In a “blink and you’d miss it” moment during yesterday’s oral arguments on an ethics complaint against liberal Governor John Hickenlooper, it was revealed that the Governor’s legal counsel has seen two drafts of the report that will be published by the investigator. So what? Compass Colorado, which filed the complaint, has yet to see a single version. If the IEC is hoping to put on an over-the-top show about how fair this hearing has been, this could be a stumbling block.
We asked Compass Colorado legal counsel Geoff Blue whether a “real” courtroom (no offense IEC) has a different standard for information sharing. He noted the most similar scenario is covered by Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 53, which allows the appointment of a Master to help the court make specific findings on an issue. A subsection of that rule maintains that the information must be shared with both parties. Here’s what Blue had to say:
“If [both parties’ receipt of information] did not occur, a party could petition the court for help, and the court would most likely require the party who did not receive the report to have an opportunity to review and comment on it. …I would be surprised if it ever happens that a master shows it to one person and not the other.”
So, why was the report given to Hick’s staff and not the complainants? Are the contents so bad that the investigator felt like it had to share early so that Hick could prepare for the worst?
While the media has covered some of the procedural milestones in this ethics complaint, it doesn’t seem that anyone has taken a step back to see the larger picture. Colorado has a governor who used his state resources to fundraise for the organization, the Democratic Governors Association, that will very likely play big in his re-election race come November.
Remember Dan Maes? We have the DGA to thank. The organization blasted $150,000 against Maes’ primary opponent Scott McInnis in 2010 for the primary purpose of advancing the weaker candidate. We suspect the organization is interested in the same this go-around.