Ethics Tutorial


Welcome to the online ethics tutorial for members of the Colorado General Assembly. As a public official, it is important that you understand the major constitutional provisions, statutes, and legislative rules on ethics. The Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS) created this online tutorial for members of the Colorado General Assembly. The tutorial is designed to help you understand the legal provisions of Colorado's ethics laws and rules, and to apply them to similar situations that you may encounter. Additionally, the tutorial is offered in furtherance of Senate Rule 41(h), which encourages each Senator, at least once every two years during the course of his or her term in the Senate, to attend a legislative ethics training offered by the OLLS, participate in ethics training offered by a nationally recognized organization, or successfully complete an online legislative ethics training course or tutorial.

The tutorial should take from 30 to 60 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of each individual learner.

It is important to keep in mind that the explanations, questions, and answers provided in the online tutorial are general in nature and should not be relied on definitively in connection with a particular ethics issue that may arise with an individual legislator. As noted in the tutorial, legislators can seek an advisory opinion on a particular ethics question from the Board of Ethics for the General Assembly or the Independent Ethics Commission. Legislators can also contact the OLLS with an ethics question that may arise.

Each page will have:

  1. A brief explanation of a particular provision or provisions of the laws and rules governing the ethical conduct of members of the Colorado General Assembly
  2. A hypothetical scenario
  3. A question and four answers
  4. One or more links to the relevant ethics provisions

If you choose an INCORRECT answer, you will get a brief explanation. You must then return to the question and choose another answer. When you choose the CORRECT answer you will get a confirmation and can proceed to the next question in the tutorial.

There are a total of 25 questions in the tutorial. If you cannot finish all the questions in one sitting, note where you stopped so you can begin there on your next visit.

No score is kept for your correct and incorrect answers.

Table of Contents

Conflict of Interest and Voting on Legislation

1. Legislator's financial interest in legislation arising from benefits from legislation accruing to spouse

2. Legislator's membership in a group affected by legislation

Public Official Disclosure and Reporting Requirements

3. Disclosure of gifts given in connection with your public service

4. Reporting General Assembly reimbursement for travel expenses

Gift Ban

5. Sporting event tickets

6. Expenses paid by a government exchange organization for a legislator's attendance at a conference

7. Acceptance of silent auction winnings

8. Reception hosted by a local business association and paid for by its lobbyist

9. Travel expenses to attend conference hosted by a nonprofit organization that receives more than 5% of its funding from for-profit sources

Post-legislative Employment

10. Post-legislative employment with a law firm that lobbies

11. Post-legislative employment on a board that participates in public policy issues

Use of State Resources

12. Use of state resources to arrange town hall meeting and campaign event

13. Use of state letterhead to endorse a political candidate

14. Use of state-issued iPad to communicate with family members

Criminal Code Violations

15. Bribery

16. Compensation for past official behavior

17. Misuse of official information

Contracts and Claims

18. Legislative contract in which member may be interested

Legislative Immunity

19. Defamation - legislator to legislator statements

20. Criminal prosecution - legislator to legislator statements

21. Defamation - legislator statement to legislative witness

22. Defamation - publication by legislative staff

Legislative Ethics Complaint Process

23. Statements made in legislative debate

24. Independent Ethics Commission complaint process

25. Requests for advisory ethics opinions

The information on this page is presented as an informational service only and should not be relied upon as an official record of action or legal position of the State of Colorado, the Colorado General Assembly, or the Office of Legislative Legal Services.