a State Department of Revenue employee. Commissioners ask questions of the requestor, provide comments, and plan to consider a new draft at the next meeting. The Commission also discusses a number of administrative matters regarding the agency's website and lease in the Judicial Center, and interviews potential candidates for an administrative assistant in executive session.