A complaint filed by Colorado Ethics Watch against two 527 groups that backed Republicans in 2008—the Senate Majority Fund and Colorado Leadership fund—has advanced to the state’s Supreme Court for a review. It’s the first time a case from the political watchdog group has reached the state’s highest court, points out Law Week Colorado.
Ethics Watch has accused both funds of advocating for candidates without registering as political committees with the Secretary of State’s Office, but the state Court of Appeals had dismissed the case because the groups didn’t use phrases such as “vote for” or “defeat,” writes The Colorado Independent.
The dispute will be of particular interest since Scott Gessler, Colorado’s incoming secretary of state, served as attorney of record for the Senate Majority Fund after Ethics Watch first complained, in 2008. Gessler, a Republican who will be responsible for overseeing such elections issues, has not commented on the advancement of the case. Ethics Watch director Luis Toro says in a statement that the matter “will also have important implications for disclosure requirements for outside groups that seek to influence state and local elections in Colorado.” The most recent midterm election saw record amounts of outside money pour into the state, most notably in the race for U.S. Senate.