Thousands of Coloradans Tell Gessler: Serve Colorado or Resign

ProgressNow Colorado delivers names, comments of nearly 5,000 citizens demanding Gessler give up irresponsible “moonlighting” plans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 27th 2010

DENVER: Responding to the week-long controversy over Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s decision to continue working part time for his law firm while he serves, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, today delivered a petition signed by nearly 5,000 citizens to Gessler’s office–demanding that Gessler abandon this irresponsible plan.

“The response to our call for Gessler to give up his ‘moonlighting’ plans was overwhelming,” said Kjersten Forseth, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado. “What you’re seeing today is an outraged answer from both sides of the aisle to an irresponsible and hopelessly conflicted situation. It’s time for Gessler to listen to what the people of Colorado are very clearly saying, or step down.”

Gessler’s law firm the Hackstaff Law Group, formerly Hackstaff Gessler, has represented some of the most politically controversial right wing groups and candidates in the state. Gessler has asserted that he will not take cases that could conflict with his duties as Secretary of State, but leading ethics watchdogs such as Colorado Ethics Watch have denounced Gessler’s decision, noting that he would be shielded from many necessary disclosures by attorney-client privilege.

The Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Grand Junction Sentinel have all published editorials this week condemning Gessler’s plan. As of Thursday afternoon, 4,916 people have signed ProgressNow Colorado’s petition–with more continuing to come in.

“Thousands of ProgressNow Colorado members signed this petition, but also many more who received it from friends and colleagues, or found it online through a variety of sources,” said Forseth. “Colorado citizens understand clearly that Gessler’s previous work for this law firm creates a massive conflict of interest with his duties as Secretary of State–potentially endangering free and fair elections here. They are appalled that Gessler claims he ‘can’t survive’ on an income significantly higher than the average in Colorado, and they cannot reconcile his claims with his right wing colleagues in the Colorado legislature who just voted to cut school breakfast funding for poor children.

“They also understand that Gessler did win the election, and he is Colorado’s Secretary of State,” concluded Forseth. “That is why we are calling today for Gessler to do the right thing, put an end to this distracting controversy, and agree to put the interests of Colorado first as he swore to do just a couple of weeks ago. Colorado needs a full-time Secretary of State, whose interests will not be subject to continuous second-guessing due to an avoidable conflict. It is only if Gessler cannot do that should he be asked to resign.”

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15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. NeonNurse says:

    Where the heck is the ‘Like’ button????

    • nancycronk says:

      he would need to do it in a way that is not a conflict of interest. As an attorney, he needs to stay away from candidates, parties, corporations that support them, or anything that even remotely smells of a conflict. Why not switch to family law, Mr. Gessler?

      If he is unwilling to do that, he should resign.

      • RedGreen says:

        Imagine the daytime TV commercials.

        “I’m Scott Gessler — They call me the Bearclaw. By day, I’m your Secretary of State, but after hours I’ll get you the settlement you deserve.” CLANG “That’s right, the Bearclaw.”

  2. Ellie says:

    An interesting take by Peter Blake in Face the State.

    http://facethestate.com/peter-

    Scott Gessler won the battle but may have lost the war.

    He was sworn in Jan. 11 as secretary of state, a job that pays $68,500 a year. Just one week later, Democrat Bernie Buescher, the man he defeated, was appointed deputy attorney general in charge of the state services section. That job pays $124,740 a year-nearly twice the money for half the grief.

    Blake gives an interesting history of moonlighting by elected officials but concludes:

    …If he wants to supplement his income by moonlighting, let him try. Democrats will watch him carefully to see if he’s paying enough attention to his day job and not exploiting it to make income at night or on weekends. If they can’t wait for 2014, they can always circulate a recall petition.

  3. BlueCat says:

    I think we needed a much bigger initial sign on to have much hope for a recall.  But agree with Blake in Face the State.  Especially since Gessler keeps popping up in not so positive news. The tussle over hanging on to all surplus funds instead of taking part in the sweep into the general fund in this time of fiscal crisis, for example.

    Another thing. He certainly is giving Hick plenty of opportunities to appear responsible, not terribly partisan and reasonable in his responses to every new fire Gessler seems to start every time he opens his mouth. And the press seems to be getting a kick out of the stories he keeps generating. I think we can count on Gessler being put on the defensive every time he presents an opportunity for local reporters to do so. Talk about starting out on the wrong foot…  

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    Something like:

    DENVER: Responding to the week-long controversy over Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s Executive Director of Economic Development Dwayne Romero’s decision to continue working part time for his law real estate firm while he serves, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, today delivered a petition signed by nearly 5,000 citizens to Gessler’s Romero’s office–demanding that Gessler Romero abandon this irresponsible plan.

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