New conflict-of-interest rules limit information Colorado elected officials must share with voters

The Denver Post: A little-noticed rule change recently approved by the Colorado secretary of state inserted a gap in a law designed to expose conflicts of interest for top elected officials.

Colorado’s Sunshine Law requires state lawmakers, statewide elected officials and candidates to list “all offices, directorships and fiduciary relationships” on a personal financial disclosure form.

But in October Secretary of State Wayne Williams approved a caveat that allows candidates and elected officials to avoid disclosing memberships on boards or committees if they do not receive compensation or individually control how money is spent.

The change comes ahead of the 2018 election, and it may serve as a precursor to more modifications to ethics laws in the coming legislative session.

In a recent interview, Williams said the new rule is meant to clarify a part of the law that creates significant confusion and it aligns with how his office interprets the law’s intent — to highlight potential financial conflicts of interest.

“It’s talking about what you have financial conflict with, not what you might think or do or everything you’re involved in,” the Republican said. “Things that you may have a financial stake in — that’s what this is. It’s not an ‘interest disclosure’ or a ‘things I like’ disclosure.”

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