Friday, December 19, 2008

Where things stand now with the legislative complaints

A legislative complaint filed against a lobbyist for allegedly attempting to influence the election for House minority leader will move forward, a legislative committee announced Friday.

Meanwhile, a second complaint filed by House Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker) against a Republican House member is in limbo, as the House Speaker, the House majority leader and the House minority leader must decide whether to convene a special committee to hear the complaint.

The complaint against the lobbyist, announced by the executive committee of the Legislative Council on Friday morning, involves concerns that the lobbyist offered campaign contributions to House GOP members in connection with supporting Assistant House Minority Leader David Balmer (R-Centennial) for minority leader.

The Colorado Chiropractic Association and its lobbyist, Erik Groves, have been named in the media and by insiders as being involved with that complaint.

Balmer and state Rep. Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) were set to face off for House minority leader after May announced earlier this month that he was resigning to tend to his hotel business. But May said Friday that he’ll postpone his resignation “indefinitely” to deal with the ethics complaints and state budget concerns.

Now, that lobbyist complaint will be heard by a special committee consisting of one member appointed by the House Speaker, one member appointed by the Senate President, and one member selected by the two appointees.

May said penalties for the complaint against the lobbyist -- who he didn’t name -- could be as severe as revoking the lobbyist’s registration.

Legislative Legal Services said Friday that the lobbyist complaint would be made public as soon as Friday afternoon after procedural formalities -- such as notifying everyone named in the complaint -- were completed.

A separate but related complaint filed by May seeks to find whether a House GOP member was involved with or coordinated that lobbying, May said to reporters Friday.

That complaint, under legislative rules, goes to House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver), House Majority Leader Alice Madden (D-Boulder) and Minority Leader May to consider. If two of the three approve it -– or, rather, one of the two besides May, who filed the complaint –- a special committee will be convened to consider the charges.

Romanoff’s office declined to comment on whether a special committee has been approved or not.

Sources told Mile High Politics that a third complaint had been filed against former state GOP legal counsel John Zakhem for offering campaign contributions in connection with electing Balmer House minority leader. But no mention was made of that complaint by the Legislative Council's executive committee Friday.

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