1-45-102. Legislative declaration
Overview of Statute
The people of Colorado find that large campaign contributions to political candidates allow contributors and interest groups to have a disproportionate level of influence over the political process. Thus, the public is best served by limiting campaign contributions, and by a full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions.
The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that large campaign contributions to political candidates allow wealthy contributors and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process; that large campaign contributions create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that the rising costs of campaigning for political office prevent qualified citizens from running for political office; and that the interests of the public are best served by limiting campaign contributions, establishing campaign spending limits, full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions, and strong enforcement of campaign laws.
Source: Initiated 96: Entire article R&RE, effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 15, 1997.Initiated 2012, (Amendment 65): Entire section amended, L. 2013, p. 3301, effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 1, 2013.
(2) This section was amended by initiative in 2012. The vote count on the measure at the general election held November 6, 2012, was as follows:
Colorado is unique in that its state constitution allows “any person” to file a campaign finance complaint. For an article on why this is a bad thing, encouraging lawsuits to harass political opponents, see http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/23/colorados-campaign-finance-bullies-threaten-free-speech/.
1. Definition for Contribution
(a) (I) The payment, loan, pledge, gift, or advance of money, or guarantee of a loan, made to any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee, or political party;
(II) Any payment made to a third party for the benefit of any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee, or political party;
(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee or political party;
(IV) Anything of value given, directly or indirectly, to a candidate for the purpose of promoting the candidate’s nomination, retention, recall, or election.
(b) “Contribution” does not include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, candidate committee, political committee, small donor committee, issue committee, or political party; a transfer by a membership organization of a portion of a member’s dues to a small donor committee or political committee sponsored by such membership organization; or payments by a corporation or labor organization for the costs of establishing, administering, and soliciting funds from its own employees or members for a political committee or small donor committee.
Section 2(5) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
C.R.S. § 1-45-103 further adds:
(b) “Contribution” includes, with regard to a contribution for which the contributor receives compensation or consideration of less than equivalent value to such contribution, including, but not limited to, items of perishable or nonpermanent value, goods, supplies, services, or participation in a campaign-related event, an amount equal to the value in excess of such compensation or consideration as determined by the candidate committee.
(c) “Contribution” also includes:
(I) Any payment, loan, pledge, gift, advance of money, or guarantee of a loan made to any political organization;
(II) Any payment made to a third party on behalf of and with the knowledge of the political organization; or
(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any political organization.
C.R.S. § 1-45-103.
2. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
3. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
4. Definition for Spending
Funds expended influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and includes, without limitation, any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value by any political organization, a contract, promise, or agreement to expend funds made or entered into by any political organization, or any electioneering communication by any political organization. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.
5. Definition for Candidate
Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
Regulations & Guidance
Campaign Finance Database: https://perma.cc/K5TC-KTDL