February 19, 2018

Archives for January 30, 2018

Colorado Supreme Court: Political Committee Must Report Payments to Law Firm as Contributions, Not Expenditures

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Campaign Integrity Watchdog v. Alliance for a Safe and Independent Woodmen Hills on Monday, January 30, 2018.

Election Law—Constitutional Law—Political Speech.

The supreme court held that a political committee must report payments to a law firm for its legal defense as contributions, but not as expenditures. “[E]xpenditures . . . and obligations” under C.R.S. § 1-45-108(1)(a)(I) are limited to payments and obligations for expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate; payments for legal defense are not for express electoral advocacy. But, pursuant to Colo. Const. art. XXVIII, § 2(5)(a)(II), payments to a third-party law firm for a political committee’s legal defense count as reportable contributions because they are payments “made to a third party for the benefit of any . . . political committee.”

The court reversed the administrative law judge’s determination that the contribution-reporting requirement is unconstitutional as applied to Alliance for a Safe and Independent Woodmen Hills (Alliance). Under Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 61–68 (1976), for political committees like Alliance whose major purpose is influencing elections, the governmental interests in political transparency and preventing corruption justify the First Amendment burdens of reporting and disclosure. It makes little difference that the payments here were made post-election and for legal defense; elections are cyclical and money is fungible.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Lawyer’s Donations of Legal Services Were Not “Contributions” Under Campaign Finance Law

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Coloradans for a Better Future v. Campaign Integrity Watchdog on Monday, January 29, 2018.

Election Law—Disclosure.

A lawyer filed a report for Coloradans for a Better Future (Better Future), a political organization, without charging a fee. The supreme court reversed the court of appeals’ determination that Better Future was required to report the donated legal service as a “contribution” under Colorado’s campaign-finance laws. The constitutional definition of “contribution” does not address political organizations, and neither part of the statutory definition relied on by the court of appeals covers legal services donated to political organizations. C.R.S. § 1-45-103(6)(b) does not apply to political organizations, and the word “gift” in C.R.S. § 1-45-103(6)(c)(I) does not include gifts of service.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/30/2018

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and five unpublished opinions.

McKinney v. United States

United States v. Hutchinson

Anderson v. Arnold

Dangim v. FNU LNU

United States v. Aguirre

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board Opinion Issued Regarding Memorial Fundraiser for Judge’s Late Son

The Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board issued C.J.E.A.B. Opinion 2018-01 on January 29, 2018. The opinion addresses whether a judge can help plan, play in, and invite others to play in a golf tournament designed to raise funds for an endowed scholarship honoring the judge’s late son if the judge’s name and title are not used to promote the tournament. The C.J.E.A.B. determined that the tournament may bear the name of the judge’s late son, and may invite family friends, lawyers, non-lawyers, and others to play in the tournament. The judge may also help plan the tournament, personally solicit family members and judges not under the judge’s supervision or appellate authority to participate in the tournament, and attend and play in the tournament.

For the complete text of C.J.E.A.B. Opinion 2018-01, click here. For all of the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board’s opinions, click here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Announcement Sheet, 1/29/2018

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two published opinions.

Coloradans for a Better Future v. Campaign Integrity Watchdog

Campaign Integrity Watchdog v. Alliance for a Safe and Independent Woodmen Hills

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/29/2018

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and one unpublished opinion.

Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.