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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Public official disclosure and reporting requirements - 4 of 25

Background

Part 2 of article 6 of title 24, C.R.S., otherwise known as the "Public Official Disclosure Law", outlines requirements for the disclosure and reporting by public officials, including members of the General Assembly, of certain types of information. Section 24-6-202, C.R.S., largely concerns the disclosure of financial information, such as sources of income, businesses in which the legislator holds a financial interest, interest in property, the identification of all offices, directorships, and fiduciary relationships held by the legislator, and significant creditors of the legislator. Disclosure extends to the legislator's immediate family. Financial disclosure must be made within 30 days after the legislator's election or reelection, and each legislator must file an amended statement on or before January 10 of each calendar year.

The reporting of  gifts, honoraria, and other benefits that an incumbent in or candidate elected to public office receives in connection with his or her public service is the subject of section 24-6-203, C.R.S. Section 24-6-203 (3), C.R.S., lists certain items that are required to be reported, and section 24-6-203 (4), C.R.S., lists other items that the legislator need not include in his or her report. Gift and honoraria reporting is to be made quarterly. If a legislator does not receive any of the covered items, he or she need not file a report. Reports under both statutory sections must be filed with the secretary of state's office.

The subject of disclosure of reimbursement for travel expenses is addressed in section 24-6-203 (3) (f) and (4) (d), C.R.S. In relevant part, reimbursement for travel must be disclosed if payment of the reimbursement comes from a financial source other than public funds of a state or local government or from the funds of any association of public officials or public entities whose membership includes the member’s office or the General Assembly.

Hypothetical

Reporting General Assembly reimbursement for travel expenses

You are the chair of an interim legislative committee formed to study the conversion of outdated shopping malls to alternate uses. A private non-profit foundation promoting this type of development by the name of STOP (for "Start Transferring Open Parcels") has put together a trip for legislators from across the nation to study successful conversion projects in a dozen different cities. STOP wants to reimburse you for your reasonable travel expenses involved in participating on the trip. STOP receives less than 5% of its revenues from for-profit entities.

Question

Are you required under the Public Official Disclosure Law ("PODL") to disclose the reimbursement you will receive for these travel-related expenditures?
Select NO. As it doesn't look like you would be able to accept reimbursement for the trip under Amendment 41, you shouldn't go, making disclosure of this reimbursement a moot point.
Select YES. Since the reimbursement is coming from the funds of a nonprofit entity that is not an entity whose membership includes your office or the General Assembly, you are required to disclose your acceptance of it.
Select YES. This trip sounds like one of those  "junkets" that is the source of much criticism. Accordingly, if you go, you should disclose it if only for the sake of preventing an appearance of impropriety.
Select NO. The work STOP does is really important to your constituents. There are 3 old and decaying shopping malls in your district alone. You feel a strong need to join the trip to learn how to generate the process of conversion in Colorado. This is such a boring issue and the sights are so depressing -- why would anyone think a member would be going on this trip if he or she didn't feel the issue was so important?


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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