Dark money and disclosure gaps are priorities for new state election chief, Democrats

The Colorado Sun: Political flyers with no mention of who paid for them. Mailers that mention candidates, but with no disclosure of the donors who covered the cost of the messages.

Nonprofits donating millions of dollars to super PACs, with no ability for voters to learn where the money came from. And an enforcement system that relies on citizen complaints and doesn’t always collect the money owed by candidates and political committees.

The 2018 election laid bare these apparent gaps in Colorado’s campaign finance laws in a year in which record money poured into campaigns.

Now the incoming secretary of state and the new Democratic-majority legislature are poised address the issues and bring changes to a system that received a “D” grade from the Center for Public Integrity in 2015.

“Campaign finance reform is something that I’ve been talking about for almost the last two years,” said Secretary of State-elect Jena Griswold, a Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Wayne Williams in November. “I think reform is what the people of Colorado want. In a democracy we do need transparency.”

Griswold is convening a working group to advise her on campaign finance reform as she prepares to take office Jan. 8. And her pick for deputy secretary of state is Jenny Flanagan, who most recently served as a vice president at Common Cause, an organization that advocates for tougher disclosure laws.

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