March 18, 2018

SB 16-106: Giving Secretary of State Authority to Appoint ALJs to Handle Campaign Finance Complaints

On January 29, 2016, Sen. Chris Holbert and Rep. Joseph Salazar introduced SB 16-106Concerning Measures to Facilitate The Efficient Administration of Colorado Laws Governing Campaign Finance, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation. The bill was introduced in the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations. The Senate Appropriations Committee further amended the bill and referred it to the Senate floor for Second Reading. The bill passed Second Reading in the Senate with amendments and passed Third Reading with no further amendments. The bill was referred to the House and introduced in the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

This bill aims to do two things in order to facilitate the administration of Colorado laws governing campaign finance. First, Section 1 of the bill modified the definition of limited liability company in the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The reengrossed bill, however, does not provide the new definition for limited liability company.

Second, C.R.S. § 24-30-1004(1)(a) of the bill gives the Secretary of State the authority to appoint and designate persons to serve as Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) in connection with any complaint alleging a violation of the campaign finance laws that is referred to such ALJ. Additionally, Section 2 of the bill specifies the procedures by which ALJ appointments are to be made.

Specifically, under Subsection (I), the Secretary of State shall appoint two persons, who must have been affiliated with a major political party for at least five years, to a recommendations committee to assist in appointing ALJs.

Under Subsection (II), the committee must solicit with 30 days of appointment, by notice on the Secretary of State’s website, a list of candidates being considered for an ALJ appointment.

Subsection (IV) provides that, not later than 30 days after posting the list of candidates for notice & comment, the recommendations committee shall recommend two candidates for each ALJ appointment opening to the Secretary of State. The bill also provides that, for the initial appointment, five candidates shall be recommended.

Subsection (V) provides the term lengths for the appointed ALJs. The initial three appointments will serve terms of two years, three years, and four years, respectively. The term for appointments made following the initial ALJs will be three years.

Furthermore, the bill stipulates the minimum requirements, powers, and duties for a person appointed to be an ALJ. Section 2 also requires the Secretary of State, not later than January 1, 2017, to establish and maintain a program to train ALJs to undertake their powers and duties.

Mark Proust is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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