In 2006, Colorado voters passed Amendment 41. This ballot initiative included a ban on lobbyist gifts to public officials. Before its passage, lobbyists gained unfair access to public officials by, for example, taking them to professional sporting events. These gifts now are prohibited and the culture of gift giving is fading from Colorado politics.
Amendment 41, while a significant victory, is just a start. Some gifts are acceptable under the law (e.g. awards, honoraria), but there is no required disclosure of these gifts. To ensure that public officials are following the law, we need to see what gifts they are receiving. Right now, gifts legal under current law are not disclosed.
Colorado lobbyists must register with the Secretary of State, submit monthly reports on their lobbying for or against bills and policies, and their compensation. Visit the website of the Colorado Secretary of State to take a closer look.
Although disclosure of this information is good policy, the information should be more accessible. Each monthly report is in available electronically as a PDF document, so a citizen seeking to learn the total payments from one company to one lobbyist must review every document.