AGO 90-5.

Case Date:March 23, 1990
Court:Colorado
 
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Colorado Attorney General Opinions 1990. AGO 90-5. STATE OF COLORADO OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FORMAL OPINION OF DUANE WOODARD Attorney General Opinion No. 90-5 AG Alpha No. LE HR AGARN March 23, 1990The Honorable C.B. Bledsoe Speaker of the House House of Representative State Capitol Denver, CO 80203 The Honorable Richard F. Mutzebaugh Colorado State Representative State Capitol Denver, CO 80203 RE: Use of PERA Funds for Lobbying PurposesDear Mr. Bledsoe and Mr. Mutzebaugh: This opinion letter is in response to your February 28, 1990, inquiry about the use of Public Employees' Retirement Association (hereafter, "PERA") retirement funds for lobbying purposes. QUESTIONS PRESENTED AND CONCLUSIONS Your request for an attorney general's opinion presents the following questions: Does PERA have the statutory authority to use retirement funds for lobbying purposes? Yes. Does Section 24-51-208, C.R.S. (1987), which requires that the PERA board of trustees be held to the standard of conduct of a fiduciary in the discharge of their functions, preclude the use of retirement funds for lobbying? No. Would the use of retirement funds for lobbying jeopardize PERA's federal tax status or otherwise violate federal law? No. ANALYSIS 1/ and 2/. PERA was created in 1931 by the General Assembly to provide a retirement and disability program for certain public employees and their dependents. It is an instrumentality of the state which is not "subject to administrative direction by any department, commission, board, bureau or agency of the state." Section 24-51-201, C.R.S. (1987). PERA is funded by required deductions from employees' salaries, Section 24-51-405, C.R.S. (1987), and by required contributions from employers, Section 24-51-401, C.R.S. (1987). It receives no state funding. The PERA statute is silent on whether lobbying is permitted. Since PERA is not part of state government, it is not bound by the statutory restrictions on lobbyists that apply to the principal departments of state government. Section 24-6-303.5, C.R.S. (1987). Nor is PERA bound by the Governor's May 1988 executive order on lobbying, which also applies only to principal departments. Therefore, PERA is not prohibited from lobbying generally. PERA funds may be disbursed, subject to approval of the PERA board, for limited purposes including "benefits...

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