Colorado Department of Law — Annual Report 2009
Mined Land Reclamation Board
The Unit acts as general and litigation counsel to the Mined Land Reclamation Board, a multi-interest citizen board which establishes the regulations, standards and policies that guide the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety. The board implements the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act and is actively involved in the decision-making process for controversial permit issuance and enforcement actions. The Unit provides legal assistance to the board as required by its various activities, which include approving or denying permits and permit modifications when there has been public comment.
The Mined Land Reclamation Board is currently involved in developing rules for uranium in-situ leach mining operations and updating rules for hard rock mining operations.
Independent Ethics Commission
Amendment 41 to the Colorado Constitution established the Independent Ethics Commission to handle complaints and advisory opinions to help define ethical conduct for government officials and employees. Subsequent legislation further clarified the Independent Ethics Commission’s duties. Since 2008, counsel for the Independent Ethics Commission has aided the Commission in its resolution of complaints, issuance of advisory opinions, letter rulings and position statements.
The opinions, rulings, and statements issued in 2009 covered a broad range of topics, including:
Service by State officials or employees on the boards of nonprofits;
Acceptance of prizes by State officials or employees;
Restrictions on employment by State officials after leaving office; and,
Restrictions on how State officials and employees may seek and secure future employment.
Attorneys from the Department of Law provided general counsel to the Colorado Securities Commissioner and the Colorado Division of Securities within the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and assist in enforcing state securities laws.
In 2009, the Unit:
Successfully argued a case involving the appeal of a final agency decision on a cease and desist proceeding. The Court of Appeals, among other things, held that the staff and the commissioner do not need to prove scienter in a civil enforcement or cease and desist action except where there is a specific statutory requirement or fact such as a license revocation, bar by a self- regulatory organization or a permanent injunction that was material and needed to be disclosed to potential investors.
Attorneys from the Unit filed a lawsuit against a company alleging that the company and 14 other defendants violated the registration, licensing and antifraud provisions of the Colorado Securities Act through the sale of so-called “joint venture” investment opportunities in oil and gas wells located throughout the United States. The defendants, operating out of Colorado, fraudulently obtained tens of millions of dollars from investors throughout the country utilizing a sophisticated scheme that employed “boiler room” cold-call, high- pressure sales techniques to sell the securities to investors who were frequently elderly, infirm or unsophisticated, promising fantastic returns that typically never materialized. This case is ongoing.