Election Law Blog
Law Firm Serving Denver and Colorado
Monday, June 30, 2008
Millionaires' Amendment Overturned by the Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned the Federal Election Commission's "Millionaires' Amendment" on Thursday. The Amendment was passed in 2002 as part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BRCA), also known as the McCain-Feingold law, to "level electoral opportunities." It stipulated that if a United States House candidate spends more then $350,000 of his or her own money, his or her opponent may accept triple the FEC-mandated $2,300-per-donor limit per election.
In the case of U.S. Senate candidates, the donor-limit may be increased based on their state's population.
The Amendment was challenged by a New York Democrat
Jack Davis, who has run and lost the previous two election cycles for a U.S. House seat in that state. Between his races in 2004 and 2006, Davis spent $4 million of his own finances, triggering the Amendment's provisions. Davis is running again this year and expects to spend $3 million of his own money on this campaign.
During his 2006 run, Davis filed suit to overturn the Amendment. Davis argued that by allowing his opponents to raise money above the usual contribution limits, the Amendment diminished his First Amendment right to unfettered political speech.
The Court agreed, stating that "while the BCRA does not impose a cap on a candidate's expenditure of personal funds, it imposes an unprecedented penalty on any candidate who robustly exercises that First Amendment right, requiring him to choose between the right to engage in unfettered political speech and subjection to discriminatory fundraising limits." The Court concluded that it would be an unfair advantage to place limitations on a self-financed candidate but extend limits for his or her opponent.
Led by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, this is the third time that this court has considered campaign finance
law and the third time that the law in question has been struck down or found to be unconstitutional as applied to a particular group of people.
These significant decisions signal the strong conservative leaning of the court as it has limited Congress's ability to limit campaign contributions to prevent "corruption or the appearance of corruption."
View the Federal Elections Commission's definition of the Millionaires' Amendment here.
View the NPR article here.
WRITTEN BY KATIE KENNEDY
- Law Clerk Zakhem/Atherton, LLC.
Labels: Amendment, Campaign Finance, elections
posted by Emily Kinzer at 12:12 PM
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
President McCain or President Obama???
The big question looming in the air now has changed from who will the Democratic presidential nominee be, to who will become the 44th President of the United States?? Campaigning
has already begun and Presidential polls have started popping up across the country. If you haven't already, now is the time to start researching all candidates.
Now that we have two presumptive nominees for the 2008 Presidential election
, it is time to dive deep into the major issues to see who you best feel is fit to run our nation. How do Republican
candidate John McCain and Democratic
candidate Barack Obama compare with your own beliefs on major issues?
From concerns about the economy and the war in Iraq to topics of Social Security and the health care system, to debates over gun ownership guidelines and housing distress, there is a broad range of issues guiding this year's presidential race. Both candidates made their intentions and opinions quite clear over the past several months. Follow the links below for a side by side comparison of the two candidates.
See the Denver Post/Associated Press
outline of McCain and Obama.
See CNN Politics
outline of McCain and Obama.
Labels: Democratic, elections, Presidential Nominee, Republican
posted by Emily Kinzer at 1:37 PM
Friday, June 06, 2008
Republican State Assembly and Convention
This past Saturday was a very successful, smooth event at the Republican State Convention in Broomfield. Over 4,000 delegates, alternate delegates, media, press members, guests and staff turned up to partake in the event. The delegates of the assembly successfully designated Bob Schaffer to the Primary election
ballot for the office of United States Senator, representing both the Republican Party as well as the state of Colorado.
Mark Hillman and Lilly Nunez were elected as National Committeeman and National Committeewoman to represent Colorado as voting members of the Republican National Committee. The Assembly also elected 22 at-large delegates and 22 at-large alternate delegates that will join the Colorado delegation previously elected at the Congressional district assemblies to attend the 2008 Republican National Convention
in Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota on September 1st-4th. The assembly considered important declarations of Republican Party policy and platform as Resolutions.
Click here to see the results from the State Assembly
Click here to see the results form the Congressional Assemblies
Zakhem Law and the Colorado State legislators co-hosted the John McCain Suite/Republican Unity Reception with the co-sponsorships of Richard Sapkin, the Lincoln Club of Colorado, Mark Hillman, Colorado Chiropractors Association, Colorado Natural Land Trust, the Colorado Federation of College Republicans, and Freedom Task Force.
The assembly ran very smoothly with the legal help of John Zakhem
and Ryan R. Call,
senior and deputy legal counsel for the Colorado Republican
Party and even ran ahead of schedule! The keynote speaker Governor Mitt Romney addressed the differences and contrasts between Barack Obama and John McCain. He left the stage with a standing ovation and a loudly cheering crowd.
Now preparation begins for the fall. August and November will turn out anxiously anticipated results. Anything can happen.
Labels: Assembly, elections, Republican, RNC
posted by Emily Kinzer at 10:29 AM
Friday, May 23, 2008
Colorado is a major focal point this election cycle
. With approximately 1/3 unaffiliated voters, get ready for major campaigning in the months ahead in this swing state. With two visits previously this year to Colorado, another one is already set for next week.
GOP presidential nominee John McCain will visit the Stampede in Aurora for a $500-$5,000 per person fundraising event
as well as hold a foreign policy speech at the University of Denver that is open to the public on Tuesday. The more than likely presidential Democratic nominee Barack Obama, who is 59 delegate votes
away from securing the nomination, will follow his GOP rival into the state for uncertain event, his second visit to Colorado, on Wednesday.
At the February 5th Colorado caucuses, Obama beat Democrat Hillary Clinton with 66% of the vote. McCain lost to Republican
Mitt Romney 60% to 18% but has since worked and succeeded to gain Colorado's Republican support. New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado are thought to be major battlegrounds well into November due to the large numbers of unaffiliated voters among the three Midwestern states.
I guess we will have to wait until November 4th, 2008 to see what way this swing state will sway. Until then, gear up for the campaigning!
Labels: Campaigning, Democratic, Denver, elections, GOP
posted by Emily Kinzer at 8:15 AM
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
One Presidential Nomination still undecided
With John McCain chosen for months as the Republican
presidential nominee he is able to focus on addressing issues, traveling to states to speak and campaign for himself for the upcoming November election
while the Democratic candidates are still campaigning against each other for the much needed delegate votes of the few states still remaining to hold their primaries.
North Carolina (115 delegate votes) and Indiana (72 delegate votes) primaries
are being held today and could play either a big step in the final decision for the Democratic presidential nominee or the race could continue neck and neck for another few weeks. North Carolina and Indiana hold a combined total of 187 delegate votes. As it stands now, Hillary Clinton carries with her 1,602 delegate votes while Barack Obama maintains the lead with 1,735 delegate votes. Either candidate needs 2,025 votes to seal the nomination spot. It is speculated that if Obama wins both states, many of the 231 undecided super delegate votes will begin swinging in his favor and he will clutch the spot. However, if Clinton repeats her victory from two weeks ago, persuasion is most likely to happen in her favor helping her gain momentum to take the lead. A split outcome would leave both candidates running, campaigning
and waiting out time until the final June 3rd primaries in Montana and South Dakota.
Final primaries on the calendar include:
May 13th in West Virginia (28 delegate votes)
May 20th in Kentucky (51 delegate votes)
in Oregon (52 delegate votes)
June 1st in Puerto Rico (55 delegate votes)
June 3rd in Montana (16 delegate Votes)
in South Dakota (15 delegate Votes)
Labels: Delegates, Democratic, Presidential Nominee, Republican
posted by Emily Kinzer at 3:06 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
State Conventions Rapidly Approaching
The election cycle is plugging along at what feels like a rapid pace. State convention and assemblies
are already only a month away. The Republican state convention will be taking place on Saturday May 31st, 2008 starting at 7:00 am for credentialing followed by the 9:00 am assembly. It is being held at the Broomfield Events Center in Broomfield Colorado. Click here
for more information on the GOP. The Democratic state convention will begin with a day of events on Friday May 16th starting at 8:30 am. Saturday credentialing begins at 7:00 am with the convention convening at 10:00 am at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. To see the Democratic itinerary click here
So, you want to be a delegate?
In order to be eligible to place your name into nomination at the upcoming Colorado State Conventions and Assemblies in May, and serve as a delegate or alternate delegate from Colorado to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota on September 1st-4th, 2008 or as a delegate from Colorado to the Democratic National Convention here in Denver on August 25th -28th 2008, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
(Depending on the convention you wish to attend) you must be a registered Republican or Democratic elector;
- you must be a resident of the precinct for thirty days prior to the precinct caucuses (i.e. resident of the precinct on or before Monday, January 7, 2008 or December 23, 2007);
- you must be affiliated with the Republican or Democratic Party for at least two months prior to the precinct caucuses, or attained the age of eighteen years or become a naturalized citizen during the two months immediately preceding the precinct caucus (i.e. affiliated with the Republican or Democratic Party on or before Wednesday, December 5, 2007);
- you must be a delegate or alternate delegate to the Colorado Republican or Democratic State Assembly/Convention, and must not have moved from the county from which you were elected since the time of election;
- you must file a properly completed nomination form and statement of intent to run with the Chairman of the State Central Committee which must be received at State Party Headquarters no later than the close of business 10 days prior to the State Assembly/Convention or in 10 days prior to the Congressional District Assembly; and
- in addition, candidates for national delegate are strongly encouraged, but are not required, to identify honestly and in good faith the presidential candidate they are supporting, and the ballot for national delegates shall include the presidential preference of each candidate.
Get ready, before you know it the Primary and General Elections
will be here and many new faces will take office across Colorado and in the White House. Enjoy the 2008 process!
Labels: Assembly, Convention, Delegates, Democratic, GOP
posted by Emily Kinzer at 12:31 PM
Monday, April 14, 2008
The National Conventions
Big plans are being finalized for both parties
regarding National Conventions. Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota will be home from September 1st-4th for the Republicans and Denver, Colorado will be hosting the Democrats on August 25th-28th.
Right now it is estimated that both cities will see a massive increase of people during these days. The Republican Party
is expecting 45,000 delegates, alternate delegates, party officials, volunteers, members of the media and guests to swarm Minneapolis-St. Paul. Denver is expected to see 35,000 people directly tied into the Democratic Party wandering streets, filling the Pepsi Center, and attending conferences throughout the city.
The Republican Convention Co-Chairs Jo Ann Davidson, chairwoman of the Committee on Arrangement's (COA) and Maria Cino, COA president and CEO have been working to set the stage for the roughly 2,380 delegates and 2,230 alternate delegates come September. The convention will be the final step in nominating the Republican Party's Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate for the November 2008 election
. In addition, the delegates will be participating in various convention settings and participating on committees like the resolutions "Platform Committee", credentials committee or the rules committee. Both conventions are taking on a "green" approach. The Republican Party demonstrating this by adding flex-fuel and hybrid vehicles to the fleet of vehicles used, they have developed a paperless system to recruit and register the volunteers (approximately 8,000 of them), and they are focusing on using the internet as opposed to physical travel. The event is even being held at the Xcel Energy center and staff is working on ways to reduce the impact of electricity in regards to this convention. To research more information on the GOP convention please click here.
The Democrats will meet one week earlier to select the highly anticipated and challenged Democratic nomination for President and Vice President as well as participate in the different committee processes. Democratic Convention chair Nancy Pelosi, has unveiled an environmental challenge to the delegates. Delegates are attempting to create the most environmentally-sustainable convention in history. A prize will be awarded to the delegation with the most members offsetting their carbon production. Along with the challenge to the delegates, many areas of the processes have been placed online to save the paper needed for printing. The DNC is also maintaining an entire fleet of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles. A recycling effort has been placed to divert 85% of waste from the landfill. Click here
to view more on the Denver DNC. Service days have also been implemented into the DNC in order to serve the host community.
With the Presidential election approaching, these cities are preparing. Go to your Party's website to find out how to get involved.
Labels: Convention, Delegates, Democratic, GOP, National
posted by Emily Kinzer at 10:13 AM
Friday, April 04, 2008
Presidential Nomination rules may be changing in 2012
For the past 4 days the Republican National Committee Chairperson's have been meeting and discussing national issues and concerns. One of the major topics this year was the discussion on changing the rules for the 2012 Presidential Nomination process. During the conference, there were 4 possible options proposed to "fix" the outcome of this year's early primary calendar violators. (Click here to read in detail the different plans proposed)
New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan, Florida and Wyoming all received a punishment for violating party rules and were stripped of half of their delegates to the National Convention for holding their primaries prematurely. On the Democratic side, Florida and Michigan were denied all delegates to the National Convention here in Denver as a punishment for the same early primary violation.
The RNC Rules Committee
approved a new plan in a 20-12 vote. The entire Republican National Committee will consider the proposal in Minnesota at the August convention. The plan is called the "Ohio" Plan. It sets up a calendar based on regions of small-populated states and U.S. territories with similar allocations of electors that would be allowed to hold their primaries first during an election year.
The order in states would be rotated every four years but the smaller states would always be first. Iowa and New Hampshire would start the whole process off February 1st followed by South Carolina and Nevada. This was determined to hopefully lead a greater geographical diversity to the early-voting states.
The next group of 20 small states would then begin their nominating contests during the third full week in February. The smaller states/territories will be followed by the first group of medium-large states beginning sometime in the first full week of March. The next group would consist of the larger states convening at the end of March, and finally the process would end with the largest states waiting until April.
This plan was developed by Ohio GOP Chairman
Robert Bennett. He said it was important for a new plan to be proposed before things turn into a national primary taking out retail politics and the personal aspect of the primary process. Currenty there is no new proposal on the Democratic side. However, it is early and I'm sure there will be discussion in the future.
Labels: Caucus, elections, GOP, Primary
posted by Emily Kinzer at 10:47 AM
Friday, March 28, 2008
House Bill 1329
House Bill 1329
has passed in the Senate this week. It is a bill that would increase the time a voters name would stay on the active voters list. Currently, if a voter does not attend and vote in a general election
a card is sent out within 90 days. This card allows them to remain active if responding but also designates them inactive if there is no response. This new Bill would allow for another year to pass with non-involvement before the inactive status would apply. At anytime in both the current process and the proposed process the voter may contact their county clerk
to readmit their active status.
The supporters of this Bill include the sponsor Senator Ken Gordon, Denver, who says that this allows more people the oppertunity to vote. He states that it is "a societal good to have more people vote." Other supports argue that the system in place now disenfranchises people by requiring residents to engage in the political process every couple years just to remain active instead of allowing voters to participate at their own choice.
to this Bill includes many county clerks who argue that the active voter roll would increase to an unmanageable size if they were required to keep names on for the extra time. El Paso County Clerk Bob Balink said that the new measure would "flout the historic civic commitment voters are expected to show." And that "by definition, 'inactive' is a deliberate absence of activity or effort, yet this bill would call them active? That does not make sense to me." This new system would overload the list in larger counties like El Paso, who in last year alone recorded around 130,000 inactive voters or Denver County where 40% of voters, nearly 155,000 people are listed inactive.
Other opponents worry about the integrity of the system which would make it easier for voters to remain active even after moving. This could possibly allow them to come back for poll voting or even easier, use the mail-in ballot voting system causing these votes to be invalid.
Law makers are pushing and moving to a solution. We will see what happens regarding voter registration shortly. Click here to view this Bill
Labels: House Bill, Voter registration
posted by Emily Kinzer at 1:39 PM
Monday, March 24, 2008
After months of debate, it looks like balloting will be the individual choice of each County this election year.
About 60% of the states registered voters will be casting paper ballots in November on Election
Day. So far at least 35 of the 64 Colorado counties will be using paper balloting; Denver County being the largest, San Juan County being the smallest making this decision.
At least 9 counties, including Douglas, will offer voters a choice of electronic voting terminals or paper ballots in a hybrid system. Douglas County Clerk Jack Arrowsmith supports this process because "it offers the voter a choice." He also mentions that he wants his community's voters to have the option if they still harbor ill feelings due to prior electronic voting system mishaps.
Expect to see all-electronic polling if you live in Arapahoe, Jefferson, Weld, or Mesa County, where they will not have paper ballots in place at all. Republican Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany articulates "I've got total confidence in the machines."
This all stems from major issues involved with the electronic voting system in the 2004 election and the decertification of the voting machines across the state. Recently there has been discussion of mandating paper balloting statewide in all counties. Many county clerks
have expressed concern with the issue of scale and solidarity in the paper balloting system. Some counties are simply too large for paper ballots to be logical and economical.
Secretary of State Mike Coffman has been in the process of investigating the machines and recertifying them for this years use. As discussion about mandating paper ballots rose to it peak last week, Coffman defended the decision
to allow the counties to choose themselves by vocalizing his concern for the short notice to counties planning on using the recertified systems and thus possibly creating even greater problems."... there are some counties that aren't there, and at this late date, it would have been very difficult."
Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon
, who authored the paper ballot plan, has expressed doubts about the electronic voting machines. "I think that there are problems with electronic voting machines. And with paper ballots, you've got something you can verify, audit and recount." He said until recently, he didn't realize so many counties were already planning to use paper ballots. He still believes in the importance of creating a uniform statewide elections system. He feels it is especially important after Coffman temporarily decertified some machines while recertifying many others.
The deputy minority leader in the State House of Representatives David G. Balmer spoke up Thursday stating, "This solution will allow the method of voting to be decided by individual county clerks who know what kind of elections systems work best in their counties." Huerfano County Clerk Judy Benine agrees."I'm for whatever works for all of us" she said.
All paper ballots
won't be this year but there could be a change in the future. Make sure to check with your County Clerk if you are not sure what to expect at your 2008 polling place.
Labels: ballots, Colorado, elections
posted by Emily Kinzer at 9:08 AM
Friday, March 14, 2008
Campaign Finance Enforcement HB 08-1041 Passed
House Bill 08-1041, concerning the enforcement of legal requirements pertaining to campaign finance passed
in the House on February 12 and in the Senate March 13.
Sponsored in the House by Representative Carroll and in the Senate by Senator Gordon this bill authorizes any person who believes that campaign/political finance
rules or any part of the FCPA, Fair Campaign Practices Act, have been violated to file with the Secretary of State a written complaint that will be researched. Representative M. Carroll discussed the need for the enforcement provisions contained in the bill throughout the process.
Click here to see the details from the Colorado General Assembly
If after investigation, one is found guilty of a violation, the committing party will face processes and sanctions specified in Article XXVIII of the Colorado Constitution (Amendment 27) or as defined by sections of this new C.R.S. subsection. Sanctions may require reimbursement to the fund of the State
or Political subdivision.
Click here to see the timeline of this bill
posted by Emily Kinzer at 1:24 PM
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Paper Ballots for Denver in 2008
Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O'Malley announced today the decision for Denver voters to cast paper ballots in the upcoming General and Primary elections
this year. After the difficulties of 2006, where an estimated 20,000 voters walked away from voting centers with lines lasting over 4 hours, O'Malley hopes the paper ballot system will be more successful.
Along with paper ballots this year, the 426 precincts will be combined into around 175 "super-precinct" polling places. Denver is also planning on using the 240 DRE (direct recording electronic) touch-screen voting machines, once they are fixed and recertified, as devices for the disabled community. With an expected 90,000+ voters for the primary election and estimated 260,000+ voters for the general election, Denver is hoping to work all the kinks out prior to Election Day.
This idea of the "super-precinct" polling place comes after discussion of a proposed all-mail in ballot election where voters would be able to drop off their ballots or vote in person at any of the service centers designated.
O'Malley stated concerns that arose about the validity of the service centers, the ways in which the ballots would be counted, as well as how the disabled community's needs would be meet. This system would also require the use of an electronic poll book (an e-poll book) to verify voter's eligibility at the locations. The e-poll book was one of the major components in causing the 2006 problems. People also have stated a preference to vote in person. O'Malley declared that this could potentially create the same overcrowding the voting centers experienced in 2006.
"Citizens and committee members have told us several things very clearly. By and large they want paper ballots and they want the option of going to a polling place to vote
," said O'Malley.
Two concerns still remain even after O'Malley's decision for paper ballots:
1. There is an appeal awaiting decision with the Secretary of State's office concerning the DRE voting machines to be used in the limited capacity of aiding the disabled community;
2. There is discussion of possible action to be taken in the state legislature
forcing Denver to look into a mandatory state-wide mail in ballot.
As of right now the voting system models local choice not a mandatory voting model. This allows counties to create a system that works best for their needs based on their voting population.
Keep checking the Denver County Elections
page for updates on the 2008 elections. Have questions about the 2008 elections or your voter registration? Visit the Secretary of State here
Labels: ballots, Denver, elections
posted by Emily Kinzer at 4:20 PM
Monday, March 03, 2008
The race continues for the Presidential nomination
The race continues forward for the presidential nomination on both the Republican and Democratic
sides. Tomorrow, March 4th, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont all hold their primaries which could be the make or break point for candidates on both sides. Here's where things stand:
Arizona Sen. John McCain has taken recent primaries in Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. With 1,033 delegates, McCain is currently the front-runner and is pretty sure to be the Republican nomination for President.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee remains in the race in 2nd position with a total of 247 delegates winning Louisiana and Kansas since Super Tuesday last month. He has voiced his intentions of staying in the race until he or Sen. McCain obtain the needed 1,191 delegates to officially acquire the nomination.
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who has not won anywhere, remains in the challenge holding on to 21 pledged delegates. Tomorrow in Texas, not only will he rally for votes for the presidential nomination but he will be vying for his House seat as well. Democrats
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has seemed to be on a successful track lately winning not only the States but the Virgin Islands and the Democrats Abroad Global primaries as well. He is headed into tomorrow with hopes of solidifying his role as the party's
front-runner moving him closer to the Democratic nomination. Out in the lead with 1,369 total delegates secured, the momentum is not expected to stop for Sen. Obama.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton needs to capture the vote in both Texas (193 delegates) and Ohio (141 delegates) to remain competitive against Sen. Obama. While she still remains very close to Sen. Obama with a total of 1,267 pledged delegates, Sen. Clinton has fallen short at the last 11 nominating contests. Trailing by only 102 delegate votes, it is a very close, tight race. The results of Tuesday's primaries could make or break Sen. Clinton campaign.
See the total delegate count for Republican
candidates. To see a list of State primary/caucus dates click here.
posted by Emily Kinzer at 8:00 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008
Commerce City Tea Party Still Fighting Against Annexation
A week ago today a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of residents, property owners, business owners, and electors in newly-annexed areas of Commerce City who call them selves the "Commerce City Tea Party". (View the press release here)
Dressed in 18th century style clothing, the members organized and modeled their own version of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They signed the complaint
, a representation of their rebellion against the city of the forced annexation of enclave parcels of rural land in Commerce City, on the front steps of the Adams County Court House.
Along with 1,260 acres comes a $3.2 million increase in property and sales tax revenues to the city of Commerce City. The annexation, which was imposed without the acquiescence of the land owners, also requires the once rural land to be rezoned, zoned down in some cases, causing devastating problems for many businesses.
"Annexation has been imposed without the consent of the landowners or a vote of the people, and the residents and business owners affected have decried the city's actions as taxation without representation," said John Zakhem
, attorney for the group. The lawsuit filed against the city asks the courts to declare that the city over stepped its jurisdiction and abused its discretion by enacting the annexation ordinances adopted on December 17, effective December 31, 2007. See photo here.
posted by Emily Kinzer at 1:17 PM
Friday, February 15, 2008
The next step... the County Assembly
The next step... the County Assembly. County Assemblies will be held in each of the 64 Colorado Counties some time between February 20, 2008 and March 18, 2008. This is your chance to elect the county delegates to the Colorado State Assembly, as well as to the Congressional District Convention. You are able to aid in the decision on who is elected
to seats in the State House, State Senate and State Judicial districts as well as decide on who in your county will be placed on the ballot for the August primary election. Make sure to check with your representative political party
Chairman on the location, date and time for your specific County Assembly. Your vote will matter so make sure you go out and use it!
posted by Emily Kinzer at 11:36 AM
Friday, February 08, 2008
Ah finally a weekend to recover from Colorado's record turnout at Tuesday night's Caucus. An estimated 120,000 Democrats and an estimated 65,000 Republicans showed up to caucus across the state. Most counties quadrupled (if not more) the number of participants they had in 2004. It's always exciting to see lively participation in politics especially in an active election
year. The results of this record turn out......... Senator Romney and Senator Obama pulled out as winners in Colorado.
Barack Obama overwhelmingly won among the Democratic base. He surged a 2 to 1 victory over Hilary Clinton while Mitt Romney clearly won with a 3 to 2 victory over John McCain.
Although Mitt Romney pulled a distinct win in Colorado, not the same was said across the county on Super Tuesday. With enough of a difference between McCain and himself, Romney suspended his campaign Thursday.
View Romney's withdrawal speech here at the associatedpress.com
Remember that the Presidential Preference poll wasn't the only thing decided Tuesday; delegates were elected to move on to the County Assembly. Make sure to check with your Party Chair for information as well as the time and the location for your specific county.
posted by Emily Kinzer at 1:00 PM
Friday, January 25, 2008
posted by Jon Moss at 9:59 AM
Friday, December 14, 2007
Unincorporated Adams County Residents and Businesses Protest Annexation at Commerce City Tea Party Rally
Contact: Les Burch at Sascho, Inc. 303-286-7271
Ryan Call at Zakhem Law 303-641-4274
COMMERCE CITY - Over 120 citizens braved the cold temperatures and the even colder gaze of the Commerce City Mayor this afternoon to protest the City's planned unilateral annexation of 1,260 acres of unincorporated Adams County and the resulting $3.2 million tax hike.
The Commerce City Tea Party, a coalition of residents, business owners, landowners, and other interested citizens held a press conference and rally at noon today outside the front entrance of City Hall to voice their objections to forced annexation without the consent of landowners, or a vote of the people. Participants waved yard signs, marched with hand-written placards, and sipped hot tea while they heard from representatives of the Commerce City Tea Party and Senator Lois Tochtrop (D-Thornton).
Ryan Call, an attorney from the firm of Zakhem Law hired to represent the coalition opposing annexation, spoke to the crowd first, addressing questions of both law and policy. "It is true that Colorado law permits cities to unilaterally annex land without a vote of the landowners if such parcels constitute an enclave; however, state law is also quite clear that the boundaries of such enclave cannot consist of public rights of way. Here, a significant portion of the boundaries consist of railroad rights of way, which the state constitution itself defines as a public highway." Call continued, "But even if the City tries to say the state constitution doesn't mean what it says, there is something morally wrong when a government that these citizens did not elect, imposes its authority, and an added layer of governmental bureaucracy and taxation without the consent of those citizens, and without a vote of the people."
Senator Lois Tochtrop agreed that the City's actions were improper, and that the statutes relating to enclave annexation were never intended to be used to force large areas of industrial and agricultural land to be annexed without the consent of the landowners - particularly where the boundaries are defined solely by railroad rights of way. "Whether it is legal or not, it is certainly immoral," she said. A champion of private property rights, Senator Tochtrop introduced a bill last session to require that all enclave annexations be submitted to a vote of the people.
Glen Murray, a third-generation farmer who finds his family farm operation in the middle of the proposed annexation area, also spoke to the assembled group. "Our family has lived here and has been a part of this community since 1917, but if I am annexed into the City, there's no way I can comply with all the zoning and regulations, or afford to pay these taxes, and still continue to operate my farm."
Les Burch, a member of the Board of Directors of the Commerce City Tea Party and President of Sascho, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high quality sealants, estimated that it would cost his company at least $70,000 a year in additional taxes, in addition the added burdens and costs associated with complying with city codes and regulations that will further impact the ability to grow his business and create new jobs. "In ten years this annexation plan will cost our company a million dollars, and we may just have to relocate in order to effectively compete or grow our company."
The plan proposed by Commerce City will annex 122 parcels, consisting of approximately 1,263 acres of currently unincorporated Adams County. The northern portion is mostly industrial, and lies between the between the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroad lines on the west and east, 112th Avenue on the north and 88th Avenue on the south. The southern portion contains more residences. A map of the proposed annexation area accompanies this press release. In total, ninety (90) businesses will be annexed, including the businesses located in the DiGiorgio Industrial Park, as well as an estimated 320 residents.
The Commerce City Council is expected to take up the two annexation ordinances for a Second and Final Reading vote at 7:00 p.m. on Monday evening, December 17 at City Hall, where additional public comment will be heard. The annexations are being conducted as enclave annexations pursuant to § 31-12-106, Colo. Revised Statutes.
posted by Jon Moss at 9:01 AM
Monday, August 20, 2007
Iowa Straw Poll
Recently, two members of our team were able to attend and participate in the Ames Straw Poll. If you have never heard of the Ames Straw Poll, here is an abbreviated explanation:
During each presidential contest where there is not an incumbent Republican candidate, the Iowa Republican Party holds a major event known as the Ames Straw Poll. It is first and foremost a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party,with tickets to attend and cast a straw poll ballot costing $35 each. Because the event takes place in Iowa, about six months before the first in the nation caucuses, it has come to be regarded as the first official kick-off to the race to the Presidency on the Republican side.
The Iowa Straw poll provides an opportunity for Republican hopefuls to demonstrate the effectiveness of their respective campaign organizations and get-out-the-vote machines. It's the fifth such poll ever and the first since 1999, and generally has been a good predictor of who will be the choice of Iowa caucus-goers months from now, giving critical momentum to the selection of the eventual Republican nominee.
The event is held on the campus of Iowa State University, and each participating candidate has a tent area where supporters are treated with food, concerts, and games for the children. Attendees (Iowa residents only) each cast a ballot for the candidate that they currently support.
This year's event was held on August 11th, and an estimated 25,000 Republicans braved 95-degree heat and humidity to be a part of this storied event. Here are a few of my observations and awards from this year's event:
Most Zealous Supporters: Rep. Ron Paul. The Ron Paul campaign had supporters from all over the country converge on Ames. When we arrived two hours before the event, they were already out in full force. My personal favorite was an RV of Ron Paul supporters painted with the slogan "Granny Warriors."
Best Entrance: Gov. Tommy Thompson's Bike Rally. A biker rally with an estimated 175 riders rolled up. You didn't need to see them; you could hear the roar of the motorcycles from a mile away.
Best Stage Show: Gov. Mike Huckabee. Some campaigns hire a band for Ames, some hire three. But Governor Huckabee brings his own band. Huckabee played bass for his band "Capitol Offense", and we have to report that they sounded pretty good too. Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall Show has nothing on Huckabee!
Best Tent: Sen. Brownback. Two words: AIR CONDITIONING.
Best Speech Line: Gov. Romney. During the candidate speeches, "Sen. Edwards proposes that each family be allowed to save $250 tax free each year. This doesn't pay for retirement, a house, a car ... and in the case of Senator Edwards, it doesn't even pay for a haircut."
The Winner: Iowa Voters and the Iowa Republican Party. Although Gov. Romney won the vote, it was the Iowa Voters and the Iowa Republican Party that were the big winners. The Ames Straw Poll was an excellent atmosphere for Republicans to meet their presidential candidates and to also be educated on key issues facing the nation in the upcoming election. It was an amazing experience at this event. So if you have never attended an Ames Straw Poll, set time aside in 2016 after the next Republican President has served his eight-year term.
Straw Poll Results:
Mitt Romney 4516 votes (31.5%)
Mike Huckabee 2587 votes (18.1%)
Sam Brownback 2192 votes (15.3%)
Tom Tancredo 1961 votes (13.7%)
Ron Paul 1305 votes (9.1%)
Tommy Thompson 1,009 votes (7.3%)
Fred Thompson 231 votes (1.6%)
Rudy Giuliani 183 votes (1.3%)
Duncan Hunter 174 votes (1.2%)
John McCain 101 votes (0.7%)
John Cox 41 votes (0.3%)
posted by Erik & Jennifer Groves at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O'Malley has named Michael Scarpello
as Denver's Director of Elections and Helen Gonzales
as the Deputy Director of the Clerk and Recorder's Office. Read the press release, and a description of Mr. Sarpello's and Ms. Gonzales' background and qualifications here.
Since the City Charter change, and her election this spring, Denver Clerk and Recorder O'Malley has, in my estimation, brought a level of professionalism and competence to her new responsibilities that has been refreshing. We can only hope that Mr. Scarpello and the rest of the Elections Division is up to the task.
Posted by Ryan R. Call, Esq.
posted by Jon Moss at 8:27 AM
Friday, August 03, 2007
Appeals Court finds that raid on Congressional Office of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) violated the Constitution
The AP reports
, (with special thanks to Drudge
for the link), on this opinion
in USA v. Rayburn House Office Building issued by the D.C. Circuit. The Court held that aspects of the search violated the Speech or Debate Clause. It concludes:
Accordingly, we hold that the Congressman is entitled to the return of all legislative materials (originals and copies) that are protected by the Speech or Debate Clause seized from Rayburn House Office Building Room 2113 on May 20-21, 2006. Further, as contemplated by the warrant affidavit, the FBI agents who executed the search warrant shall continue to be barred from disclosing the contents of any privileged or "politically sensitive and non-responsive items," and they shall not be involved in the pending prosecution or other charges arising from the investigation described in the warrant affidavit other than as regards responsiveness.
In her opinion concurring in the judgment, Judge Henderson concludes:
In sum, I believe the Executive Branch's execution of a search warrant on a congressional office--with its unavoidable but minimal exposure to records of legislative acts--does not constitute "question[ing]" within the meaning of the Speech or Debate Clause. On this reading of the Clause, Rep. Jefferson remains subject to the same criminal process that applies to his constituents. See Gravel, 408 U.S. at 626. As "[t]he laws of this country allow no place or employment as a sanctuary for crime," Williamson v. United States, 207 U.S. 425, 439 (1908) (quoting King v. Willkes, 2 Wils. 151 (1763)), I would conclude that the Speech or Debate Clause does not bar the Executive Branch's execution of a search warrant on a congressional office and, accordingly, deny Rep. Jefferson's Rule 41(g) motion.
The distinguished Democrat Congressman from Louisiana is charged with soliciting over $500,000 in bribes, $90,000 of which was later recovered by the FBI in a freezer in the Congressman's Washington home -- giving rise to countless late-night punchlines about the ability of Democratic elected officials to bring new meaning to the term "cold, hard cash."
Posted by Ryan Call, Esq.
On a related note - Ethics Reform!
reports that the US Senate has adopted a comprehensive Ethics Reform bill
, which moves to the White House for presidential signature—or possible veto. The Senate vote was 83-14 (roll call vote here
). According to Roll Call, "The real test came earlier in the day, when conservative Republican Senators -- who said the bill fell short on limiting earmarks-- tried to kill it on a procedural vote to end debate. Three GOP Senators--Wayne Allard (Colo.), Sam Brownback (Kan.) and Jim Bunning (Ky.) -- voted against cloture but then voted for the bill. " The full text of the bill can be found here
The Washington Post reports
that "the White House said President Bush had 'serious concerns' about the measure and had not decided whether to sign it."
Posted by Ryan Call, Esq.
posted by Jon Moss at 12:31 PM
Colorado Secretary of State Rulemaking
The Colorado Secretary of State is considering substantive rulemaking to both the rules governing the conduct of elections in the State of Colorado, as well as campaign finance related matters.
A copy of the proposed rules governing elections, revised and re-published 8-2-07 is available here
A copy of the proposed rules concerning campaign finance regulation in the state, posted earlier this week, is available here
Comment and a detailed analysis of the proposed rules will be posted here shortly, and your own comments are welcome.
Posted by Ryan Call, Esq.
posted by Jon Moss at 10:30 AM
Monday, April 02, 2007
Cracking the Cab Monopoly
Starting in 1935, Colorado has regulated taxicabs as a public utility. Since that time, Denver and other metro areas have operated under an antiquated system that actively prevents competition and provides a statutory monopoly to the existing cab companies.
There have been 23 attempts to open this system of oppressive regulation, including four in the last 7 years. Zakhem Law was approached last year by the individual cab drivers to be part of a bipartisan team pushing for reduction of market barriers. Considering the fate of the previous 22 attempts, the task is monumental. Behind the movement of this most recent attempt is the group ProTaxi, a non-profit association with membership that includes more than half of all Denver-area cab drivers. Upon meeting with the leadership of ProTaxi, we were impressed with their passion to simply compete as independent business owners in the cab market. Additionally, almost all the members of ProTaxi are recent immigrants to our country. Most come from war-torn countries in Africa, and it was clear that they wanted to make the American Dream a reality.
HB07-1114, sponsored by Representative Jerry Frangas and Senator Chris Romer, was introduced in the 2007 legislative session. The bill was assigned to the House Transportation and Energy Committee, where the majority of the previous bills were killed. During the March 1 hearing, an extremely diverse group testified in support of HB1114, including Penn Pfiffner of the Independence Institute, civil rights attorney Diane King, and former PUC chairman Ray Gifford. The bill also received support from the AFL-CIO and CWA union.
If you wonder what kind of bill garners support from free-market groups and unions, HB1114 achieved this unprecedented backing. This is a great credit to the bipartisan work of the team working to support the cab groups.
Passing legislation to open the taxicab market is a daunting task and a long-term battle that will be fought over this legislative session and into the next. There are several tasks that the bipartisan team has been successful in implementing. First, the individual cab drivers have had trouble organizing in the past. This prevented the drivers from having a collective voice. Zakhem Law has been able to use our extensive legal and political experience to engage ProTaxi’s 500 drivers in the political process. This new combined political power has helped balance the scales with the entrenched lobbyist money of the cab companies.
The second major task in the battle is to create an ideological shift on the issue. In the past, bills looking to open the taxicab market were mainly run as Republican deregulation bills, and found support and opposition strictly on party lines. Zakhem Law is part of a team that has brought traditionally adversarial interests behind a common bill. It is through this bipartisan effort that the current legislation has succeeded where the previous 22 did not.
The last major task of our team is to help provide detailed analysis and evaluation in support of opening the taxicab market. Zakhem Law has engaged extensive resources in researching existing regulatory schemes throughout the country and providing detailed analysis to the legislature. We will continue to present this material as we work through the necessary committees until bill passage.
As a result of heavy-handed lobbying by the existing cab companies, HB1114 was amended by the House Transportation and Energy Committee immediately opens the driver leases to PUC review, and moves the issue of opening of the market to a summer interim committee. Our bill is currently is one of only two bills scheduled to be considered by the Interim Transportation Committee this summer.
In addition, the current form of HB1114 contains a provision will be removed from the statutes that protects the cab companies from competition while at the same time preventing their lease rates from being regulated. For years, the drivers have gone to the PUC seeking help with their leases, only to be told that the PUC’s hands were tied. This amendment is a substantial step forward for the cab drivers and makes us optimistic that the taxicab market will soon be opened. More results have been obtained for the cab drivers through this bill than in decades of prior legislation. And this is only the beginning.
We will continue to work in the legislature to pass a bill that opens the market for competition, and allows the cab drivers to be able to compete in the marketplace. It is only a matter of time before we see real reform in the taxicab market.
posted by Jon Moss at 4:31 PM
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
New Campaign Contribution Limits for 2007-2008 Election Cycle
The Colorado Secretary of State is expected to issue new rules indexing certain contribution limits imposed by Article XXVIII of the State Constitution (Amendment 27) to inflation for the current election cycle, raising the contribution limits for statewide candidates and political party committees as follows:
- $525 per election (primary and general, $1,050 total) to a candidate for Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, or Attorney General.
- $3,175 per calendar year to political party committees at the state, county, and local level combined, with no more than $2,650 to the state political party committee.
- The individual and political committee contribution limits for State Senate, State Representative, State Board of Education, CU Regent, or District Attorney candidates remain unchanged at $200 per election (primary and general, $400 total).
- A small donor committee will be permitted to contribute: up to $5,300 per election (primary and general, $10,600 total) to a candidate for Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, or Attorney General; up to $2,125 per election (primary and general, $4,250 total) to a candidate for State Senate, State Representative, State Board of Education, CU Regent, or District Attorney; up to $15,900 per calendar year to a political party committee at the state, county, and local level combined, with no more than $13,250 to the state political party committee.
Similarly, the Federal Election Commission recently announced revised contribution limits indexed for inflation. During the current election cycle, individuals may contribute up to $2,300 per election to federal candidates, and up to $28,500 per year to national party committees. The limits of up to $10,000 per year to the federal accounts of state and local party committees (combined) and up to $5,000 for all other federal political committees (PACs) remain unchanged; however, individuals are only allowed to contribute a total of up to $108,200 combined during the two year period to all Federal campaigns, political parties, and other federal political committees.
If you have any additional questions regarding how these new contribution limits may impact you, your company, business trade association, or political organization, please contact John Zakhem at email@example.com or Ryan Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.
posted by Jon Moss at 12:57 PM
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