February 23, 2012 •
Changes Made to Campaign Finance Rules in Colorado
Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced on Wednesday the adoption of a recodified set of rules concerning Colorado campaign financing aimed at simplifying the state’s campaign finance process. Among the most notable changes to be made, total fines for late or incomplete campaign finance reports are now to be limited to $50 per day for up to 180 days for a maximum fine of $9,000.
Additionally, Gessler’s office will continue to utilize the $5,000 threshold at which issue committees must register and report, created by Gessler’s adoption of Campaign and Political Finance Rule 4.27, despite a state district court ruling Gessler did not have the authority to increase the threshold from the constitutionally-mandated figure of $200 after a finding by the court determining the threshold to be too burdensome.
Also, in accordance with the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision released the day prior to Gessler’s release of the recodified campaign finance rules, a 527 political group is limited to accepting up to $550 from any person every two years if the 527 group is engaging in express advocacy for a particular candidate by use of certain “magic words” such as “vote for” or “elect.”
Critics of Gessler have claimed the changes made are outside his authority and a legal challenge is expected. The rules are scheduled to temporarily take effect on March 7, 2012, with the rules being permanently effective on March 30, 2012.
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