Campaign contributions to local officials may require recusal in rare cases, appeals court says

Colorado Politics: Colorado’s second-highest court has ruled for the first time that campaign contributions to an elected official may, in rare cases, require their recusal from voting in matters that implicate a person’s right to an impartial decision-maker.

At the same time, a three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals found that the $4,100 given to a Larimer County commissioner two years before he voted to approve a gravel mining operation did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.

In reaching its conclusion, the panel rejected as “extreme” the position offered by the Colorado Municipal League, the organization that represents nearly all of the state’s 272 cities and towns. The league submitted a brief in support of Larimer County and took the position that campaign contributions themselves can never disqualify local elected officials from participating in decisions.

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