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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 10, 20172min3080

Tom Tancredo says he’s taking the public’s temperature, gauging its appetite for yet another gubernatorial run. A more world-weary reading of the former congressman/forever firebrand’s ad hoc stumping around the state is that it’s a case of, “Oh please, no! Really? Me? You want me to run for guv? Again?”

Either way, Colorado’s favorite fusion politician — part alt-right/populist rabble rouser, part off-again-on-again Republican — will make a whistle stop Oct. 21 at the libertarian-ish Independence Institute in Denver for a breakfast hosted by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. He will keynote CUT’s annual Taxpayer Champion and Guardian Award Breakfast, honoring members of the General Assembly who vote right — hard right — on taxing and spending issues. So, the right will be leading the right at the event.

Here’s more, courtesy of CUT:

Come To Honor and Thank:
Senate Champion Vicki Marble
House Champion Tim Leonard
Senate Guardians Chris Holbert and Jim Smallwood
House Guardian Stephen Humphrey
Guest Speaker:
The Honorable Tom Tancredo

 

That’s Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8 a.m., at the Independence Institute’s citadel just east of downtown, 727 E 16th Ave, Denver CO 80203. (Parking is free.) The cost is $20 to non-CUT members but free for those who are up to date on their 2018 membership. RSVP: 303-747-2159 or rsvp@coloradotaxpayer.org


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 28, 20175min1080

A formal hearing into an ethics complaint filed against Rep. Kim Ransom of Lone Tree isn’t likely to take place before October, based on discussions of the complaint today with the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission.

The complaint, filed last year by Lone Tree resident Charles Bucknam, alleges Ransom accepted a gift that exceeds the state’s constitutional limits. The commission decided in January that the complaint had enough merit to move forward with a formal investigation.

That investigation, conducted by commission staff, was completed last month and obtained by Colorado Politics.

Ransom was one of 10 lawmakers who was named an awardee by the non-profit Principles of Liberty organization, which is headed by Rich Bratten. Bratten and wife Laurie are long-time conservative activists; Laurie is a staffer to U.S. Rep. Ken Buck and before that handled communications for the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, an ad hoc group of conservative state lawmakers. Rich Bratten runs a variety of conservative groups; he also served as executive director of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado.

The complaint against Ransom alleges she accepted a $600 “Gold Pass” to the 2016 Western Conservative Summit as one of 10 lawmakers who were slated to receive an award from Principles of Liberty. The Gold Pass allowed lawmakers to attend the summit and receive free meals.

The state’s ethics law limits gifts to lawmakers to those valued at $59 or less. But there are exceptions to the law, pointed out by Ransom’s attorney, Mark Grueskin of Denver, in his response to the complaint.

The biggest loophole may be that elected officials can accept gifts from nonprofits that receive 5 percent or less of their funding from for-profit sources. “As far back as 2015, Rep. Ransom spoke with House of Representatives partisan legislative staff who related that, at the behest of one or more legislators, the Office of Legislative Legal Services (‘OLLS’) had reviewed the propriety of legislators’ acceptance of a Gold Pass to the Western Conservative Summit,” wrote Grueskin in his response.

According to Grueskin, the legislature’s legal services staff spoke to the director of the Centennial Institute, which is part of Colorado Christian University, which sponsors the annual summit. The Centennial Institute verified that CCU was a nonprofit entity that receive less than 5 percent of its funding from for-profit entities. There would be “no ethical barrier” to accepting the Gold Pass to attend the summit, Grueskin wrote.

In his complaint, Bucknam seeks sanctions of a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine levied against Ransom.

Nine other lawmakers were notified they would receive the Principles of LIberty Award, given to those who received A-plus ratings for their final votes on legislation reviewed by the organization.

Ransom was the only lawmaker of the 10 who notified the Secretary of State that she had accepted the Gold Pass on a quarterly gifts and honoraria report filed in October, 2016.

The other awardees included Reps. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, Stephen Humphrey of Severance, Justin Everett of Littleton, Lori Saine of Firestone, Tim Leonard of Evergreen, Perry Buck of Greeley, and Sens. Tim Neville of Littleton, Vicki Marble of Fort Collins and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. All 10 attended the Western Conservative Summit and accepted the award, although how many of the 10 accepted the passes is unknown. Bratten did not respond to an email or phone call seeking that information.

Humphrey, Leonard, Tim Neville and Sonnenberg did not file third quarter gifts reports for 2016, a potential violation of the state’s ethics laws. The other five did file those reports but said they had received nothing of value for the quarter that began on July 1 and ended on Sept. 30, 2016. The Principles of Liberty award was given during the summit’s Saturday evening event on July 2.

Under state law an elected official who fails to file a gift report or files an incomplete or inaccurate report is guilty of a misdemeanor and can carry a fine of between $50 and $1,000.

No ethics complaints for accepting the passes were filed against the other lawmakers, nor were there any ethics complaints filed for failing to file the required reports. The statute of limitations for an ethics complaint is one year.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 26, 20178min93

A group of liberal advocacy organizations for the first time released combined legislative scorecards this week, conglomerating assessments of the 100 Colorado lawmakers’ votes last session on key legislation the organizations said they plan to present to voters next year. A Republican who received among the lowest overall scores, however, dismissed the endeavor as a “political stunt” and told Colorado Politics he doubts the predictable rankings — Democrats good, Republicans bad — give voters any meaningful information.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 4, 20176min1801

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed a state campus free speech bill passed with wide bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature this year. “Once we limit free speech to a zone, we indicate to our students that free speech does not exist anywhere beyond that zone,” state Sen. Tim Neville, a Littleton Republican, said at the bill signing ceremony. At a brief press conference beforehand, Neville goofed with House sponsors Stephen Humphrey, an Eaton Republican, and Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat. The men stood in a mock free speech zone roped off from reporters and covered their eyes, mouths and ears, like the “see no, speak no, hear no evil” monkeys of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_wise_monkeys" target="_blank">Japanese lore</a>.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 17, 20177min771

Although it starts with a splash of levity, the House Republican caucus’s weekly video update quickly moves onto more serious ground. “This is Jim Wilson from Salida, Colorado,” says state Rep. Yuelin Willett, R-Grand Junction, as his serious gaze dissolves into a grin and an imposing figure enters the frame, shooing away the imposter. “Not even close,” says Wilson. “I’m the real Jim Wilson.”



Peter MarcusPeter MarcusFebruary 10, 20177min64
Democrats early Friday morning shot down a trio of bills pushed by abortion opponents following an 11-hour marathon hearing that saw an effort to reverse abortions. The bills that were rejected by the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on party-line votes included: House Bill 1086, sponsored by Reps. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, and Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, which […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 25, 20178min77
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is tired of debating doomed bills over religious liberty, and, moreover, chamber president and CEO Kelly Brough said arguing over it every year says the wrong thing about Colorado. “The very dangerous and divisive message that comes with this bill is one of lack of respect for others,” she […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 17, 20171min63
The Colorado Union of Taxpayers will hand out some awards and talk some statehouse politics at a breakfast Thursday at the Independence Institute in Denver. Tickets, $5 for CUT members and $15 for non-members, are still available online. Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City and House Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist of Centennial […]

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Paula NoonanPaula NoonanJune 22, 20165min600

Legislators make their mark through their sponsored bills. Sponsored bills show what issues legislators commit to, their bipartisan collegiality, their productivity in bills passed versus bills killed, and their dispositions related to bills that function as messages versus bills intended to become law. Legislators are supposed to sponsor no more than five bills, but only six House members kept to that maximum.


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Jared WrightJared WrightApril 11, 20162min670

By TCS Publisher and Editor in Chief Jared Wright @_JaredWright_ DENVER —Here is your ultimate breakdown and analysis to the weekend's GOP State Assembly results and Democratic congressional districts' assembly results. The nominees all those other journalists didn't report on, who may (but probably won't) win ... they're in here ... as always. Why? Because we care about all things politics. And so do you, or you would not be one of our illustrious subscribers. To the over 1,000 newbies who signed up for The Hot Sheet last week, welcome aboard! You will not be disappointed you came.