(Apr. 9) – Rep. Lisa Cutter and Rep. Mike Weissman’s bill to improve lobbyist transparency is moving through the legislature. The House approved a bill, sponsored by Rep. Cutter, D-Jefferson County, and Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, that would increase the reporting requirements for lobbyists.
“The Denver Post recently reported that businesses and special interests spent more than $30 million to lobby in Colorado. That’s more money spent to influence lawmakers than was spent to elect lawmakers. The danger of this is that it gives lobbyist access and influence that the general public doesn’t have,” said Rep. Cutter. “So if money equals speech, it is important that we know where that money is coming from.”
HB19-1248 requires more frequent reporting of relevant information by professional lobbyists, clarifies that lobbyists that are also attorneys are not privy to attorney-client confidentiality, and it clarifies that a professional lobbyist must disclose who their ultimate client is, i.e., disclose the name of the client who employs or retains the professional services of the lobbyist.
“As elected officials, I believe that we should be guardians and protectors of the public trust. There is not a tremendous amount of public trust in political processes right now,” said Rep. Weissman. “I do believe we must do what we can to shore that up. There are few better ways to do that than bring transparency to lobbying practices around this legislature and that’s what this bill does.”
The House approved HB19-1248 on a voice vote. It will receive a final vote at a later date.