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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Fair Campaign Practices Act

1-45-112.5. Immunity from liability

Overview of Statute

Any volunteer for a candidate or candidate committee is immune from a fine or penalty for performance of required duties so long as the person acted in good faith, within the scope of their duties, and did not willfully or intentionally violate any provision. Media outlets are also immune from civil liability in any court where the media outlet contracts with either unregistered or noncompliant entities for independent expenditures.

Statute

(1) Any individual volunteering his or her time on behalf of a candidate or candidate committee shall be immune from any liability for a fine or penalty imposed pursuant to section 10 (1) of article XXVIII of the state constitution in any proceeding that is based on an act or omission of such volunteer if:

(a) The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of such volunteer’s official functions and duties for the candidate or candidate committee; and

(b) The violation was not caused by willful and intentional misconduct by such volunteer.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall be administered in a manner that is consistent with section 1 of article XXVIII of the state constitution and with the legislative declaration set forth in section 1-45-102.

(3) Any media outlet shall be immune from civil liability in any court where the media outlet:

(a) Withdraws advertising time reserved by an independent expenditure committee that fails to register in accordance with the requirements of section 1-45-107.5 (3) (a); or

(b) Elects to void an advertising contract and the advertisement:

(I) Is paid for by an independent expenditure committee that fails to register under section 1-45-107.5 (3) (a);

(II) Is paid for by an independent expenditure committee that is registered under section 1-45-107.5 (3) (a) but the committee fails to file a disclosure report under section 1-45-108 (2) through the date of the most recent required report; or

(III) Fails to satisfy the requirements of section 1-45-107.5 (5) (a).

(4) An affected media outlet may void a contract that implicates paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of this section in the sole discretion of the media outlet.

 

 

Source: L. 2003: Entire section added, p. 2160, § 6, effective June 3.L. 2010: (3) and (4) added, (SB 10-203), ch. 269, p. 1237, § 7, effective May 25.

Cross references: For the legislative declaration in the 2010 act adding subsections (3) and (4), see section 1 of chapter 269, Session Laws of Colorado 2010.

Definition [Expenditure]

Any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money by any person for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or supporting or opposing a ballot issue or ballot question. An expenditure is made when the actual spending occurs or when there is a contractual agreement requiring such spending and the amount is determined.

(b) “Expenditure” does not include:

(I) Any news articles, editorial endorsements, opinion or commentary writings, or letters to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party;

(II) Any editorial endorsements or opinions aired by a broadcast facility not owned or controlled by a candidate or political party;

(III) Spending by persons, other than political parties, political committees and small donor committees, in the regular course and scope of their business or payments by a membership organization for any communication solely to members and their families;

(IV) Any 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 made by a corporation or labor organization for the costs of establishing, administering, or soliciting funds from its own employees or members for a political committee or small donor committee.

Section 2(8) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Media outlet]

A publication or broadcast medium that transmits news, feature stories, entertainment, or other information to the public through various distribution channels, including, without limitation, newspapers; magazines; radio; and broadcast, cable, or satellite television. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Candidate committee]

A person, including the candidate, or persons with the common purpose of receiving contributions or making expenditures under the authority of a candidate. A contribution to a candidate shall be deemed a contribution to the candidate’s candidate committee. A candidate shall have only one candidate committee. A candidate committee shall be considered open and active until affirmatively closed by the candidate or by action of the secretary of state. Section 2(3) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Independent expenditure]

An expenditure that is not controlled by or coordinated with any candidate or agent of such candidate. Expenditures that are controlled by or coordinated with a candidate or candidate’s agent are deemed to be both contributions by the maker of the expenditures, and expenditures by the candidate committee. Section 2(9) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Independent expenditure committee]

One or more persons that make an independent expenditure in an aggregate amount in excess of one thousand dollars or that collect in excess of one thousand dollars from one or more persons for the purpose of making an independent expenditure. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [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.

Definition [Committee]

The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.

Definition [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.

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