By Matt Masich, STATE BILL COLORADO
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission last month dramatically changed the rules for campaign finance by lifting restrictions on corporations’ independent campaign spending. The Colorado Bar Association-CLE in Colorado held a program 10-days after the landmark decision to help lawyers understand the impact on the state’s laws.
Secretary of State Bernie Buescher made an appearance at the event, joining the all-star panel of election lawyers Ed Ramey of Isaacson Rosenbaum, Martha Tierney of Kelly Garnsey Hubbell & Lass, Richard Westfall of Hale Friesen and Maurie Knaizer of the attorney general’s office.
Buescher said Gov. Bill Ritter and the legislature will likely ask the state Supreme Court to issue a ruling to clarify what Citizens United will mean for Colorado election law.
“We’ve crafted a series of interrogatories which now have been approved by the governor, “ Buescher said. “We hope they are the subject of a joint resolution and are submitted in the next week to the Supreme Court. They deal with Article 28 Section 6.2 of the Colorado Constitution. The specific problem we’ve got is that our campaign finance [laws are] embedded in the constitution.”
The legislature must uphold the state constitution — even if it is contradicted by Citizens United — until the state Supreme Court tells it otherwise.