SOS Scott Gessler will not moonlight

Colorado secretary of state scott gessler

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced today that he will not moonlight for his old law firm–or for any law firm.

The Denver Business Journal, which broke the story a couple of weeks ago that Gessler would moonlight, had this report this afternoon.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers yesterday gave his opinion on the matter to Gessler.

Gessler’s plan to moonlight with the Hackstaff law firm raised eyebrows with lawmakers and ethics organizations alike, as the firm is known for its representation of conservative organizations in election law and campaign finance matters.

Gessler’s announcement letter:

I’m writing to tell you about my decision regarding my plan to earn supplemental income through my previous law firm. As recently reported in the media, my goal has been to fulfill my duties as Secretary of State, but also to meet my family obligations. To that end I planned to work about five hours each weekend for specific clients on issues that had nothing to do with the Secretary of State’s office. There were safeguards in place to avoid any conflict of interest.

At the same time, I wanted to be up-front and transparent with the people of Colorado, in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. So early on I chose to talk about this issue before doing any legal work whatsoever.

I carefully avoided recommending any higher compensation for elected officials, because it is truly an honor to serve as Secretary of State. But like many middle-class families in these tough economic times, I am trying hard to square my family obligations with my salary restrictions.

Over the past two weeks, many have asked that I publicly disclose client names. My former law firm has expressed great discomfort with this arrangement. Indeed, I cannot in good conscience expect anyone to subject themselves to public scrutiny, merely because I am doing some legal work for them.

For this reason, I have decided that I will not do any work representing clients through my former law firm. And while I have had substantial discussions with the Attorney General’s office about outside employment, I have nonetheless asked the Attorney General to halt work on this issue. I have decided that I will not go forward with my initial plans.

At the end of the day, it is important that we focus on the things that will help Colorado. I have been hard at work finding ways to help Colorado’s businesses and protect the integrity of our elections. In the past three weeks we’ve made good progress, but there’s much work to be done.

I am confident that four years from now we will be able to look back and know that the Secretary of State helped make Colorado a more prosperous state and helped make our elections more honest and fair. And over the next four years, I will work hard to make these things a reality.
Scott Gessler

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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