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Hickenlooper - State Plane Use - Ethics Complaint

Hickenlooper - State Plane Use - Ethics Complaint

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Published by CompleteColorado
Ethics complaint filed against Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper alleging inappropriate use of the state-owned plane.
Ethics complaint filed against Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper alleging inappropriate use of the state-owned plane.

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Published by: CompleteColorado on Jul 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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On or about August 16, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper attended the weekend kick-off for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Durango, Colorado (the “Durango Kick-off”) and used aState-owned King Air Turbo, with the Tail Number N205SP (the “State-owned plane”) totransport himself, his son, and Ken Gart to the Durango Kick-off. On information and belief,Ken Gart is a political supporter of the Governor and not an employee of Colorado.On July 12, 2013 KDVR Fox 31 (“Fox 31”) published the article attached Exhibit A entitled”How much you pay for Colorado’s State Plane” (the “Fox 31 Article”). The Fox 31 Articleclaimed that, while its author was investigating its factual basis, the Governor wrote a check tothe state for $904.00. The Fox 31 Article also claimed that Ken Gart reimbursed the State$431.00 for the trip to the Durango Kick-off. The Fox 31 Article does not specify when thisreimbursement occurred.This conduct may implicate several standards of conduct over which the Independent EthicsCommission (“IEC”) has previously claimed jurisdiction pursuant to Section 5(1) of ArticleXXIX of the Colorado Constitution.First, C.R.S. § 24-18-103(1) requires that a “A public officer . . . shall carry out his duties for the benefit of the people of the State.” Second, Under C.R.S. § 18-8-404, a public servant cannot“with intent to obtain a benefit . . . violate any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulationrelating to his office.” Third, the above conduct may have been a violation of Article XXIX,another statute, another rule, reporting requirement, or standard of conduct. Such may be, butnot necessarily include, one or more of the following rules contained in 1 C.C.R. 101-1:(a)
Rule 2-1.01 (prohibiting use of any public funds for non-State purposes);(b)
Rule 5-3.2.2 (prohibiting travel not for the State’s benefit being charged to the State);(c)
Rule 5-7.3 (terming “Personal expenses incurred during travel that are primarily for the benefit of the Traveler and not directly related to State Business” as a “Non-Allowable Travel Expense”);(d)
Rule 5-7.4 (terming “Political Expenses” as a “Non-Allowable Travel Expense”);and/or (e)
Rule 5-11.7 (requiring an allocation of costs when a trip is partially for State businessand partially for personal or political purposes).In deciding whether to conduct and in ultimately conducting this investigation, the Complainantrespectfully requests that the IEC consider four things. First, that the Governor may have takenhis guests (his son and Mr. Gart) to the Durango Kick-off for a non-state or even a political, purpose. Second that in the Governor and his guests using the State-Owned plane, he and hisguests may have caused the expenditure of state monies. Pursuant to IEC precedent establishedin Colorado Ethics Watch v. Gessler, IEC complaint 12-07, a subsequent reimbursement of improperly received or utilized funds cannot spare a liable public official from an IEC penalty.Fourth, Section 3(a) of Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution allows any person to file withthe IEC a written complaint “ASKING whether a public officer has failed to comply with thisarticle or any other standards of conduct or reporting requirements as provided by law within the preceding twelve months” (emphasis added). I therefore ask the IEC to investigate this matter.

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