Ethics group passes ‘baton’ to citizens

A Denver-based group that monitors ethical issues among Colorado’s politicos is shutting its doors.

Colorado Ethics Watch decided Thursday that after 11 years it was time to call it quits by year’s end.

The group that touts itself as one that led the way in monitoring ethical behavior in elected officials, candidates and political groups says it has accomplished what it set out to do.

“Ethics Watch has monitored and helped to shape the state’s Independent Ethics Commission, opening the door for an established process for citizens and other organizations to file ethics complaints,” the group’s three employees — Executive Director Luis Toro, Communications Director Allison Johnson and researcher Kristen Jefferson — said in a joint statement.

“The record number of complaints filed this year indicates that Ethics Watch can feel confident passing the baton to the citizens of this state to keep their eyes and ears on our elected and appointed government officials, and continue to hold them accountable.”

The group’s beginnings are tied to several other left-leaning organizations whose joint, and somewhat coordinated, purpose was to forward the progressive agenda in Colorado, with the aim of getting more Democrats elected to office.

According to the 2010 book, “The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado,” Ethics Watch along with two other groups, the online news source Colorado Confidential and the now defunct Colorado Media Matters, all received funding and direction from the Colorado Democracy Alliance, a then-secretive group that helped orchestrate the Democratic Party’s dominance in the state.

Ethics Watch would lodge a complaint, usually against a Republican, and Colorado Confidential would “report” on it.

If the mainstream media didn’t pick up the story, Media Matters would publicly criticize them until they did.

As the years passed, however, both Ethics Watch and Colorado Confidential, now known as the Colorado Independent, reorganized themselves as Colorado-based nonprofit groups and cut ties with that coordinated effort, though many Republicans still see the two as left-leaning.


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