First Law of 2012 Legislative Session Alters Colorado Campaign Finance Reporting Schedule - State and Federal Communications

January 31, 2012  •  

First Law of 2012 Legislative Session Alters Colorado Campaign Finance Reporting Schedule

Seal of ColoradoGovernor John Hickenlooper signed the first bill to come out of the 2012 legislative session on Monday, January 30, 2012. The bill, Senate Bill 12-014, moves the date for candidates, committees, and political parties to begin filing biweekly campaign finance disclosure reports from the first Monday in July prior to the primary election to the first Monday in May prior to the primary election. This settles an ongoing dispute between lawmakers and Secretary of State Scott Gessler over filing biweekly reports prior to the state’s June 26, 2012 primary.

Lawmakers neglected to alter the beginning of biweekly reporting dates during the 2011 session when they chose to move the state’s primary date from August to June. In reaction to this, Gessler issued a rule declaring biweekly reporting would not begin until after the primary election so as to avoid requiring biweekly reporting for the 2012 election to begin in July, 2011.

After facing backlash from critics claiming he was trying to reduce transparency and following a vote by a legislative committee not to include the rule in the package of approved rules, Gessler issued a new rule declaring biweekly reports would begin for the June 2012 primary election on January 30, 2012, but future primary elections would require biweekly reporting to begin in July of the off-election year and continue until the last Monday of the biweekly schedule prior to the primary.

Unhappy with this decision by Gessler, lawmakers were able to pass SB 12-014 in time to avoid beginning biweekly reporting on Monday. The first biweekly report will now be due May 7, 2012.

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