Campaign financeNewsState agencies

Secretary of State Williams takes over campaign finance enforcement

Author: Joey Bunch - June 19, 2018 - Updated: June 19, 2018

lobbyistColorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams (Photo courtesy secretary of state’s office)

The office of Secretary of State Wayne Williams recreated in a week what’s been in the state constitution since 2002: A procedure to enforce Colorado’s campaign finance laws.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore ruled on June 12 that it’s unconstitutional for citizens to enforce the state’s campaign finance laws, which go automatically to an administrative law judge.

Tuesday, Williams said his office will assume the duty to enforce the law to ensure compliance with campaign finance rules balanced against free speech.

“The adoption of these rules ensures Colorado’s campaign finance laws are enforced while protecting each Coloradan’s ability to participate in political speech,” Williams said in a statement.

Under the new rules, the public can report suspected violation to the Secretary of State’s Office, which would investigate the evidence and notify those accused. Defendants would have 10 days to address the violation, then the Secretary of State’s Office would determine whether to proceed to a hearing officer.

Citizen enforcement was part of the Campaign Finance Initiative passed by Colorado voters 16 years ago. None of the other provisions were significantly affected by Moore’s ruling.

He said he was proud of his staff for their quick work, as well as the cooperative input from the major parties.

You can read the new rules by clicking here.

COMING IN THE JUNE 22 PRINT EDITION: More on this issue in Joey Bunch’s Insights column.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.