Silly Ethics Complaint Reaches New Level of Ridiculousness

Tweet via Denver Post reporter Justin Wingerter.

As we noted last month, a still-pending ethics complaint targeting former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a complete and total nothingburger. But don’t take our word for it…and don’t rely on the opinion of the The Denver Post’s editorial board, either. Just take a look at what happened today when the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission gathered once more to discuss the matter.

As Alex Burness writes for The Denver Post, today was another meeting about possibly scheduling another meeting:

A hearing on the pending ethics complaint concerning former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s travel on private planes might not take place until after Democrats’ caucus to select candidates for the U.S. Senate race.

Hickenlooper, who’s running for the seat, has filed motions to dismiss the allegations, as he and his team continue to characterize them as politically motivated. Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission, however, didn’t rule on those motions at Thursday’s meeting — the first since the group’s November release of a report on the complaint.

Instead, members tentatively set the hearing for March 17, though staff promised to try to find an earlier date that works…

…Hickenlooper’s attorney, Mark Grueskin, pushed for an earlier resolution, but the commission’s staffer advised that January is too soon for a hearing and that he has been unable to find an available conference room for the commission’s scheduled February meeting. [Pols emphasis]

“As we’ve said before, the most sensational accusations [in this complaint] are easy to dismiss.”

— Denver Post editorial (November 9, 2019)

This ethics complaint against Hickenlooper was filed in October 2018 by a newly-formed group called the Public Trust Institute, which is helmed by former Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty. The crux of McNulty’s argument surrounds a handful of trips that Hickenlooper took before he finished his second term as Colorado’s Governor in January 2019. As The Denver Post has previously pointed out, there’s not much here that would be of any concern to, well, anyone.

Today’s hearing of the Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) all but confirmed that belief. If this complaint was really about a serious ethics violation, as Republicans would have you believe, then surely someone would be able to locate an available conference room before March 2020.

Of course, the entire point of this complaint was never about addressing serious ethical concerns. The goal here was always to harm Hickenlooper’s political fortunes, whether that entailed his brief run for President or his current campaign for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

With that in mind, McNulty’s “Public Trust Institute” probably doesn’t mind that this case faces another 3-4 months of limbo for Hickenlooper. McNulty’s plan was to throw a bunch of crap at the wall in hopes of generating some sort of news headline that could fit into a negative advertisement against Hickenlooper — which is precisely what happened earlier this week. Whatever else happens from this point forward — and we’re not holding our breath that anything will happen — is just gravy for Republicans.

This story has gone on for too long already. Now, about that conference room shortage…


14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I'll pay to rent a conference room in a nearby hotel – will that work?

  2. MADCO says:

    D's don't caucus to select candidates. The caucus might set candidate order on the ballot.

  3. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    "the commission’s staffer …and that he has been unable to find an available conference room"
    Which should be a firing—for incompetence—offense.

    • Awen says:

      Might I provide some context here? (and I don't fault the Post for the way they wrote it – they don't have the background with the commission that I have).

      The ethics commission has been meeting on Mondays for years. That's a good day for scheduling meetings in the Ralph Carr building. Mondays and Fridays, there's rooms available. The problem is that the commission, with three new members, recently decided to meet mid-week. As was explained by the executive director, those same rooms that are available Mondays and Fridays are NOT available mid-week – those rooms are booked up to two years in advance. It isn't his fault that there's nothing available. 

  4. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    I'm betting there could be a few empty conference rooms on University campuses during the Winter Break.

    I'd even hazard a guess that SOME conference rooms might be available in Denver government buildings, or some of the various association headquarters around the Capitol Building. 

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    My bet is that the complainant parties aren’t really all that anxious for the hearing anyway (and dismissal of moronic charges), and are quite happy to have this drag into 2020 where they’ll push their usual suspect “journalists” for a few more ridiculous headlines???

  6. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Can somebody give me a convincing reason why or how Frank McNulty is still relevant? I always thought he was now just a washed up nobody.

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