CO Campaign Finance Law Struck Down

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Rep. Kathleen Curry.

Former Rep. Kathleen Curry.

The Coloradoan and the Herald reported last week that the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of La Plata County Commissioner Joelle Riddle and, by extension, former State Representative Kathleen Curry of Gunnison in their suit challenging Colorado's campaign finance limits. 

In 2010, Curry ran a write-in campaign as an independent candidate. The fact that she was having to run as a write in is yet another form of discrimination against independent candidates, but that's a separate issue. 

The case involved Colorado's limit of individual contributions of $200 per election. If that number seems wrong to you, it's because that number raises to $400 if you are running as a Democrat or Republican, since you might have a primary, (but probably won't). 

In the 2010 election, despite running as a write in, Curry lost by only 359 votes. If she had been able to raise double the money, like each of her opponents, she certainly could have won. 

In the review of the case, 590 State House and Senate candidates from the Dem and GOP parties were examined and it was determined that only 63 of them had actually faced a primary challenge. Yet, all of them had been allowed to collect twice as much per individual donor and to use all of that money during months immediately before the general election. 

Colorado will now be forced to rethink it's campaign finance laws. One proposal is to copy the federal law and require separate accounts for primary and general election funds, and prohibit primary funds from being spent after the primary election date. Another option is to simply drop the charade of primary vs general funds and just let all candidates collect up to $400 regardless of party affiliation. Either way, Colorado election law is a little bit more fair today.  

About IndyNinja

I support People, not Parties. I support Ideas, not Ideologies. I am an independent voter.

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Good ruling, Curry is still an idiot.

  2. Not Dame Edna says:

    While I know Dems who felt stabbed in the back by Kathleen turning Independent, I think she is representative of the district she once served.

    Her are of expertise is water and she is very knowledgable in that very complicated area.

    Overall, a good ruling. And further clarification should be as simple as possible. Let candidates collect $400 and forget separating primary from general election funds. Our campaign finance laws are complicated enough.

  3. davebarnes says:

    "Another option is to simply drop the charade" and change the law to allow candidates to accept UNLIMITED funds from any human being.

    Full transparancy would be required.

    • gaf says:

      Dave, I have heard that "unlimited funds" with "full transparancy" argument for decades. I have yet to see a single politician or political operative who made that argument who actually lifted a finger to make the "full transparacy" part happen. Quite the opposite in reality. It has always been bullshit and hypocracy. All they really want is the "unlimited funds" part.

      So if you want the "unlimited funds" part, first get me effective, iron-clad "full transparancy"–then we can talk.

      P.S. You sound like the Supreme Court in Citizens United (paraphrased): "Disclosure will take care of all the problems–good luck with that."

  4. mamajama55 says:

    This should make it a more level playing field for Independent candidates – and that's a good thing.

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