Scott Gessler says he's innocent as Ethics Commission begins investigation
If found in violation of law at the Ethics Commission, Gessler could be fined up to twice the value of the funds, Feldman says.
She also explains that an unfavorable decision against Gessler could amount to what is essentially a formal censure.
Gessler, in an election day interview, reiterates that he is confident he did nothing wrong and expects both investigations will make that clear.
"Look, I think a thorough review on this whole thing will be good," he said. "If you look at the history...Ethics Watch has a history of filing these complaints and I think the the DA and Ethics Commission, to some extent, are obligated to follow up on complaints that they get."
In recent years, Gessler said, several Republican officials in Colorado have been targeted by similar liberal organizations and were ultimately exonerated.
"I'm not too worried about it," Gessler said, adding that just because the investigations are underway does not mean the complaints are accurate or legitimate. "I don't think that means much of anything. I think that [the DA and Ethics Commission]...to some extent are obligated to pursue it. I started my career as a federal prosecutor and when you get a complaint that looks reasonable on its face -- and that's what Ethics Watch writes, they'll exclude some information and include others to make their complaint look reasonable -- someone naturally has to look into."
He pointed out that the pursuit of these investigations basically means nothing more than the complaint appears "non-frivolous" at this time. "So it's a pretty low standard to me," he said. "It is what it is. I don't begrudge anyone for looking into it."
In response to partisan charges, Luis Toro, director of Ethics Watch, says that his organization has launched complaints against both Democratic and Republican officials that have resulted in findings of violation and fines. In terms of Gessler's comments that Ethics Watch may have some information and left out other information in his complaints, he asks, "What did we exclude? I'd love to know."
Gessler added, "I feel very comfortable that the things I did were within the boundaries of the law."
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