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Investigation Finds “Reasonable Grounds” that American Lands Council Violated Colorado Lobbying Laws

The ongoing ethics saga involving Utah State Representative Ken Ivory and the American Lands Council took another turn on Thursday, when the Colorado Secretary of State’s office found “reasonable grounds” that ALC violated Colorado lobbying and disclosure laws.

The complaint was originally filed by watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch in April, which described how the ALC urged members of its Colorado e-mail list to contact their state representatives and support a bill that would study the impacts of giving away American public lands to the state.

As described in its full investigation, the Secretary of State believes Rep. Ivory and ALC violated three Colorado lobbying and disclosure laws:

  1. Failing to register as a lobbyist in Colorado
  2. Not filing the required disclosure statements
  3. Paying an unregistered lobbyist

Rep. Ivory says the email in question was sent at the behest of State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, who was featured with Ivory in the Center for Western Priorities’ report on legislators with ties to anti-government extremists.

The investigation also describes how Rep. Ivory ignored multiple requests for information from the Secretary of State. The office sent Ivory two certified letters asking whether ALC members pay dues or membership fees. After ignoring the requests for two weeks, Ivory left a voicemail claiming “ALC had a new office manager who took the letter to his house and left it under his doormat.” The Secretary of State’s office gave Ivory the benefit of the doubt and extended the deadline for his response. He never wrote back.

Both Rep. Ivory and Colorado Ethics Watch now have 30 days to respond with additional evidence. After that, the Secretary of State’s office could issue an order requiring ALC to comply with Colorado law, or request criminal charges.

It remains to be seen how (or if) the ALC responds and whether it chooses to register in Colorado. As Colorado Ethics Watch explained:

American Lands Council is free to lobby like anyone else; all we ask is that they abide by the same rules that apply to everyone else who lobbies the Colorado legislature.

Here are the full findings from the Secretary of State’s office:

Image: Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory and Sen. Ted Cruz. Source: Twitter, April 25, 2014

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