House gives nod to dark money campaign disclosure bill

Real Vail: Lost last week in the uproar over higher-profile bills such as a proposed red-flag, gun-safety law and tougher oil and gas drilling regulations, a Colorado legislative committee on Thursday quietly approved a campaign finance disclosure bill aimed at daylighting dark money in political races – a heated issue in local ballot battles last fall.

State Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Vail Democrat who represents a large swath of the Western Slope at the state capitol – including Eagle County — voted in favor of SB-068 (pdf), or the Expand Disclosure Electioneering Communications Act. She complained last year that her Republican opponent enjoyed a flood of anonymous campaign ads despite very little hard cash in his campaign coffers.

The bill would require the listing of any person or group’s name that spends more than $1,000 a year on electioneering communications such as TV ads, mailers or flyers at any point between the primary and general election. It passed the full Senate 23-12 last month, cleared the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee by a 6-3 vote on Thursday and heads to the full House floor Tuesday.

Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser, who also won his race last November despite being substantially outspent by anonymous outside groups funneling campaign cash through the Republican Attorneys General Association, told via a spokesman that he supports SB-068. Weiser told the Vail Daily last fall that combating so-called dark money was one of his top priorities.

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