Debra Johnson

The Colorado House has unanimously approved the appointment of outgoing Denver County Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson to the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission.

The 63-0 vote Wednesday night means Johnson will replace Commissioner April Jones, a partner in a law firm who said she would not seek reappointment when her term ends on June 30.

House Speaker KC Becker originally wanted Luis Toro, an attorney with the city of Boulder and one of the commission's strongest critics, for the appointment. But she said she was told by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock that Toro's appointment would not get any Republican votes.

Appointments must be confirmed by a two-thirds vote, and while Democrats hold 41 seats, they still needed three Republicans to go along.

Becker turned to Johnson, whose term as Denver County clerk will end in early July. Her successor will be chosen in the city election that ends Tuesday.

In the resolution nominating Johnson, Becker pointed to her work on mail ballot delivery systems, updates to city campaign finance laws, and efforts -- upheld by the courts -- to send ballots to inactive voters. Those qualifications will make her a good member of the commission, the resolution stated.

The commission has jurisdiction over ethics standards applying to all state executive and legislative branch elected officials and employees.

The ethics commission has two more appointments to fill by June 30: One is the appointment made by the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the other is a representative of local government. That last appointment is made by the commission's other four members.

Commissioner Matt Smith, who has been on the panel since it started in 2007 (there are no term limits) holds the Supreme Court appointment. He has not said whether he would seek a fourth term.

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