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Colorado Ethics Watch identifies state's good, bad and ugly

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No need for Mike Coffman to thumb through "Ethics Roundup: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 2009," a new report by Colorado Ethics Watch, in order to look for his name. Even though CEW brought a complaint against the congressman for actions he took while serving as Colorado's Secretary of State, and decried an April decision by the Independent Ethics Commission clearing him of wrongdoing, he doesn't rate so much of a mention. However, plenty of other notables turn up -- and while that's positive news for folks like Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who's among those who land in the "good" column, several others won't be happy with their designations. For instance, Black Hawk Mayor David Spellman is breaks "bad" for the second consecutive year, while the Colorado State University Board of Governors and chancellor-in-waiting Joe Blake get hit with the "ugly" stick for violating open-meetings laws, as a judge ruled last week in a lawsuit filed jointly by the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Pueblo Chieftain and the Colorado Independent.

For an overview of the report, a glimpse at other CEW targets and additional links, click "Continue."

Colorado Ethics Watch Releases 2nd Annual Ethics Roundup

Report highlights "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" in state ethics

DENVER - Colorado Ethics Watch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal watchdog group, today released Ethics Roundup 2009: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the organization's second annual report highlighting 11 of Colorado's public officials or agencies who have either committed ethics violations or taken commendable action to promote higher ethical standards.

"We can all learn from the actions of others, be them good or bad," said Chantell Taylor, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. "By exposing the ethical and unethical actions of Colorado's public officials, Colorado Ethics Watch hopes to promote accountability and encourage responsibility. At the same time, we are fulfilling the citizens' right to know if their elected officials are dutifully representing the public interest or their own private interests."

The report features public officials like State Representative Jack Pommer for his egregious pattern of late or missing campaign finance filings and utter disregard for transparency. On the other hand, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is featured for taking initiative to raise the bar for ethics by implementing new, stricter measures and cracking down on corruption. The CSU Board of Governors and their Vice President Joe Blake, along with Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera, are ones to watch because of lapses in ethical judgment and violating the trust of the citizens they serve even though their conduct may not have violated any laws. Other officials in the report have committed transgressions ranging from firing of whistleblowers to illegal search and seizure.

Black Hawk Mayor David Spellman is the only repeat offender in Ethics Watch's 2009 report. Last year he was listed in Ethics Watch's report because of a felony menacing and third-degree assault conviction. This year, his questionable use of state historical funds for personal gain earned him a spot on the list.

Colorado's public officials included in Ethics Roundup 2009 include:

GOOD

• Ken Salazar, U.S. Interior Secretary

• Cindy Acree & Mike May, Colorado State Representatives

• Erin Toll, Division Director, Colorado Division Of Real Estate

• Gabe Santos & Sarah Levison, Longmont City Council Members

Bad

• Representative Jack Pommer

• Colorado Department Of Health Care Policy and Financing

• Ken Buck, Weld County District Attorney

• David Spellman, Mayor Of Black Hawk

UGLY

• Colorado State University Board Of Governors and Board Vice President Joe Blake

• Lionel Rivera, Colorado Springs Mayor

Ethics Watch compiled the report by reviewing news reports, campaign finance records, state audits and documents, emails, and other disclosure forms. Ethics Watch's legal experts analyzed this information for violations of state laws, regulations or ethics rules. Designed to bring public attention to the matter of government accountability, this is the only report of its kind in Colorado.

The full report can be found at http://www.coloradoforethics.org/files/documents/EthicsRoundup2009_0.pdf and all related exhibits are available on the Colorado Ethics Watch website at www.coloradoforethics.org.

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