Denver City Council approves new rules requiring reports of dark-money spending in elections
• Sep 11, 2017
Jon Murray, Denver Post
Campaign finance changes approved Monday by the City Council could make it more difficult for big spenders to escape public notice in Denver elections.
The council proposal, approved unanimously in a block vote, will require the reporting of at least $1,000 in independent spending by individuals, companies or other organizations to support candidates or ballot issues. Those independent expenditures include any activity aiming to aid or hurt a candidate, including “electioneering communications” such as mailers, broadcast ads or other advertising.
The initial report to the Denver Elections Division — disclosing all expenses and donors above $25 — will be required within two days after cumulative spending reaches $1,000.
Advertising also would need to make clear who paid for each ad or mailer and affirm that the effort wasn’t coordinated with an official campaign. The first municipal election affected by the changes is in May 2019.
Other changes contained in the measure, which was recommended by a clerk-organized working group, include creation of a $50-per-day fine for candidates and committees that miss filing deadlines for finance reports. It also mandates more frequent reporting of donations and spending, including in the final weeks before an election as well as in the prior calendar year. Previously, candidates had been required to file only a year-end report in the prior year.
The Denver Post explored the issue in more depth in a story last week.
You can find the full article by Jon Murray here.