Scott Gessler, Colorado's chief election officer, facing criminal and ethics investigations


When the accusations were first leveled against his office, Gessler's spokesman told us that his office did not break any laws because public dollars were only used for official Secretary of State business and suggested that the accusations represented a partisan attack.

Thumbnail image for Scott Gessler talks to reporters.jpeg
Sam Levin
Scott Gessler at a press conference.
Today, Gessler spokesman Rich Coolidge says, "We welcome a thorough review."

He adds that his office has seen no official complaints from either entity. The DA's office explains that in a financial investigation like this, there is no official communication with the DA's office and the person being investigated.

The Independent Ethics Commission also announced yesterday that the complaint from Ethics Watch is "not frivolous" and thus directed the Commission staff to investigate the matter.

"We're not surprised, but we are pleased," said Luis Toro, director of Ethics Watch. "Elected officials often don't hold each other accountable...so it's an act of political courage for the DA to take this on, and we salute him for it."

Toro says that the investigation could lead to a range of charges, from a misdemeanor offense to official misconduct to falsification of public records. At worst, Gessler could be charged with embezzlement of state funds, a felony that would require Gessler to step down. But Toro says the investigation will dig up the evidence necessary to determine the seriousness of any possible offense.

Toro says he doesn't think the timing of these announcements should impact voters' faith in the system, despite the fact that reports of a key swing states' chief election officer facing multiple investigations broke on the eve of election day.

"Of course, it is concerning, but we have to remember that there's a lot more to running an election than the Secretary of State," he says. "There's county clerks, election judges, and many many people who can be checks and balances."

More from our Politics archive: "Colorado for Obama v. Colorado for Romney: Vote for which campaign has the tackiest crap"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.



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10 comments
Marcelino Casias
Marcelino Casias

ProgressNow has been trying to educate people about Gessler for a while. I guess he really is a crook.

goldstein
goldstein

So I was all geeked up to see what this was all about. And now I see: $1,400 of fraud for two trips? OK, I get it, every penny counts, and we need to keep these officials in line, but...really? Anyone have an idea of the number of junkets taken by even low-level govt officials and the largesse around travel expense accounts? That is the real story here - its all a big, fradulent joke on the taxpayer. Incredulity aside, this is the statement that got my attention... "Toro says the investigation will dig up the evidence necessary to determine the seriousness of any possible offense." Exactly what I thought. They have to investigate to see if the charges are valid. It cost well north of $1,400 for "Ethics Watch" to obtain these documents, much less conduct the ensuing investigation that "will go into next year" to the tune of $100k. Why, that money could have gone toward the annual DMV retreat to Aspen to learn how to study their navels.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"Denver District Attorney's office and the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission believe the allegations are serious enough that they merit investigation."

 

Next Investigation = the LIARS and FRAUDS behind the bogus A64 !!

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