Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler broke the rules and violated the public trust by spending Secretary of State office money for personal and political gain, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission in 2013. Gessler appealed the decision, and today, the Colorado Court of Appeals decided the IEC was right.
“The state should not spend another penny defending former Secretary Gessler’s position that elected officials have the right to use public money for personal and political gain,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch, the group that initially filed the complaint.
Gessler spent taxpayers’ money to travel to the Republican Party’s National Election Law Seminar before the Republican National Convention.
He also used public funds to pay himself a fat year-end bonus from his office’s discretionary account, and he reimbursed himself for undocumented mileage, according to the court ruling.
Gessler’s appeal was based on the argument that the IEC didn’t have jurisdiction over the grievances Colorado Ethics Watch made.
“Nearly three years after our complaint was filed, the Court of Appeals affirmed what we knew all along: that the Ethics Commission exists to penalize public officials for exactly this kind of abuse of office,” Toro said.
As of this writing, Gessler had not responded for an interview request from The Colorado Independent.
The full decision is available here.