The Durango Herald: One of the most basic values of our democracy is that the people on whose behalf, and by whose charge, the government acts have the right to know what it is doing.
The rights of the public to scrutinize the records and attend the meetings of public bodies are firmly ensconced in state statutes.
Coloradans value those rights, and through many years of persistent hard work by journalists, they have come to expect transparency from their government. The state’s citizens can judge their government based on true records of its actions, not on the presumption that it is, or is not, doing its job appropriately.
Now, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, which investigates allegations of ethical misconduct involving public officials, is writing its own rules of access to public records to exclude some of the protections of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), to which the commission says it is not subject.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Council, on behalf of the public, has cried foul.
The current dispute centers on whether an agency created by a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution is a state agency governed by the Open Records Act. The much larger public concern, though, is protecting Coloradans from a governmental agency’s impulse to be secretive.
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