August 27, 2014

Colorado Supreme Court: Secretary of State Exceeded Rulemaking Authority in Expanding Contribution Limits

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Gessler v. Colorado Common Cause on Monday, June 16, 2014.

Issue Committees—Colo. Const. art. XXVIII, § 2(10)(a)(II)—CRS § 1-45-108(1)(a)(I)—8 CCR § 1505-6:4.1.

The Supreme Court held that Sampson v. Buescher, 625 F.3d 1247 (10th Cir. 2010), did not facially invalidate either the $200 contribution and expenditure threshold for issue committees under art. XXVIII, § 2(10)(a)(II) of the Colorado Constitution or the retrospective reporting requirement under CRS § 1-45-108(1)(a)(I) of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The Court further held that Secretary of State Rule 4.1., 8 Colo. Code Regs. § 1505-6:4.1 (2013), promulgated by the Secretary of State after Sampson was decided, conflicts with both the $200 threshold in article XXVIII and the retrospective reporting requirement in CRS § 1-45-108(1)(a)(I). Because the Secretary of State does not have authority to promulgate rules that conflict with other provisions of law, the Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals and set aside Rule 4.1.

Summary and full case available here.

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