Colorado SC to consider campaign finance law

Kathy Woods Aug. 30, 2009, 11:59am

DENVER Colo. (Legal Newsline)-The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to review the case of the constitutionality of a campaign finance law.

Amendment 54 bans contributions larger than $100,000 from any organizations or individual with a no-bid or single source government contract immediate family members of people involved in no-bid contracts are included in the ban.

On July 17, Judge Catherine Lemon granted a preliminary injunction that stopped the amendment from taking effect until an appellate court made its ruling.

The authors of the amendment meant for it to be a means to combat pay-to-play corruption in the politics of government.

The constitutional issue before the state's high court whether it is an infringement on the constitutional right of free speech.

Non-profit groups including the Children's Hospital of Aurora and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts oppose the amendment, arguing it would make it difficult or near impossible to recruit board members.

Meanwhile, Amendment 54 supporters claim the initiative was a way to increase transparency.

Mark Grueskin, the attorney representing the plaintiffs fighting the amendment, argues the amendment is unconstitutional, stating that he believes the amendment specifically targeted to undercut and prevent from engaging in political expression.

In a recent interview with the Colorado Independent, he said the initiative was written so to mask it true intentions.
A coalition of labor unions has since filed separate lawsuits against the amendment.

Judge Lemon has said: "It's obvious from the language of the amendment... that unions have had their rights to participate in the political process completely obliterated and not based on any conduct but simply because of their status as unions, simply because of who they are."

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