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Bill created to clean up Colorado lottery

Feb 11, 2004, 6:06 am

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Colorado Lottery

Concerned over an audit that found problems with the Colorado Lottery, lawmakers began work Tuesday on a bill that would require ethics training and criminal background checks of all lottery officials, including the governor's appointees.

"The lottery is the kind of thing we need to clean up in state government," said Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee.

The bill would require lottery commissioners, who are appointed by the governor, to undergo ethics training, bar lottery employees from working for a contractor for two years after they leave their job and limit the length of lottery contracts.

State Revenue Director C. Michael Cooke told legislators a department investigation will be finished by the end of the month.

The state audit released Dec. 1 found lottery officials spent too much money on cell phones, concert tickets and other perks and didn't work hard enough to increase sales. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has also seized office computers and the Arapahoe County district attorney is examining lottery records.

In addition, Cooke has launched her own investigation into gifts accepted by lottery employees from companies that did business with the agency.

Lottery workers reported almost 600 meals, rounds of golf and other gifts over the past four years. The Lottery Commission and the Revenue Department have since banned acceptance of gifts by its staff.

George Turner, head of enforcement over state gambling and lottery operations, retired last month after being put on administrative leave amid questions about his conduct.

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