Colorado Democrats are reportedly scrapping efforts to reform Colorado’s Open Records (CORA) Act.
The law permits citizens, the media, and government watchdogs to request public documents from state agencies.
— Michael Fields (@MichaelCLFields) February 15, 2021
— George Brauchler (@GeorgeBrauchler) February 15, 2021
Both Republicans and Democrats previously expressed interest in reforming the broken law that makes requesting public government records complex and expensive.
Why are Democrats suddenly disinterested in improving government transparency?
The answer is likely attributable to the fact Gov. Polis is up for reelection in two years, and Democrats would rather the public stay in the dark about the governor’s suspect leadership during the COVID crisis.
The governor’s general competence has already been called into question by Colorado Public Radio, which procured CORA documents exposing a series of blunders by Polis at the outset of the pandemic.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Democrats would prefer to conceal damning information within these agencies that might hurt Polis politically.
The existing CORA law contains all kinds of roadblocks and loopholes allowing state agencies to withhold information from the public.
For example, state and local government entities increased their maximum permitted charge in July to fulfill CORA requests from $30 to $33.58 per hour.
There are also a variety of other fees that can make requesting records cost prohibitive.
Records retention is also left up to state agencies. Certain departments of the state government only maintain emails for as little as 30 days, making it even more difficult to hold public officials accountable.
Polis hasn’t commented on whether he supports Democrats punting on basic government transparency, but we already know the answer to that one.