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March 25, 2011 09:11 PM UTC

Gessler's Enforcer?

  • by: Colorado Pols

A new report from the Colorado Statesman’s Marianne Goodland about the ethics complaint against Senate Majority Leader John Morse, and the organization that filed it, the Colorado Government Accountability Project (CoGAP), has got to make you wonder:

The request for an ethics investigation was filed with the Senate on March 10 by the Colorado Government Accountability Project (CoGAP), a conservative non-profit that investigates alleged Democratic wrong-doing. The founder of CoGAP, Stephanie Cegielski, is a former employee of the Secretary of State’s office who is tied to Republican activists, conservative blogs, and the current Secretary of State. To date, CoGAP, which claims it is non-partisan, has filed complaints only against Democrats or organizations linked to Democrats…

Cegielski has been linked in the past to Scott Gessler, prior to his election as Secretary of State. In a complaint filed last year against then-Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, Gessler admitted last year he may have had “input” into the complaint, filed by Robert McGuire, Cegielski’s attorney, although the complaint was actually filed on behalf of Nickelette Bigham-Gullette, an Adams County GOP activist. McGuire told The Statesman that Bigham-Gullette was “familiar” with the work of CoGAP on Buescher. In addition, Cegielski told The Statesman she had spoken to McGuire about the issue, although she claimed not to know Bigham-Gullette.

Cegielski’s ties to Gessler, the original letter of complaint, and the timing of the complaint also is raising eyebrows at the Capitol. The original press release, dated Feb. 23, was half about Morse’s per diem and the other half criticizing Morse for going after funds in the Secretary of State’s office. The press release pointed out that Morse had sponsored amendments to cut the budgets of Attorney General John Suthers and Gessler, and during debate on Senate Bill 11-164, said Morse “chastised Secretary of State Scott Gessler for his claims that he could not live on a salary of $68,500. Morse went on to say that Gessler ‘needed to tighten his belt the way ordinary Coloradans have.’ Sen. Morse has been quick to criticize others while collecting state money at a rate superior to his fellow members of leadership,” the press release said.

Cegielski said the timing of the complaint was “coincidental”…

The other interesting finding that Goodland makes in this story is the fact that CoGAP’s complaint against Morse is riddled with exonerating error–this appears to be a much weaker complaint than the precedent-setter against ex-House Minority Leader Joe Stengel in 2005 (which was dismissed). We’ve heard that CoGAP has filed a number of Colorado Open Records Act requests recently, so far as we know all against Democrats–so the first thing to check when they roll out their next high-dudgeon complaint might well be whether the defending party has irritated Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and how recently.


10 thoughts on “Gessler’s Enforcer?

  1. I don’t know anything about CoGAP or the group’s connection to Secretary of State Gessler but one thing is clear. They better have their facts straight. If CoGAP’s complaint against Sen. Morse is, in fact, not what they portray it to be, the group’s credibility will be (self) destroyed. Politicians and associated groups seem to have forgotten that in the end credibility is everything. It supports personal integrity and it is what gives political figures and groups the stature to accomplish political goals.

    Right now, until we know the facts about CoGAP’s complaint against Sen. Morse, the jury is still out on this issue but it is the foundational issue that will dictate CoGAP’s future.

    1. prior to this. I’ve read some stuff about them from other Statesman articles and if this is about credibility, theirs is already hanging by a thread.  

      1. but in the end credibility is all they have and without it they can’t be successful – remember Trailhead. This is even more true today because we are more sensitized to those kind of antics.

      2. but in the end credibility is all they have and without it they can’t be successful – remember Trailhead. This is even more true today because we are more sensitized to those kind of antics.

    2. smears are about sound bites and image destrection. Investigative reporting is dead. Tying people up with law suits I thought the R’s detested. Apparently not.

      It beats having goons threaten people, but falls into the same tactic if the SOS is involved.

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