Walker Stapleton’s Moonlighting, Too!

Sandra Fish writes for Politics Daily:

Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, elected this fall, is the second Colorado elected official to continue consulting with a former employer…

“As state treasurer, they’re supposed to be investing for the state of Colorado. What if there are state funds that are invested in this company?” asked Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “There are different sets of laws for different officials and we’re still wading through all of that.”

Stapleton’s office issued a response saying his outside consulting with his previous firm — SonomaWest — isn’t a problem.

“There is no conflict of interest with respect to his duties as Colorado’s Treasurer,” wrote Deputy Treasurer Brett Johnson in an e-mail. “SonomaWest does not operate within the realm of public finance. While Treasurer Stapleton has discussed this matter with the AG’s office, he has not asked for a formal ruling on this matter because the relationship with SonomaWest does not represent any conflict of interest in any shape or form.”

We’ll start by agreeing that Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s circumstances are different than the much clearer-cut conflict of interest posed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s moonlighting for his election-specialty law firm. Stapleton’s California firm Sonoma West doesn’t appear to have any presence in Colorado, or any dealings in public finance at all as Brett Johnson says. Stapleton was explicit with reporter Tim Hoover that Sonoma West “does not currently have any business in the state of Colorado,” which actually throws Gessler under the bus a little.

But we can’t help but wonder, if there is really no conflict of interest, why Stapleton doesn’t just ask Suthers and put this to bed once and for all. Johnson’s arrogant response aside — “[Stapleton] has not asked for a formal ruling on this matter because the relationship with SonomaWest does not represent any conflict of interest in any shape or form” — we’re pretty sure that Stapleton isn’t an attorney.

But Gessler’s much splashier moonlighting controversy doesn’t make Stapleton’s arrangement look good, for sure, and where Gessler says his would only be a fractional supplement to his income, Stapleton will reportedly earn much more than his pay as Treasurer from Sonoma West. With that in mind, all the questions posed to Gessler about distraction from his elected responsibility, or even split loyalty in whatever circumstances might force a choice, would certainly apply to Stapleton as well–even if it might not provoke the same full-throated outrage Gessler has.

Heck, maybe it’s charming that nothing can come between a Bush family scion and his bling.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    Stapleton’s going to be a four year treasure too, make no mistake.

  2. ArapaGOP says:

    I don’t think that Gessler is a problem either, but I really don’t think Stapleton has a thing to worry about. I think his ability to provide for himself is admirable, and relieves the state of some burden.

    As for Gessler, talk to me when a law is broken. Progress Now’s inuendo and smear means nothing to me.

  3. Republican 36 says:

    Which job are you going to spend the lions share of your time on:

    1. Colorado State Treasurer $68,000/year or;

    2. Sonomawest at $150,000/year?

    The Treasurer is responsible for investing and sheperding the taxes we pay into sound investments and insuring the money is not lost. The Treasuer is responsible for billions of dollars in tax revenues each year while Sonomawest is responsible for two industrial parks in California but the Treasuer is going to receive most of his income from Sonomawest; so which one will he really be paying attention to?

    Messrs. Stapelton and Gessler should have worked all of this out before either one of them began running for office but they didn’t. Now we are stuck with them and their conflicts of interest for the next four years. Both of these gentlemen are more worried about their own back pocket than they are about their public trust and their obligations to us, the citizens of Colorado.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      If they needed to talk to him for a couple of hours each month, that’s understandable (and probably not worth collecting any pay over). But if he’s going to put real time and attention into Sonomawest, then what happens to our investments. Because doing that job well requires the vast majority of your focused attention.

  4. PERA hopeful says:

    When I was a state employee, I took a part-time job reading law books into a tape recorder for a blind law student and I went through all the requirements to disclose it and get consent by my employer, who had to make sure that this job didn’t present any actual or apparent conflicts of interest with my employer’s business.  I got $10 an hour and made probably $400 total.

    If I’da been a Republican, I guess I could have moonlighted for double or triple my state salary and never given it a second thought.

    What. The. Fuck. Is this world coming to?

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