Rippy should focus on his current job
February 5, 2004
State Rep. Gregg Rippy, R-Glenwood Springs, should have known better than to accept money from lobbyists while the Colorado Legislature is in session, even if the donations were legal.
Rippy is one of a dozen candidates seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Congressman Scott McInnis, the Grand Junction Republican who represents most of western and southern Colorado.
Rocky Mountain News columnist Peter Blake correctly took Rippy to task for inviting Colorado lobbyists to a Jan. 29 fund-raiser for his congressional campaign.
Colorado law specifically bars state legislators from accepting campaign contributions while the Legislature is in session. That Rippy was accepting money for a congressional campaign, governed by federal rather than state laws, means he did not technically violate the law.
Responding to Blake’s column, Rippy told The Glenwood Post Independent that state legislators accept contributions the day before the legislative session begins and the day after it ends. He also said no amount of money donated to his congressional campaign by state lobbyists would affect his decisions as a state legislator.
First of all, the fact that lobbyists can and do make donations immediately before and after a legislative session is irrelevant. From a citizen’s point of view, the point of the law appears simply to be to stop money from changing hands while the lawmaker is supposed to be giving his full attention to lawmaking.
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And secondly, how do we know that a well-timed contribution from a developer won’t affect Rippy’s decisions and actions on any number of bills that will affect the development industry? The answer is we don’t, especially if Rippy is willing to use federal campaign laws as an excuse for ignoring state campaign laws.
Voters from the Roaring Fork Valley didn’t elect Rippy to court lobbyists for the dollars needed to fuel his political ambitions. We elected him to devote his full attention to representing our interests at the state level.
Gregg Rippy needs to be thinking about the job he has today, not the one he wants tomorrow.