Democracy Reform Groups File Amicus Brief in Colorado Campaign Finance Case

Colorado Common Cause, Common Cause, and the Campaign Legal Center yesterday filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit that threatens the state’s campaign finance laws for the 2022 election. The case, Lopez v. Griswold, is being heard by the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The brief urges the court to reject a request by two candidates and a donor to halt enforcement of the state’s voter-approved campaign contribution limits in this year’s elections. 

“We need strong protections in our democracy so everyone has a say in our government, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” said Cameron Hill, Colorado Common Cause Associate Director. “That’s why 20 years ago Coloradans—Democrats and Republicans—voted overwhelmingly to enact the contribution limits being challenged in this lawsuit. We filed our brief today to make clear that in Colorado, the size of your wallet shouldn’t determine the strength of your voice.”  

The plaintiffs in the case include Greg Lopez, a second time gubernatorial candidate; Rodney Pelton, a state senate candidate; and Steven House, a campaign donor who has contributed more than $200,000 to Colorado candidates since 2010. Together, the plaintiffs have asked the court for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the state from enforcing its current campaign contribution limits, $1,250 per donor per cycle to candidates for statewide office and $400 per donor per cycle to candidates for state legislature. 

“Twenty years ago, Colorado voters united across race and place to approve campaign finance reform that would restore the power to the people,” said Martha Tierney, Common Cause Board Chair. “Now a couple of candidates and a wealthy donor want to unleash a flood of unlimited money and drown out the voices of everyday Coloradans, just months before an election. On behalf of Common Cause and our 25,000 members in Colorado, we ask that the court reject the plaintiffs’ request and keep power where it belongs—in the hands of the voters.” 

“The court should reject this last-minute effort to halt enforcement of Colorado’s corruption-preventing limits,” said Megan McAllen, Director of Campaign Finance Litigation at the Campaign Legal Center. “Nearly a half-century of U.S. Supreme Court precedent affirms that giving money directly to candidates raises a serious risk of corruption—and therefore that campaign contributions can be limited, provided the limits are not so strict that they prevent candidates from waging competitive campaigns.” 

Colorado Common Cause supported Initiative 27, the Colorado Campaign Finance System Initiative that voters approved in 2002 and for the past two decades has continued to advocate enforcement of these limits with broad public support. 

To view the brief, click here.