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Colorado Builder lobbyists in trouble
Friday, 06 April 2007

Homebuilder Lobbyists Accused Of Ethics Violations
Two lawmakers filed ethics complaints against lobbyists for homebuilders on Tuesday, accusing them of orchestrating phone calls to constituents that falsely accuse them supporting a bill that would increase taxes on homes.Borodkin and Todd's complaint names William Mutch, who represents the business lobby Colorado Concern, and Steve Durham, who lobbies for the Colorado Home Builders Association.

Homebuilder Lobbyists Accused Of Ethics Violations

(AP) DENVER Two lawmakers filed ethics complaints against lobbyists for homebuilders on Tuesday, accusing them of orchestrating phone calls to constituents that falsely accuse them supporting a bill that would increase taxes on homes.

Rep. Alice Borodkin, D-Denver, and Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, said there is no such bill.

"First, they were deceptive to constituents, second, there was not even a bill. The biggest thing is there was no discussion between the people making these calls and me personally," Todd said.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, met with Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Golden, to notify the lobbyists of the complaint. Romanoff said the next step is for legislative leaders to meet in executive session, who will decide whether to form an ethics committee. That committee would have the power to bar the lobbyists from working at the Colorado Capitol.

Borodkin and Todd's complaint names William Mutch, who represents the business lobby Colorado Concern, and Steve Durham, who lobbies for the Colorado Home Builders Association.

Mutch said he had not received a copy of the complaint and had no comment. Durham said he had nothing to do with the phone calls and he said he didn't know who made them.

Borodkin said she got calls from angry citizens accusing her of sponsoring a bill that would raise taxes on her homes, but they couldn't tell her a bill number.

Borodkin said in her complaint that the calls were made to senior citizens in her district, "a very vulnerable segment of my community."

She said the calls stopped after she called Mutch and threatened to file a lawsuit and turn over information to Attorney General John Suthers.

"While this practice of hardball politics seems to be a lobbying tactic, I find the practice of lying to my constituents completely unethical and therefore am filing this complaint," Borodkin wrote.

The last time an ethics committee was convened for a complaint against a lobbyist was in 2001, when a committee of top state lawmakers dismissed an ethics complaint against the son of a lobbyist and voted to send an informal letter of rebuke after Sen. Ken Chlouber, said his integrity was impugned.

Chlouber, R-Leadville, said his integrity was wrongfully questioned when Ringel & Boyle Policy Strategists sent an e-mail to the state's 63 county assessors claiming Chlouber and another senator wanted to kill a bill giving county officials a raise.

Lobbyist Patrick Boyle said it was an honest mistake and officials were notified of the error as soon as he found out about it.

(© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

http://cbs4denver.com/local/local_story_094103253.html

 
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