Thursday, October 5, 2017

Colorado Ethics Watch announces closure effective December 31

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 11:56 AM

click to enlarge Luis Toro: Closing Colorado Ethics Watch on Dec. 31.
  • Luis Toro: Closing Colorado Ethics Watch on Dec. 31.
Colorado Ethics Watch will close its doors on Dec. 31 due to funding difficulties, executive director Luis Toro tells the Indy.

"We’ve always been teetering on the brink of extinction for the whole time, and it finally happened," he says.

The agency, who serves as a watchdog over various government activities, opened on Aug. 1, 2006. It's been funded largely through national grants.

Toro says while he hates to see the office close, other groups have stepped forward to promote transparency and ethics in government.

"The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition has been doing a lot of great work on transparency, on open meetings and open records," he says. "I have confidence they’ll be up to the task."

In addition, citizens themselves have become more active. "Other people are stepping up and filing complaints," he says. "A record number of complaints were filed with the state Ethics Commission this year, and we didn’t file any of them. It’s not the case that if Ethics Watch doesn’t do it, nobody will."

Ethics Watch has three staffers, including Toro, a researcher and a part-time communications director.

About funding, Toro says, "It’s been harder to justify getting those grants to be here full-time when other people are starting to step up and do this work."

He noted the non-profit decided to announce its closing now, because it's been engaged in reviewing proposed legislative bills and "we figured we’re going to have to tell people when they approach us on bills."

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