In case you missed it, the Denver Post editorial board doesn’t much like Secretary of State Scott Gessler. In its recent editorial it blasts Gessler for using his discretionary account for discretionary items that it doesn’t agree with. Amazingly, the editorial and coverage of this story in the Post remarkably dwarfs that of the scrutiny leveled against Senator John Morse.
The similarities between the two circumstances appeal almost identical but result in very different coverage. First, both stories were initiated by partisan groups, Ethics Watch (CEW) on the Left and Colorado Accountability Project (CAP) on the Right. CEW blasted Gessler and the Post wrote about it immediately, including two stories and an editorial, “Gessler needs to repay taxpayers.”
CAP attacked Morse for collecting more than $30,000 in undocumented per diem payments and the Post waited months before writing about it, even in the face of constant pressure from this blog. It finally wrote an editorial titled “Rule about legislators’ expenses still unclear.” It vaguely mentions Morse but does not attack him like it did Gessler.
Both instances show elected officials being reimbursed without documentation, Gessler $1,400 from cash funds and Morse $30,000 in taxpayer funds. Both examples are within the bounds 0f the law. The Morse editorial says, “The Senate ethics committee has suggested…that lawmakers be more specific when filling out forms about what they were doing…” and the Gessler editorial agrees the CEW complaints are frivolous.
But the editorial goes nuclear on Gessler calling him tone deaf and barely makes mention of Morse and his $30,000 windfall. The Gessler editorial could just have easily called for more clarification of discretionary account spending but instead chose to lecture him.
Sadly, the Post is showing its partisan stripes by blatantly attacking Gessler and slapping Morse’s wrist. But, of course, no bias in our local media.