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Scott Gessler investigation: Ethics Commission denies dismissal request, pushes forward


The Secretary of State's original requests for dismissal cover a wide range of arguments about the scope of the IEC and the nature of the accusations from Colorado Ethics Watch.

Scott Gessler, press conference with reporters.jpeg
Sam Levin
Scott Gessler
One argument claims that the amendment in question does not apply specifically to expenditures. However, Feldman says the commission does not interpret its jurisdiction so narrowly.

Likewise, Gessler's attorneys believe the IEC doesn't have authority over criminal allegations. (The Secretary of State is also facing an investigation from the Denver District Attorney for his alleged misuse of funds). But despite these claims Feldman feels the commission does indeed "have jurisdiction over conduct that might also be a violation of criminal law."

Gessler's attorneys have said the complaint from Colorado Ethics Watch is frivolous, but the IEC has not interpreted it as such, which is why it decided to pursue the investigation in the first place.

The Secretary of State and his staff see CEW as a liberal organization that is only attacking Gessler for political, partisan reasons -- an argument that is part of his formal IEC response.

Perl says that CEW views that line of argument as unnecessary and a distraction.

"Questioning motives is a pretty common tactic...to intimidate the whistle blowers," she says. "Those types of personal attacks...are irrelevant and beneath the dignity of the Secretary of State."

Rich Coolidge, spokesman for Gessler, reiterates that the Secretary of State has not broken any laws and says he looks forward to moving past the issue once the IEC has completed its report. His statement says:

Secretary Gessler fully complied with the law and will continue to defend himself against these specious attacks. Even after two months, it is unclear what rule the Secretary is alleged to have violated. This confusion makes it difficult for the Secretary to defend against vague claims. We're anxious for the commission to finish its report so the Secretary can fully focus on serving the people of Colorado.
Continue for the original filings to the IEC.

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