COLORADO POLITICS — A federal court judge put a muzzle on citizen watchdogs of Colorado campaign finance laws Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore ruled that the state’s procedure for bringing complaints is unconstitutional. Colorado allows anyone in the public to file a complaint that is “automatically forwarded without review for merit to an administrative law judge for review,” according to Secretary of State Wayne William’s office, which was named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

“(T)he Court sees nothing reasonable about outsourcing the enforcement of laws with teeth of monetary penalties to anyone who believes that those laws have been violated,” Moore wrote in his ruling. “What does ‘believes’ mean and how is that a reasonable method to protect the State’s interest in enforcing its campaign finance laws? Moreover, how is it reasonable to encroach upon First Amendment speech by allowing a person to enforce campaign finance regulations when that person may have no experience of campaign finance regulations?”

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