Our dramatic interpretation of the invitation in question.

Our dramatic interpretation of the invitation in question.

This afternoon, Democratic Reps. Millie Hamner and Dave Young invited lobbyists to a “JBC Fundraiser”. No, the event is not for the Joint Budget Committee itself, but a political fundraiser for the two of them who sit on the powerful committee.  The Joint Budget Committee is one of the most powerful committees in the state legislature because it makes decisions and recommendations on where taxpayer dollars go. Hamner sent out the email, which read:

“I wanted to make sure you knew about the upcoming fundraiser on November 10 at 5:00 at La La’s for Dave Young and me. Thanks so much for your ongoing support as we face a tough budget year.  I hope to see you there!” (the Peak‘s emphasis)

It would not be a stretch if some thought the line that said “thanks so much for your ongoing support as we face a tough budget year” really meant “your support for our political campaigns will lead to greater prioritization of your clients’ funding requests.” Kelly Maher of Compass Colorado, who alerted the media to this ridiculous shakedown, offered this comment:

“Members of the Joint Budget Committee have to make the tough financial decisions when it comes to our state budget that picks winners and losers. They are the most susceptible to pay-for-play. The use of a seat on Colorado’s most powerful legislative committee to shakedown campaign donations from lobbyists is unethical. Those with the power of the purse strings to the state budget should hold themselves to a higher standard than this.”

This is why people hate elected officials – because they use their power inappropriately. While this wording is vague enough to note expressly violate laws, it’s clear enough that anyone reading can read between the lines – it’s simply not ethical. Kudos to the members of the JBC who are not using their position of power to shakedown lobbyists, such as Sens. Lambert, Grantham, and Steadman as well as Rep. Bob Rankin.