Colorado’s state ethics panel has ruled that Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) violated state ethics laws and breached public trust for his own personal gain. Gessler, best known for his failed voter purge and his crusade against largely nonexistent voter fraud, received a fine for the violations.
The Denver Post reported Thursday that Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission found Gessler had “breached the public trust for private gain” by using public funds to pay for his trip to a Republican National Lawyers Association in Florida. The panel also found he broke state ethics laws by keeping money from his office discretionary account without submitting receipts.
Gessler released a statement attacking the impartiality of the five-member independent ethics panel. “As we said from the start, I’ve had grave concerns about this tribunal’s ability to be fair and objective. Every attempt we made to expose the truth and the facts in the case were met with resistance or rejected outright. Instead of impartial, engaged commissioners, I faced a group of my political adversaries. In fact, two commissioners have donated to my political opponents, and they both unsurprisingly ruled against me.”
As a candidate for his current job, Gessler campaigned on a promise to fight the wildly exaggerated problem of election fraud. As Colorado’s chief elections official, Gessler spearheaded a voter purge targeting thousands of alleged non-citizens on the state’s voter rolls. He was eventually forced to largely abandon this purge, however, after his efforts revealed that non-citizen voting is a virtually non-existent problem and after nearly 90 percent of registered voters he suspected to be non-citizens proved to be citizens.