Independent Ethics Commission Rules Against Gessler

UPDATE: IEC reportedly levies the maximum fine, roughly $2800 all told–less the amount he had already repaid.

—–

AP via 7NEWS, too bad for the "Honey Badger."

Colorado Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been admonished by an ethics panel over spending office funds to attend a GOP conference during the party's national convention in Florida last year.

The determination Thursday is a black eye to a potential gubernatorial run by Gessler. The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission issued the ruling.

Adds the Denver Post's Joey Bunch:

Gessler paid back all but the price of the return ticket last month to avoid the any appearance of wrong doing, his attorney, David Lane, said during the hearing last week. The week before, news broke that he was considering a run for governor next year.

The flap over about $1,800 cost Colorado taxpayers at least $143,000 for the investigation and legal fees by the ethics commission and Gessler's office.

As of this writing, the hearing is still ongoing. The Independent Ethics Commission has ruled unanimously that Secretary of State Scott Gessler's state-funded trip to the Republican National Lawyers Association annual meeting, held just prior to the Republican National Convention in south Florida, was improper–but the commission is still deliberating what penalty will be assessed.

Beyond the obvious court-of-public-opinion penalty, of course. This is not the way to begin a run for Governor.

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  1. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    I'll be very curious to see the decision and the IEC's rationale.  My suspicion is there will be some very questionable logic within. 

    • Not hard to figure out the logic; he funded a political trip with state money.

      • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

        The logic on why attending CLE is determined to be political, and what level of deference (if any) they are willing to give the office holder's determination.  I want to see their reasoning.  

        • rathmone says:

          This might provide some insight:

          @joeybunch 11:26am via TweetDeck
          #Ethics Commission notes #Gessler conceded using discretionary fund to pay travel instead of travel fund so it would draw less scrutiny.

          • That would be good supporting evidence for the claim. Thanks, rathmone.

          • Curmudgeon says:

            Consciousness of Guilt, anyone?

          • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

            Not sure why that is dispositive.  If he has discretion to use discretionary fund, what difference does it make if he uses the discretionary fund or the travel fund? 

            Hopefully the full written opinion, if there is one, will provide some insight into the IEC's logic. 

            • Gray in Mountains says:

              I'm a little surprised. You are either being completely partisan or you do not understand principles of bookkeeping/account management. If one is purchasing travel and there is a line item for travel one uses that fund to account for the purchase. If one buys crayons and cooring books and bubble gum and Honey Badger stickers and doesn't have a line item for clown expenditures they might conceivably use a discretionary fund

              • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                My recollection Gray is that past Secretaries of States all used this fund more or less as they saw fit.  

                • gaf says:

                  But not for political events (to the best of my recollection). And with receipts–which reminds me that you are addressing the travel part, but not Gessler's taking the other funds without receipts. What do you think about that part of the IEC's decision?

                  • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                    The only portion of the ethics charges I can remember a good portion of the details about are the (a) travel expenses; and (b) the CLE expenses. Is there another portion of the charges I am leaving out? 

                    • gaf says:

                      From the Post article:

                      He also violated state ethics law when he kept $117.99 left in the fund last year, rather than submit receipts that he said accounted for hundreds of dollars more for unreimbursed mileage for state business.

                      Smaller amount of dollars, but it is about the principle–it's taxpayer money;it's not yours to take without accounting for it. And that's apparently what the IEC said.

                      BTW, I agree that the IEC's reasoning will be interesting. And note it was a unanimous decision.

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      So he didn't document expenses that very likely occur.  And you are making a big deal about that?  Sure – you'd want to have documentation.  And sure, you make him return the $100 or so of money.  But that isn't being "unethical" – it is having insufficient documentation. 

            • If Gessler admits to lower oversight being the reason for using the discretionary fund, it goes to his thinking that it wouldn't have passed muster as a travel fund request. That means Gessler had questions about the ethics of using travel fund money for the trip.

              We already know that Gessler considers the discretionary fund to be usable for anything – even for a little end-of-the-year bonus.

              • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                I don't believe that the mere fact that there is less oversight with fund A over fund B makes it an abuse of discretion to choose to use fund B.  I of course could be mistaken with this, but I'd want to see some authority beforehand (and not merely the IEC's conclusionary statements). 

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  oops – meant choose to use fund A

                • You're avoiding the point, I think. Whether fund A or B has less oversight isn't the relevant point; rather the relevant bit is Gessler explicitly conceding to using the discretionary fund because he thought it would have less oversight – in fact, he thinks the discretionary fund essentially has no oversight at all, given his past use of it.

                  That admission means that he wasn't innocent in his choice.

                  So the remaining question is – is the discretionary fund completely without oversight? I would hope that it isn't.

                  • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                    I see where you are coming from, but the mere fact that a politician seeks to avoid oversight does not necessarily mean they are doing anything wrong.  

                    • rathmone says:

                      Techinically accurate and yet sig-line worthy at the same time. I think my work's done here.

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      Wouldn't be the first time, or likely the last, that something I said ended up as a signature line 😉

                    • gaf says:

                      Hard to see "seeks to avoid oversight" as anything but "I know this won't pass the smell test."

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      Or perhaps "ColoradoPols will unjustly blow this out of proportion on a frviolous theory so I'll use a different fund" test. 

                • ClubTwitty says:

                  What you 'believe' doesn't really matter, does it? 

            • CaninesCanines says:

              I wrote that on here as a joke one time about this very subject: "What part of the word discretionary don't you people understand?!" My joke went over about as well as your serious post.

              • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                Pretty much.  Now you can't use a discretionary fund for a illegal purpose, and my guess is you can't use it either to do explicitly political things.  However, just because your Continuing Legal Education class is at a GOP event (or a Dem event, or at a SEIU/NRA, etc. event) should not mean that attendance at the class is explicitly political. 

                • Gray in Mountains says:

                  I would agree with you there. But, there is nothing about the job that requires him to attend CLE. Non-lawyers have and will be elected secstate. That should have been his own expense

                  • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                    Wasn't the CLE about election issues?  And let's switch it up – suppose Gessler were a dem and attended the CLE to get a sense of what the GOP was arguing – would that then violate ethics rules if he used the discretionary fund to attend (say because he wanted to be there incognito?)

                    • Gray in Mountains says:

                      yes

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      And what is your statutory/constitutional support for that conclusion?

                    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                      Why would an SOS of either party have to do  anything like that in the role of SOS? It certainly isn't the job of an SOS to get one party's candidates elected or to prevent one party's candidates from being elected so what would be the point of infiltrating  "enemy" territory.  The job is to make sure elections are fair and the results legitimate, let the chips fall where they may. 

                      If you have to work so hard at spinning ridiculous scenarios like this ( Secretaries of State attending meetings in disguise for the purpose of spying on the partisan opposition that very definitely isn't supposed to be hampered in any way by an SOS fulfilling his or her non-partisan election duties with integrity) to make your point, your point must be as shaky as your scenario.

                      Please don't run for anything. They'll make mincemeat out of you.

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      If you have a vision of what the SOS should do, you can run on that vision.  I may even agree with your vision.  But the fact is that neither of us ran for SOS.  Gessler did.  And he won. 

                      So if you think your vision of what a secretary of state should do is correct, your remedy/solution is to vote somebody in who agrees with it. 

                      Now, and as a second issue, you feel that Scott violated the law in some way, at least point to statutory/constitutional authority that he is in violation of.  The IEC report may do that when it comes out…but if it doesn't, the mere fact that the IEC says Scott was "wrong" doesn't mean that Scott actually was wrong.  It may mean the IEC was wrong.  To determine which was wrong, you'd have to see their opinion and underlying logic.

            • BlueCatBlueCat says:

              Not sure? Gessler explained it himself, EF. See tweet shared by rathmone above. Gessler himself apparently was the one who thought he'd better do it in a way that would draw less scrutiny. Why would  that occur to him if he wasn't aware it might not pass the smell test? That "dispositive" enough for ya?

              You know you can throw around all the lawyerly words you want. It doesn't cover up the fact that you've got nothing.  Just deflections and assumptions based on pretty squishy stuff, as always.

              You might want to think twice about running for anything. My guess is you'd get your ass handed to you in any debate.

               

               

              Gessler conceded using discretionary fund to pay travel instead of travel fund so it would draw less scrutiny. – See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/44435/independent-ethics-commission-rules-against-gessler#sthash.cEFP8STu.dpuf

  2. $2800 isn't much of a fine, especially since it's less the repayment amount.

    But this, combined with his emptying the discretionary fund in 2011, doesn't look good politically for someone running for statewide office. Even if you disagree with the legal finding here, ethically and morally the two uses of state taxpayer funds – to attend a political convention, and as a year-end bonus – shows callous disregard of taxpayer concerns.

  3. exlurker19 says:

    Elliot Fladen, the Groper with better vocabulary, better spelling, no commonsense and partisan support of the Repubs, no matter what.

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      I hardly toe the GOP line.  I have come out as saying I will root for Hickenlooper if Tancredo gets the nomination in 2014 (still going to vote third party in that scenario though)

      • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

        And I guess you missed my ColoradoPols front page post last week (promoted by PCG) calling out Gardner and Coffman for voting to defund DACA.  That was before anybody else here caught the issue.  Hardly the actions who give partisan support to the GOP "no matter what"

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          Actions of SOMEBODY who gives

        • MADCO says:

          I caught it- you said you still would vote for Coffman even though you are annoyed with him.  Sure. I caught it.

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:

            Severely annoyed. Extra points for severely.

          • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

            I think I said support – if I said I'd vote for Coffman, I think I had a slip-up as I am pretty sure they switched my district from Coffman's to Gardner's in the recent redistricting.  
             

            In any event, Ex-lurker said "partisan support of the GOP no matter what".  In this thread I haven't said anything about voting for Gessler.  So Ex-lurker must have meant my DEFENDING a GOP person as "partisan support".  And, as you are undoubtably aware I wasn't defending Coffman and Gardner in last week's post – I was criticizing them.  Hence, I was not giving them "partisan support" as ex-lurker was using the term.

  4. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    This all happened because Scott Gessler was trying to get an extra couple of thousand in his bank account. Stupid for him to self-destruct over such a small amount.

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      Have you considered that because it is a "discretionary fund" and he was attending a CLE that he had a good faith basis for believing he was on solid ground?

      • Curmudgeon says:

        Is this the kind of ethical standard you'll uphold if you ever decide to run for office, Elliot?

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          I don't like to push the envelope…I am generally pretty cautious in interpreting things like this.  That does not mean that Scott was acting in bad faith though in having his interpretation.  And I am not convinced that his interpretation was wrong 

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        If I had been advising Gessler I would have told him to behave like Czear's wife – beyond approach. He has done so many ethically questionable things recently, it was dumb to do anything questionable.

        however, that is his history – do lots of questionable things. So yes, it was stupid. But he may also have figured it was fine as he doesn't seem to have much of an ethical compass.

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          I think that a person in Gessler's position – knowing that you guys and CEW are going to trump stuff up – should have behaved like Caesar's wife (beyond reproach).  However, just as Pompei likely didn't commit adultery with Publius Pulcher, I remain unconvinced that Gessler's actual actions were violative of the relevant ethical provisions. 

          • Gray in Mountains says:

            doesn't matter what CEW says or does. I am sure you know that this ruling was from the Independent Ethics Commission which includes 2 Rs and was unanimous.I think you intentionally threw in that red herring

            • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

              And who decides which Republicans get to be on it?  Because if they are Republicans like Jim Jeffords and Arlen Spector  (pre-party switch) that isn't all that persuasive for the IEC's neutrality

              • Curmudgeon says:

                Wow, so they're RINOs, for upholding an ethical standard?

                 

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  Not that they are "RINOs" – rather the mere fact that a person is registered as a Republican doesn't necessarily mean the person still will act in a favorable, or even neutral/fair fashion, to Republicans.  

                  Here, you could perhaps say the fact that it is bipartisan should at least raise a presumption to its neutrality…however that presumption can be rebutted.  One way of rebutting it would be of the ruling was very questionable.  Which is partly why I want to see the logic behind the IEC's decision. 

                  • Curmudgeon says:

                    SO, because they went against your guy, they're not impartial. Got it. 

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      Again – NO.  If there ruling is persuasive in its interpretation, or at least based on sound reasoning, then that it is strong evidence of their impartiality.  On the other hand if they knew the result they wanted beforehand and didn't really use any sort of persuasive reasoning to get past the arguments of Gessler's counsel, then that is a sign that they possibly were NOT impartial. 

                      Again, it depends on the logic of their decision, not on the political affiliation of the IEC's members. 

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      Lots of typos (their – not there)

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      Also – even if the ruling was not persuasive in its reasoning, it could still mean the IEC officials were impartial…but still operating under a bad/incorrect interpretation of law. 

                      Point being, again, that one should look at the logic of the opinion and decide if they agree with the IEC's interpretation of the relevant ethical codes…and not let their political affiliation color that analysis. 

                  • gaf says:

                    But in your reply to me above re Gessler's sweeping the remainder of the funds without receipts, you clearly have already made up your mind that was not an ethical violation–without seeing the commission's reasoning. As I said there, it is a matter of principle despite the small amount of money for that part of the case. Your argument is inconsistent here, which is what happens when ones assessment is not based on principle.

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      I believe I said I was skeptical that they would be able to produce a persuasive rationale.  If they do in fact produce some persuasive guidance as opposed to "Gessler was wrong because we say so" then that becomes a different question.  

              • ClubTwitty says:

                If they were 'real' Republicans they would agree with Eliot.  Ipso Facto and all that. 

                • ClubTwitty says:

                  Eliot, we agree!  If you, in your subjective determination, decide that the IEC ruling is persuasive, then the panel is likely impartial.  If on the other hand it is your personal opinion that it is not persuasive then panel must be partial.  Ipso facto: If Eliot agrees it is correct, if Eliot disagrees it is incorrect. 

                  • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                    Not what I am saying.  If the opinion is utterly unpersuasive, that could be some evidence of impartiality.  On the other hand it could just be evidence of poor reasoning.  We need to see the opinion to see how/why the IEC concluded as they did. 

                    • Curmudgeon says:

                      Anybody wanna take any side bets on how Eliiot will interpret their decision? Anyone? 

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      As determined by whom?  By the objective and 'reasonable' observer suspended behind his veil of ignorance, who just so happens to be the subjective particular person embodied in context and belief named Elliot Fladen?

                    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                      Why don't you just wait until the text of it comes out and see the foundations for the decision?

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        But he clearly didn't think he was on such solid ground, hence the self admitted decision to do it in a way that would attract less attention.  I hope he appreciates his number one fan and defender having so much more confidence in the propriety of his actions than he did himself.  I wouldn't count on it, though. I'm sure he wouldn't pass up the opportunity to throw his number one fan under the bus if he thought it would do him any good.  That's what sleazeballs do.

         

  5. Gray in Mountains says:

    @Elliot- no more "replys" allowed. I'm sure you wish "wait for the opinion" had been your only comment

  6. Gray in Mountains says:

    @ Elliot-the opinion will NOT come from 5 attorneys so you'll likely have some fun minimizing their finding. The IEC is a commission. Similar to a jury. I'm not even sure there will be a published opinion

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      Juries only get to make findings of fact, not decisions of law.  Here I believe the facts are largely undisputed Gray.  The question is what the legal effects of those facts are. 

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        thats why I said "similar" and not the "same". The greatest legal effects are that future sec states will be more discrete in their use of discretionary funds

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        A wise sec state, in the very next budget, would completely eliminate the discretionary fund and substitute it with a miscellaneous fund and a pretty clear definition of what "miscellaneous" means. By doing so this wise sec state would demonstrate something better than Honey Badger qualities
         

  7. MADCO says:

    OMG.

    It's a vast left wing conspiracy against Scott Gessler.

    If, and I sincerely mean IF, he did anything wrong by tapping the discretionary funds at his discretion for his discretionary purpose – it was so minor, so measley and trivial it don't mean a thing. Seriously – what's a little plagarism discretionary spending between friends?

    omg.

    If this story broke with the same timing as that other guys minor discretionary musings, we could get another wack job nominee. Oh wait….

     

  8. co-intheknow says:

    Whether it's $2 or $1,000, bad lil scotty was caught and now he's REALLY going to want that second/moonlighting job he was whining about during his first few days as a lowly-paid elected government employee.  Did he ever provide the documentation about the threats that caused him such consternation to spend public money for his own gain?

  9. gaf says:

    So we try to recall elected officials who take principled stands on legislation supported by the majority of Coloradans, while one with confirmed ethical violations is a candidate for Governor. We seem to be living in a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

  10. hawkeye says:

    Scott Gessler is not governor material, as the average voter expects someone with ethical standards and a moral compass .. as least in their public life and with taxpayer money. 

  11. ClubTwitty says:

    Seven, the answer is 'seven angels can dance on a Rawlsian pin.' 

    Face it, what the IEC determined is irrelevant.  What matters is Elliot's opinion.  So if we all just wait until EF can actaully read the decision and tell us why it is wrong we really have no need to discuss this further. 

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      What the IEC determines is very relevant.  They were the finder of law in this circumstance.  However, their decion may turn out to have been poorly reasoned.  We won't know that until we see the underlying opinion. 

      • Curmudgeon says:

        Notice that Elliot doesn't openly question Gessler's motives, or reasoning.

        But he's perfectly comfortable openly expressing doubt about the IEC's motives and reasoning.

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          Because the fund used was a DISCRETIONARY fund.  And be funds were used to go to a Colorado Supreme Court approve CLE on election law.  If the. IEC'S is going to say that is improper they need to at least say what law was violated and why.  So far my understanding is they have not said either.  Hopefully their report will remedy that.  Because you would agree, I would hope, that a reviewing court owes it to a person it condemns to state the legal basis for the condemnation?

          • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

            Pardon iPhone typos please

          • Old Time Dem says:

            You keep repeating that it was a CLE, which is true but irrelevant. It was a meeting at the RNC for Republican lawyers.  So unless the Secretary of State is permitted to spend his office funds for purely partisan purposes, Gessler doesn't have an ethical leg to stand on.

            • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

              So when Obama uses Air Force 1 to go visit consituents but then has a campaign rally afterwards, is that unethical? 

              Scott had a legitimate reason to attend the CLE as SOS.  If he decided to go to a GOP function, go to a bar and have a few drinks, or hit up a McD's for a quarterpounder afterwards is not relevant on my understanding as long as the trip had one legitimate purpose which would be the attendance at the CLE.  If you think I am wrong, please say why. 

              • ClubTwitty says:

                The actual panel of experts tasked by our state to review such matters disagrees.  So your opinion is more important than their's because…. you know whose Ceasar's wife was?  Am I following your argument? 

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  CT, 
                  Funny, but no.  You are mixing points:
                  1) The fact that the discretionary fund, instead of the travel fund, was used isn't dispositive evidence of impropriety
                  2) Nobody has said what law or standard Gessler violated when he used state funds, which he had discretion over to determine best use, to go to a CLE about election law.  The way I heard it, Gessler on the radio today (I understand Jimmy Sengenberger will soon be posting the audio) said that he hasn't even been told by the IEC what rule/law he broke.  

                  Hopefully the IEC report will at least address point #2.  Point #1 just goes to show that using one fund over another doesn't seem to be violative of anything so long as you have authority to use both funds for the specific expenditure at issue. 

                  • ClubTwitty says:

                    A unanimous decision by a bi-partisan panel suggests some merit, although we will all be interested to see what laws, rules, and ethical improprieties Mr. Gessler was busted for.  Your string of dodges, jargon, and red herrings–however–that we can expect, however, not so much. 

                  • Old Time Dem says:

                    Where does it say that the SOS can use official funds to attend a partisan event?

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  And the IEC was the finder of law (and fact to I think).  That alone doesn't actually make them experts though.  Maybe they are.  Maybe they aren't.  

              • Old Time Dem says:

                The fact that CLE credit was available is incidental and irrelevant.  It was the annual meeting of the Republican National Lawyer's Association at the RNC.  Does it get more partisan than that?

                As you undoubtedly know, the cost of political trips by the President is reimbursed to the governmen (albeit not completely, but I do think the President's travel needs are a bit different than the Colorado Secretary of State's).  And if you don't know that, you're an idiot–or at least you should have had the sense to look it up first.

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  So the President pays 50% for the cost of using AirForce One when he has a dual purpose trip? 😉

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  And do you have a statutory basis for saying that Scott could not, in HIS judgment (as it was a DISCRETIONARY fund) determine that the CLE course was a proper expenditure of discretionary funds to attend?

                  • Old Time Dem says:

                    For chrissakes, the CLE-ness is incidental.  It would also be non-partisan for him to have dinner with his mother, but that doesn't make the trip to Florida any less partisan.

                    Dude attended a clearly partisan event on the state's dime.  That is unethcial.  What is so difficult to understand about that?

            • ClubTwitty says:

              Elliot has not read the report yet so he cannot fully tell you why its a bad decision, but it must be becasue you cannot answer EF's set of ever-changing questions to his satisfaction.  Ergo–Elliot is right and once he has the report he will be able to tell you why, at least to his satisfaction. 

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          Eliot's one sided tap dancing has reached the utterly, La La land ridiculous stage despite the "ipso factos", "dispositives" and showing off his superior knowledge of the details of the historic background for the Caesar's wife bit, none of which will be of the slightest use to him in appealing to voters if he ever makes the mistake of running for for anything.  It's pretty hilarious how he thinks these embellishments make his so obviously biased subjective and sometimes outlandish hypothetical stretches "logical". Mr. Spock he most definitely is not.

          Got to hand it to him though. A lesser tap dancer would have been exhausted a long time ago. Bet he has really buff calves.

          • Curmudgeon says:

            Well, if he does decide to run, any future opponent will have hours of enjoyment simply by Googling Eliot's name + "ethics"……

            The twists and turns he puts the language though, in the hopes of stupefyin' us non-attorneys with his fancy lawyer-talk, is bordering on satire.

            • ClubTwitty says:

              Or maybe it is satire.  That seems to be what Occam might suggest.  Is there anyone that things an overly pedantic approach is effective communications?  Do we really need to let the world know we know the name of Ceasar's wife and the alledged adulterer?  What does that have to do with the price of eggs in China, (or the price of a taxpayer-funded political trip, for that matter)?  Its not only unimpressive, its insulting and off-putting in my experience.  Its why I quit studying philosophy and decided to make an honest living. 

               

            • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

              Heaven forbid an attorney that sticks up for people. The horror!

               

              /sarcasm

              • ClubTwitty says:

                Its your arguments that are lacking counselor. 

              • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                Another non-point. Nobody has said a word against an attorney who sticks up for the people, something you clearly believe yourself to be in connection with your defense of Gessler for your own very subjective and often tortured reasons.  We have had plenty of lawyers participate here and we welcome and respect them because they provide us with valuable expertise and insight and they do it by directly answering questions and addressing points in plain English. If you did the same you would receive the same appreciation and respect. You don't. 

                Trust me, you are not being persecuted for being a brave attorney standing up for the people.Ha!

  12. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    FWIW, Gessler is scheduled to be on 710 KNUS at 8:40 a.m. this morning to respond to the IEC.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      And you will no doubt find whatever Gessler says on KNUS "persuasive" "dispositive" "ipso facto" and all that jazz, while new reasons for dissing anything any commission member says or writes will continue to suggest themselves to your fevered imagination,  though it will be very, very hard to top your incognito SOS scenario for sheer unadulterated silliness. That was truly priceless.

  13. PERA hopeful says:

    If anybody is interested in information about the background of the IEC members (Elliot, I'm talking to you), here's a link to their bios.

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      I care more about the logic of their condemnation than I care about what their bio says.  What rule did Scott violate?  What law?  On what basis?  Can their opinion/decision explain that?  Can any of you?

      If there is a sound basis to their decision then fine, let the ruling stand on its own merits.  

      • ClubTwitty says:

        Can, perhaps, an eighth angel fit on the Rawlsian pin to dance if they are properly choreographed??  Can you answer that???  Can any of you????

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          So you don't think it is important to find out what specific law/standard Gessler violated in the IEC's view?  Or why? If that is the case, then all that matters to you is that an agency said "bad Republican"

          Kind of disappointing. 

          • ClubTwitty says:

            I think trying to have any discussion with you on any topic in which there is a difference opinion is akin to repeatedly smashing my head into a wall, only eventually the wall might yield. 

             

      • Curmudgeon says:

        He admitted that he used the discretionary fund because there would be "less scrutiny".   The travel fund wasn't out of money. It was a conscious choice to try and conceal the nature of the expense. There was no logical reason to do so, except to try and escape scrutiny.  Is it illegal? Probably not. Not my place to decide.  Is it shady? Hell, yes.   Is it especially shady, coming from the Secretary of State?  Yeah, I think it is. This is the guy who was caterwauling about voter fraud, remember? But, it's okay to conceal expenses if you feel justified in doing so.

        It's not a felony. It may not even be a crime. It is unethical, in my opinion, and insulting to the people. And apparently, the IEC agrees. It's their job to determine what's ethical and what's not, and your "doubts" about their impartiality are based on absolutely nothing aside from partisanship.  

        Lawyers are notorious for having a mutable sense of right and wrong, in order to better defend their clients, but jeez…. is Gessler that powerful, that you're afraid of just saying, "Yeah, he screwed up.. so what?"

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          What codified rule of ethics or law did Gessler violate by using money from the discreationary fund as opposed to the travel fund?  What limitations do you feel exist on the use of the money in the discretionary fund and what is your legal authority for claiming those limitations exist?

          • Curmudgeon says:

            I'm not a lawyer. I'm a taxpayer. I pay his salary, and I don't like it when my employees screw around with my money and try to hide what they're doing with it. It doesn't matter to me if they thought it was okay, because they were trying to avoid scrutiny. That's okay with you?

            Perhaps you don't understand why constituents would expect ethics and transparency from their elected officials.  Fair enough. There are plenty of people, in every party, who have the same attitude. Most of them are elected, or hoping to be.

            Just don't pretend you're different.

            • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

              Curmudgeon, if you don't like the way Scott spent a discretionary fund then don't give him a discretionary fund.  Not that complicated. 

              • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                Alternatively, you can place more restrictions on future expenditures of such funds.  But what you are doing here is basically saying that something should be punished, without any explanation of why it was illegal/unethical, after the fact simply because you don't like it. 

                That sounds dangerously close to, if not the same as, an ex post facto law, and such are anathema in our legal tradition.

              • Curmudgeon says:

                Except that he didn't have to use it. He used it to cover his ass. But, I understand that you don't see that as a problem.

                • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

                  I said I didn't see why that alone would be a violation of ethics/law.  Whether it violates a principle of transparency/good government is a distinct question, yet one that I understand is outside the IEC's jurisdiction.

          • Old Time Dem says:

            What codified rule of ethics or law did Gessler violate?

            Using state money for partisan political purposes.

      • Sir RobinSir Robin says:

        ETHICS is not a rule, or a law. The term comes from the Greek word ethos, which means "character". As the SOS, his decision to spend taxxpayer money on non-state business showed a lack of character, a lack of ethics, and poor judgment. That's why he is being chastised.

  14. Craig says:

    Wow, I don't think I have ever seen such a long thread here at ColoPols.  But, there's a reason for that.  Mr. Gessler is so far away from what Coloradoans want for a Secretary of State that his supporters are desparate and his enemies smell blood.  Colorado has a long, long history of essentially non-partisan Secretary's of State.  The fairness of elections and the manner in which they have been run has very, very rarely been questioned over the last forty years that I have been involved.  There are great figures who have never been called partisan while they served.  People like Mary Estil Buchannan, Nataile Meyer, Doneta Davidson.  All Republicans and never a wiff of scandal.  An never a complaint of partisanship in running elections.  Mr. Gessler has changed all of that.  People have noticed and people don't like it.  There isn't one of those previous Secretary's of State who would have done what Gessler did in this case.  It shows a lack of good judgment on Mr. Gessler's party, plain and simple.  And being plain and simple, regular folks get it and don't like it.  By the unanimous vote of a five member commission made up of 2 "Repubicans", two Democrats and one unaffiliate, they have ruled that in addition to very poor judgment, what Mr. Gessler did was illegal.  All the dumb arguments and misdirections of EF above notwithstanding, the people get this and they will be the judge of it.  Poor judgment, partisanship and unlawful activities.  In short this is what we got with Mr. Gessler, not to mention that the office of Colorado Secretary of State has been sullied by his actions something that hasn't happened in recent history for Colorado.  The man is unfit to serve and should resign.  If he doesn't, he should soundly defeated in the next election.  We don't need Mr. Gessler's kind in Colorado.

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      Really? You must check in less frequently than I think. Ol' beej's thread about religion got something like 500 comments. And Kay Sieverding and the Courties used to really run up the word count. These days, with participation at Pols down from its late 00's peak, a long thread only indicates Eliot's stubborness.

      More to your point, excellent observation. Gessler is a toad, not a honey badger.

  15. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Why bother, Elliot? They're going to crucify Gessler no matter what you say.

    I come here to smack these leftists around, not argue with them. Focus on convincing the silent majority of readers here.

  16. ClubTwitty says:

    Yeah, the Silent Majorty.  But I agree you come here and smack something.  I hope you use lotion. 

  17. Gray in Mountains says:

    Last summer in our small town a lady came to council to begin conversation re a farmers market. A council member was appointed by council to attend one of our steering committee meetings which I was on. One of our locals became incensed and insisted there was conflict of interest because the council member met with us though all she did was talk about what city requirements would be; clean up, insurance, space allottment. The incensed local took the city to the IEC. The IEC took just as long as with Gessler. In fact, Gessler was the next one in the room. Our council member was found to have NOT done anything unethical and they recognized that in a small town these kinds of meetings are not uncommon.

    They seemed pretty reasonable to both of the ladies that had to appear and it did, unfortunately, cost our city several thousand $

  18. Gray in Mountains says:

    Last summer in our small town a lady came to council to begin conversation re a farmers market. A council member was appointed by council to attend one of our steering committee meetings which I was on. One of our locals became incensed and insisted there was conflict of interest because the council member met with us though all she did was talk about what city requirements would be; clean up, insurance, space allottment. The incensed local took the city to the IEC. The IEC took just as long as with Gessler. In fact, Gessler was the next one in the room. Our council member was found to have NOT done anything unethical and they recognized that in a small town these kinds of meetings are not uncommon.

    They seemed pretty reasonable to both of the ladies that had to appear and it did, unfortunately, cost our city several thousand $. The very real downside is that the city and any other group wishing to do something positive and in a VERY open public meeting (appointing a council member to represent the city) will be very wary.

  19. CUmaster says:

    If Gessler just blew his secretary of state budget and took a taxpayer bailout, how can we expect him to manage the governor's office?  Not to mention Gessler's history of ethics violations and failed leadership.

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