Colorado Ethics Commission Dismisses Complaint against Hickenlooper - State and Federal Communications

April 17, 2014  •  

Colorado Ethics Commission Dismisses Complaint against Hickenlooper

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The Colorado Ethics Commission, which has long been accused of partisanship, is likely to face more criticism in light of a recent ruling. On Monday, April 14, the commission voted to dismiss a complaint against Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper was accused of violating state gift law by allowing the Democratic Governors Association to pick up the tab for food and lodging expenses associated with a 2013 conference. In its reasoning, the commission claimed Hickenlooper’s policy expertise shared at the conference, and the hours he spent organizing it, exceeded what was spent on food and lodging.

William Leone, one of the commissioners who heard the complaint, argued an elected head of state “has a legitimate interest to present, discuss, debate, and hear about [the] policy initiatives . . . he chooses to advance.”

After ruling for Hickenlooper, the commission declined to revisit a decision handed down last year against Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler for a substantially similar set of facts. Gessler believes the people of Colorado have no faith in a partisan ethics commission; he was saddened, but not surprised, by Monday’s decision.


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