Diversity Equity and Inclusion Statement
We, the Colorado Access to Justice Commission, by the nature of our mission, policies, and practices, recognize the benefits of inclusivity. Inclusivity provides a safe and welcoming environment for staff and Commissioners, as well as the Colorado communities and stakeholders with which the Commission works. The Commission recognizes that many social, economic, legal, civic, and political structures create barriers for individuals due to their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, disability, age, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation. These barriers preclude them from fully participating in society, target them for discrimination, and take away power and resources. The Commission’s work is about promoting access to civil justice for all Coloradans, including those who face such barriers, and also raising awareness of the barriers. The Commission seeks to ensure that Commissioners, committee members, and partner organizations are treated fairly and respectfully, are valued and belong, and all have an equal voice in the work being undertaken by the Commission. The Commission also seeks to ensure that all differences are respected and supported.
As a dynamic statewide organization, we pursue our mission through community partnerships, advocacy, outreach and education to empower individuals and organizations to combat injustice in all civil legal matters. We strive for inclusivity through our work, our connections to Colorado communities, in who we hire, and in who we invite to participate in the Commission’s work.
As an organization and as committed individuals, we vow to work together to challenge and address racial, ethnic, gender and economic biases, all of which hinder access to civil justice. Everyone deserves access to a civil legal system that delivers justice to all. We commit our efforts to challenge the norms that currently exist and to provide opportunities for all Coloradans to have equal access to justice, to be treated with respect, and to experience a fair and just process.
Approved by the Commission September 9, 2022.
I. Policy Scope and Background
This Policy applies to all (i) Commissioners (both regular and ex officio) and officers of the Colorado Access to Justice Commission, a Colorado nonprofit corporation (“Commission”), (ii) members of Commission committees and subcommittees (collectively, “Committees” and each a “Committee”), (iii) other Commission volunteers, and (iv) employees of the Commission (each a “Covered Person” as defined below).
Under the “substantial part test” used by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Commission can only maintain its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code if no "substantial part" of its overall activities consists of “carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation” (commonly described as lobbying). Among the factors the IRS considers are the time devoted to lobbying by Covered Persons and the amount of money the Commission spends on lobbying.
The purpose of this Policy is to provide guidance to Covered Persons and to the Commission itself on how much lobbying may be conducted by or on behalf of the Commission without jeopardizing the Commission’s tax-exempt status. This Policy is intended to supplement, not to conflict with or replace, any applicable federal laws or regulations. In the event of a conflict between the any such laws or regulations and this Policy, the laws or regulations will control.
A. Covered Person: “Covered Person” means every (i) Commissioner (both regular and ex officio) and officer of the Commission, (ii) member of a Commission Committee, (iii) other Commission volunteer, and (iv) employee of the Commission.
B. Legislation: “Legislation” means action taken (i) by Congress, the Colorado legislature, any other state legislature, any local council, commission, board or similar governmental body, with respect to acts, bills, ordinances, resolutions, or similar items (such as legislative confirmation of appointive office), or (ii) by the public through a referendum, ballot initiative, constitutional amendment, or similar procedure. Legislation does not include action taken by executive, judicial or administrative bodies.
C. Lobbying: “Lobbying” means attempting to influence legislation and includes contacting, attempting to contact or urging the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation. Lobbying also means advocating the adoption or rejection of legislation (including legislation not yet proposed or pending). Activities that qualify as lobbying include, without limitation, presenting testimony at legislative committee hearings, communicating by any means with legislators and their staff, and publishing information advocating specific legislative action. Lobbying does not include engagement in public policy issues by, for example, conducting educational meetings, preparing and distributing educational materials, or otherwise considering public policy issues in an educational manner. Furthermore, speaking at the invitation of a governmental body is not lobbying.
III. Lobbying Restrictions
A. No substantial part of the Commission’s activities may consist of lobbying. In order to comply with the guidelines set forth in applicable case law:
i. Covered Persons, collectively, may not devote more than five percent of their total time involved in Commission activities (determined on a calendar year basis) to lobbying on behalf of the Commission (Reference: Seasongood v. Commissioner, 227 F. 2d 907 (6th Cir. 1955)); and
ii. The Commission may not spend more than 15% of its annual budget on lobbying activities in any calendar year (Reference: Haswell v. United States, 500 F. 2d 1133 (Ct. Cl. 1974)).
B. The Commission may use such questionnaires or other tools determined appropriate by the Commission’s Executive Director to evaluate compliance with the foregoing lobbying restrictions.
IV. Campaign Activity Prohibition
Attempting to influence the election of a public official is not lobbying but is considered political campaign activity which is completely prohibited for all Section 501(c)(3) organizations. Accordingly, the Commission will not participate in, or intervene in (including publishing or distributing statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for political office.
Approved by the Commissioners September 10, 2021
CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
I. Policy Scope and Background
This Policy applies to all (i) Commissioners (both regular and ex officio) and officers of the Colorado Access to Justice Commission, a Colorado nonprofit corporation (“Commission”), (ii) members of Commission committees and subcommittees (collectively, “Committees” and each a “Committee”), (iii) other volunteers with the authority to make significant decisions relating to the financial or other resources of the Commission, and (iv) managerial employees of the Commission, (each a “Covered Person,” as defined below). The purpose of this Policy is to protect the interests of the Commission in decisions and transactions where such interests are or may be in conflict with the interests of a Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person. This Policy is also intended to ensure that Covered Persons exercise their responsibilities in a manner free from any bias caused by the financial or non-financial personal interests of a Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person. This Policy is intended to supplement, not to conflict with or replace, any applicable federal or state laws governing conflicts of interest for nonprofit corporations to the extent applicable between any Covered Person and the activities and operations of the Commission. In the event of a conflict between the any such laws and this Policy, the laws shall control.
A. Conflict of Interest
A “conflict of interest” means a situation where an outside interest, activity, or relationship influences or appears to influence the ability of a Covered Person to exercise objectivity, or impairs or appears to impair a Covered Person’s ability to perform responsibilities on behalf of the Commission impartially and in the best interests of the Commission. A conflict of interest occurs when:
1. The Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person influences, or has the opportunity to influence, the Commission’s financial, administrative, or other decisions or actions in a manner that could lead to personal gain or advantage; or
2. The Covered Person’s impartiality or duty of loyalty to the Commission is impaired or appears to be impaired by the existence of a relationship with another person or entity; or
3. The Covered Person or party related to a Covered Person has a potential or existing financial or other interest which impairs or appears to impair independence in the discharge of the Covered Person’s responsibilities to the Commission.
B. Covered Person
“Covered Person” means every (i) Commissioner (both regular and ex officio) and officer of the Commission, (ii) member of Commission Committees, (iii) other volunteer with the authority to make significant decisions relating to the financial or other resources of the Commission, and (iv) managerial employee of the Commission.
C. Financial Interest
A “financial interest” means (i) an ownership interest; (ii) cash gifts of any size; or (iii) non-cash gifts, gratuities, or favors of a substantial nature.
D. Immediate Family Member
An “immediate family member” means a parent, spouse, fiancé/fiancée, domestic partner, significant other, person involved in a sexually intimate relationship, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, in-law, step or half relation or ward or guardian.
E. Non-Financial Interest
A “non-financial interest” means (i) preferential treatment of a Covered Person or party related to a Covered Person because of a Covered Person’s involvement with the Commission; (ii) acquisition of confidential information from the Commission for the personal benefit of a Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person; or (iii) use of information gained through activities of the Commission for the personal benefit of a Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person.
F. Party Related to a Covered Person
A “party related to a Covered Person” means an immediate family member of a Covered Person; an immediate family member of a sibling of a Covered Person; an estate or trust in which a Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person has a beneficial interest; or an entity in which a Covered Person or a party related to a Covered Person is a director or officer, or has a financial interest.
A “transaction” means a contract, agreement, arrangement, activity, matter or other financial or non-financial relationship between the Commission and (i) a Covered Person, (ii) a party related to a Covered Person, or (iii) an entity in which a Covered Person is a director or officer, or has a financial or non-financial interest.
III. Prohibited Conduct
A. The Commission shall not make any loans or similar payments to any Covered Person or to any party related to any Covered Person unless fully disclosed and approved by the Commissioners in accordance with this Policy. In addition to the liability of the person or entity to whom the loan or similar payment is made, any Commissioner who assents to or approves the making of any such loan or similar payment, absent compliance with this Policy, shall be liable to the Commission for the amount of such loan or similar payment until the loan or similar payment is fully repaid.
B. No Covered Person or any party related to a Covered Person shall solicit or accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary or personal value from any individual or business entity seeking to conduct business with the Commission.
C. No Covered Person or party related to a Covered Person shall participate in the selection, award, or administration of any Commission transaction if a conflict of interest has been disclosed or reasonably should be known to exist.
IV. Disclosure Procedure
If any actual or potential conflict of interest arises, the Covered Person must disclose the conflict of interest in writing to the Commission’s Executive Director or Chair (including, without limitation, such Covered Person’s financial interest or that of any party related to the Covered Person), and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts in connection with the conflict of interest to the Commission’s Executive Committee.
Once any actual or potential conflict of interest has been determined to exist and all material facts connected therewith have been disclosed, the Covered Person shall not be included in any discussions or decisions as how the conflict of interest will be addressed.
If the Commissioners have reason to believe that a Covered Person has failed to disclose any actual or possible conflict of interest, such Covered Person shall be given the opportunity to explain any alleged failure to disclose the actual or potential conflict of interest. If, after investigation of the alleged failure to disclose, it is determined that the Covered Person has in fact failed to disclose an actual or potential conflict of interest, the Covered Person may be subject to appropriate disciplinary or other action by the Commissioners.
V. Annual Disclosure
In addition to any conflict of interest disclosure made by a Covered Person under Section IV above, on an annual basis each Covered Person shall review and sign the then-current Annual Disclosure Statement form affirming that the Covered Person has reviewed, understands and agrees to comply with this Policy as well as disclosing any actual or potential conflicts of interest.
VI. Review Procedure
The Executive Director or Secretary shall maintain all disclosures provided by any Covered Persons pursuant to this Policy. The Executive Director or Secretary shall review the disclosures and promptly provide to the Executive Committee a copy of any disclosure that discloses an actual or potential conflict of interest or any other matter that warrants review by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee shall determine, in the first instance, whether an actual or potential conflict of interest exists and whether it is of such significance that it merits review and approval by a disinterested majority of the Commissioners. If appropriate, the Executive Committee may also determine, in the first instance and subject to confirmation by a disinterested majority of the Commissioners, whether a transaction may be authorized, approved or ratified as fair, reasonable and in the best interest of the Commission notwithstanding the existence of a conflict of interest. No person who has an actual or potential conflict of interest under review shall participate in the review, except to the extent necessary to provide any information requested by the Executive Committee or Commissioners conducting the review. Such person shall not be present for any vote taken in connection with the review.
The Executive Committee and the Commissioners shall create a record of their decisions with respect to each conflict of interest matter considered, including any decision to take no further action. Such records shall be kept by the Executive Director or the Secretary. All such records, as well as all individual disclosures, shall be available for review by the Commissioners, but otherwise shall be confidential and shall not be further disclosed except: (i) as necessary to legal counsel or auditors engaged by the Commission; (ii) by official action of the Commissioners upon a showing that the Commission’s best interests would be served by making such disclosure; (iii) with the consent of the person who submitted the information that is to be disclosed; (iv) by court order; or (v) as otherwise required by law.
VII. Compensation Decisions
Any Covered Person who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Commission for that Covered Person’s services shall be precluded from voting on matters pertaining to such compensation.
Approved by the Commissioners September 10, 2021