Professional lobbyists are barred from giving gifts to lawmakers and other public officials - not even items up to $50 annually that other citizens and groups are allowed to give.
That's the ruling handed down Friday by the Independent Ethics Commission, the five-member panel charged with interpreting changes to the state Constitution mandated by the Amendment 41...
In the seven-page position statement, the commission said: "This is an absolute prohibition, not subject to the $50 gift threshold applicable to accepting gifts and other things of value from persons who are not professional lobbyists."
"The language is so clear that it would be difficult to argue that voters intended otherwise," the commissioners added.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will we see legislators brought up on ethics charges related to A41? How about ethics charges filed against municipal and county workers? What happens when the daughter of a firefighter from Burlington gets a college scholarship?
Voters believed they were banning gifts from lobbyists to our state lawmakers. Instead the voted for a Constitutional Amendment that goes far beyond the intended purpose. It's going to create a system for petty partisan sniping vis a vis the ethics panel and we're going to see innocent bystanders ensnared because of family relations to county commissioners or municipal employees.
Thanks Jared Polis.