Scott Gessler on ethics, death threats, investigations and his next move

Big photos below.
Our January 10 issue featured a caricature of Colorado's Secretary of State on the cover, along with the headline "Scott Gessler Is Always Right."

Gessler liked the article so much that he used it for a campaign fundraiser, promising to give an autographed copy of the issue to "anyone who stands with Secretary Gessler and donates $50" to his re-election campaign during a "Honey Badger Money Bomb."

But that's only the start of the story.

Since Gessler was already the focus of two separate investigations at the time the money bomb was about to drop, we asked if he thought that move might violate the newspaper-theft statute, which prevents people from taking copies and disposing of them. "I'm distributing the papers," he pointed out. "Of course we intend to have people read them."

Fine by us.
Photo by Sam Levin
Gessler in 2012.
And seven months later, Gessler still says: "I appreciated the stories you guys had...they were pretty thorough and pretty fair."

But apparently one anonymous "friend in the journalism community" didn't think much of the initial cover story or our subsequent coverage, and last week sent me this note:

Attached please find a copy of the Scott Gessler attack piece Sam Lein wrote in January. Noteworthy is the subhead: "But can Colorado's Honey Badger fight off a criminal investigation?" First, it's interesting that Sam Levin was given the opportunity and the prominence in the publication of this piece. I've never seen him listed as a contributor to Westword. Would the same opportunity be given someone else who was not a regular contributor to present the other side of this story? Second, lavish and rather undeserved credibility is given to Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch.

If you had a shred of intellectual honesty, you would run something which updates this story, and acknowledge on your front page that Scott Gessler was not convicted of any crime. (As I recall, the case was essentially thrown out. Second, wouldn't it be nice to explain that Colorado Ethics Watch is hardly at arm's length from the two political parties in this "investigation"? Wouldn't it be intellectually honest to put up a hundred bucks for the person who could find any instance in which Colorado Ethics Watch seriously questioned the ethics of any Democrat politician in Colorado? And wouldn't it be nice to pull the curtain back and tell readers who am Levin really is, and clarify his actual position regarding Scott Gessler?

I know you rather well, Patty, and it saddens me to say that I won't be holding my breath waiting for a thoughtful public response to any of these questions. Clearly, the media establishment is left of center, and while you may continue to sell your journalistic soul to the Democrat Party sub rosa, you aren't fooling anyone worth fooling. Why don't you get some guts and put an end to these cheap, liberal butt-kissing attack pieces? Haven't you had enough of more taxes, more regulation, more welfare, which comes from the liberal Democrat machine in Washington and here in our own Statehouse? There is an abundance of worthwhile issues and legitimate ethical targets.

PS: That cover sketch of Scott was rather shabby art and clearly the opening shot for that attack piece.

A friend from the journalism community.

Continue for more of our update about Scott Gessler.

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ryan.cordova topcommenter

"a hundred bucks for the person who could find any instance in which Colorado Ethics Watch seriously questioned the ethics of any Democrat politician in Colorado."

"Seriously questioned" seems like an enormous qualifier in that statement. A cursory look at the Colorado Ethics Watch website will reveal any number of events where they investigated Democrats, but alas, I guess none of them were being "seriously" questioned.

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