Last August was a busy travel time for state officials. Secretary of State Scott Gessler used his discretionary account to speak at an election law seminar put on by the Republican Lawyers Committee in Florida.
That same month, Governor John Hickenlooper and one of his finance chairs, Ken Gart, hopped on the state plane with their sons to attend the USA Pro Cycling challenge in Durango.
After Fox 31 ran a story exposing Hickenlooper for taking his friends on a state-paid jaunt, the governor and Gart quickly reimbursed the state $1,335, a full ten months after the travel.
Meanwhile, Gessler was slapped with an Independent Ethics Commission investigation and investigated by a Grand Jury. He reimbursed the state $1,300 before he was slapped with another $1,300 in penalties by the Ethics Commission for even using his discretionary account to attend the event. The Grand Jury found no wrongdoing.
The ultimate factor is that the left has the full faith and power of Ethics Watch to crush rising GOP officials and bog them down in months-long investigations and bad publicity. It only paid lip service to the governor’s wrongful spending.
It’s the exact same amount and a similar violation. Yet, Gessler received a financial penalty and months of bad press and editorials. The governor will get a day with one bad story.