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March 18, 2011 09:54 PM UTC

Complaint Against Sen. Morse Gets Due Consideration

  • by: Colorado Pols

As right-wing blogs have been flogging for some weeks, and the AP reports today:

A bipartisan ethics panel has been named to review per diem payments to Colorado Senate’s Democratic leader.

The Senate appointed a panel on Friday to look into the money claimed by Sen. John Morse of Colorado Springs.

The move comes after a watchdog group used state open-records laws to find that Morse requested 331 days of per diem reimbursement in 2009, far exceeding his colleagues…

Those three terse paragraphs are as close to glory as the determined proponents of an ethics investigation of Sen. John Morse over his per diem payments are likely to get. Reporter Lynn Bartels of the Denver newspaper has a much more thorough writeup on her blog today–our understanding, and her story indicates, is the complaint relies on a Google calendar that Sen. Morse turned over in response to a Colorado Open Records Act request, and which Morse asserts was never intended to be a comprehensive record of his official schedule.

Bartels also clarifies the “precedent” set by an investigation of former House Minority Leader Joe Stengel in 2005, over his claiming 240 of 247 days that the legislature was not in session the prior year. Despite the constant comparisons to Stengel, Bartels correctly reports that though arguably much more credible, the complaint against Stengel was ultimately dismissed–Stengel resigned from his leadership post not because of the excessive per diem he claimed, but because he lied about having received permission to claim it. That’s a very important distinction, and it makes comparisons between these two complaints either exculpatory, or just dumb.

In any event, these complaints usually are investigated just as they were with Stengel, and Senate President Brandon Shaffer is protecting everybody–presumably including Sen. Morse–by following the process. Conservatives who positively beat the hell out of this story for weeks with no pickup can claim a measure of victory for getting it into circulation, but the belligerent way they browbeat reporters, as well as the thinner-than-advertised details about the calendar at the heart of the complaint, will likely make it harder for them to sell their next “big scandal.”


19 thoughts on “Complaint Against Sen. Morse Gets Due Consideration


    This has been my one big hang up on nuclear energy having lived in states where they buried the wastes on or near fault zones.  It seems, however, Japan has done a far worst job than the U.S.

    Years of procrastination in deciding on long-term disposal of highly radioactive fuel rods from nuclear reactors are now coming back to haunt Japanese authorities as they try to control fires and explosions at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

  2. When I first read Bartel’s story, Shaffer was the one quoted called the complaint “bogus.” That has been edited, now Bartels quotes Morse saying it was “bogus.”

    I’m actually glad that Shaffer was NOT the one who said that, even though I think it’s true. We don’t need these hair trigger righties Tweeting more bogus “BREAKING NEWS.”

    Totally agree re: overflogging by the right btw. They were stupid and insulting to reporters, and it got worse as time went on. If I was a reporter, I’d have a very high bar for the next story from these jokers.

    1. CGAP did the same kind of job on Bernie Buescher’s calendar, and the conclusions reached about how Buescher used his time were extremely flawed – CGAP never asked Buescher about the terminology used on the calendar and just assumed that every blacked-out time on his calendar was personal time. That turned out to be inaccurate, and hence so were the conclusions.

      That’s a BIG reason why the media has been ignoring this – some of us don’t have time to doublecheck CGAP’s work.

      1. When you are both an asshole to reporters and don’t give them a straight story, you deserve to be ignored.

        Bartels found more problems too, COGAP has to file an “amended complaint” because their dates are not matching up. #fail

  3. The only person I’m aware of claiming more time was the liar Stengel. Not good company.

    Of course, going by precedent investigating comes out the same as not. Who cares? As long as Morse doesn’t embarrass himself by pushing blame to the opposite party, he won’t see a position change at all.

    Stengel lied, Morse is lying. Oh well. If someone is actually worried about it they should change the rule. Did I miss McNulty & Co. offering that?

    1. If conservative blogs are making much ado about nothing, what of Morse, when he tried to have a DA thrown in jail over a lesser version of the same offense?

    2. How is Morse lying? Stengel quite clearly lied to the Rocky Mountain News and then just as clearly lied to Romanoff about what he told the Rocky.

      That’s a whole different thing than believing you did leadership work on a given day while others question whether what you did should count.

      That’s what the investigation should determine, it’s not a settled question yet.

      1. he did enough work every single one of those days to be worth claiming it. I’m calling him a liar.

        In this case the rules says he didn’t do anything wrong. Fair enough. I believe that. But in saying he earned that money and it’s in anyway right to accept it is a lie. So Morse is a liar.

        That’s why the sentence is the start of the paragraph when I suggest no one really cares because no one is proposing a rule change. If it’s a problem, it should be all the time.

        I think it’s a problem. And I think when Morse pretends he thinks he worked anything that would justify the pay for 331 days in a year, 221 specifically on leadership work, he’s lying. OR isn’t that bright. Stupid or lying.

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