Colorado Democrats propose reforms to shed more light on political ‘dark money’

The Denver Post: Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran on Wednesday rolled out a series of bills to require that more “dark money” be disclosed under the state’s campaign finance laws, calling it a necessary step to ensure that out-of-state interests can’t “drown out the voice of our people.”

The four bills, all sponsored by Democrats, won’t stop — and probably won’t even slow — the flow of out-of-state money, but they would make it easier, in some cases, to see where the money’s coming from.

“Anyone who wants to influence our elections in Colorado has to be transparent about where their money comes from and take responsibility for what they say,” said state Rep. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, a freshman lawmaker who sponsored two of the four bills.

But at least one Republican suggested the changes could ultimately have the opposite effect.

“There’s not a single piece of campaign finance reform that has done anything other than drive contributions further into the dark and make it more difficult,” said state Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs.

For the voting public, one of the most visible changes would be House Bill 1261, Bridges’ measure to require groups that run political ads and send out mailers to disclose who paid for them on the advertisement itself — just as candidates are required to do when they say they “endorse this message.”

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