That’s the word we just received, an ethics complaint against Sen. John Morse was unanimously dismissed by the investigating committee today. Resolution of this complaint was delayed by last week’s budget drama. We’ll update shortly with details and statements–in the meantime, foreshadowing for this expected outcome was provided last Friday by the Colorado Statesman’s Marianne Goodland:
Normally, the complaint would frame the allegations and whether they are substantiated by probable cause, according to Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora. Gilroy said the complaint, while citing that Morse’s calendar raises “ethical” concerns and questions, doesn’t ever say what laws or rules may have been violated, a requirement under Senate rules for an ethics violation to be filed.
That’s a problem for the committee. Carroll said it makes her unsure about what to do about the complaint, since they don’t have any violation of law or rule to go by. Senate rule 43, which governs ethics complaints, states that anyone filing a complaint must specify “the statutes, rules, constitutional provisions, or other ethical principles alleged to have been violated.” The CoGAP complaint cites the statute on per diem but never says that Morse violated it…
Looks like they figured out “what to do” about this complaint–unanimous, bipartisan vote to the circular file. There’s nothing here to leave a mark on Sen. Morse, despite the most furiously inept media-shopping of a purported scandal we’ve seen in a long time. In the end, the fact that this entire brouhaha amounted to a Google calendar that nobody except those complaining ever believed represented a full record of Sen. Morse’s day, will make the press think twice about paying attention to the next “big scandal” from these guys.
And one last time, for the record: Joe Stengel resigned because he lied.
Which reminds us: did anybody ever ask Stephanie Cegielski of the Colorado Government Accountability Project (CoGAP) why her complaints appear to shadow Scott Gessler’s latest dustups by a conveniently brief interval? As both Bernie Buescher and John Morse can now attest? That’s kind of interesting, no doubt just a coincidence, somebody ought to ask.