Time To Resign – Happy Hour Does NOT Count As “Legislative Business”

UPDATE: The Denver Police Department promises “significant new information” about Rep. Bradford’s case at a press conference scheduled for 3:30PM. Developing.

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State Bill Colorado summarizes today’s update to the story of Rep. Laura Bradford’s skirting of a DUI charge last week in downtown Denver, due to a constitutional provision meant to prevent the arrest of legislators for petty or political purposes “going to or returning from” legislative business. As reported yesterday by this blog, and confirmed now by multiple sources:

Before her non-arrest, Rep. Laura Bradford attended a happy hour at Prohibition, a bar just a few blocks east of the Capitol, multiple outlets reported. Sources told The Denver Post that Bradford was at the bar for several hours. ColoradoPols.com described it as a “lobbyist happy hour.” Speaker Frank McNulty told The Post he couldn’t recall whether Bradford told him at that time whether she had been at a legislative function the night she got stopped…

Critical to understand is that Rep. Bradford, although she claims to have not intended to invoke legislative privilege, specifically told Denver Police she was proceeding home from a “legislative function.” These are the words she used in her apology on the House floor yesterday as well, and these were the words that DPD says triggered the decision not to arrest her for what seems to have been a fairly obvious case of DUI.

“I was driving my personal car with legislative license plates. In response to the officer’s inquiry, I stated that I was leaving a legislative function, was on my way home and was expected to be at the capitol the next day,” Bradford said.

Game over, folks. No reasonable person could ever, ever consider a happy hour with lobbyists to fall under the heading of a legislative session, committee hearing, or debate as described in the Colorado Constitution, Article V, Section 16. The fact that Rep. Bradford referred to this happy hour as a “legislative function” when asked by police where she was coming from–not trivia, a key question under the law–is damning evidence that Bradford not only understood the relevance of those words to the police’s choices of what to do with her, but despite what she says now, fully intended to invoke legislative privilege to prevent her arrest for DUI.

And if that’s true, take a deep breath and acknowledge what it means.

It means that Rep. Laura Bradford must resign.