Audit finds sloppy record keeping by Independent Ethics Commission

From The Colorado Independent: Sloppy record keeping. Failure to follow the state’s open meetings and open records laws. Baffling instructions to anyone brave enough to file a complaint.

Those are a few of the charges the state’s auditor lobbed at Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission, the body that oversees the state’s ethics laws.

Tuesday’s audit is the first since the voter-approved commission formed in 2007.

The audit identifies the commission’s labyrinthine complaint process as one of its biggest problems.

Unless you’re a lawyer, the process isn’t designed to be readily accessible or understandable by the public, Luis Toro of Colorado Ethics Watch told The Colorado Independent.

Another problem: The commission doesn’t investigate complaints. It leaves that up to the people who file them.

“Our point is that if you don’t have a lawyer, you don’t have a chance (of filing a complaint correctly), and you have to do it at your own expense,” Toro said Tuesday.

Most ethics commissions in the 42 states that have them can investigate complaints filed by the public, rather than asking the public to do the legwork, as is the case in Colorado, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan nonprofit that assists legislatures with research and information.

The audit also found the IEC failed to maintain records to show whether it was adhering to state law or to its own rules.

Visit The Colorado Independent for more.

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