Editorial: Colorado Ethics Commission should follow state’s time-tested open records law

The Greeley Tribune: We think the Colorado Ethics Commission should follow the Colorado Open Records Act.

This might seem like a straightforward statement for a body created to foster public trust in government, but apparently not everyone sees it that way. The commission’s executive director, Dino Ioannides, contends the commission — which investigates allegations of ethical wrongdoing against public officials — isn’t subject to CORA because the commission is housed in the state’s judicial branch.

Of course, it isn’t clear there is much to support this shaky legal claim.

“A lot of agencies have rule-making authority,” Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert told the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, which published a story earlier this month about the commission’s efforts to draft its own rules for disclosure of its records, “but that doesn’t mean you can promulgate rules outside of the law. Rules are promulgated to add clarity or to make administration more effective, but not to override statutes.”

Other experts told the coalition the commission is opening itself up for a lawsuit by trying to draft its own rules.

That sounds like a pretty good reason for the commission to change course.

But even if the commission does have the power — as its leader believes — to draft its own rules, it shouldn’t.

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