Colo.‘s elections chief taking side job

DENVER — Colorado’s newly elected secretary of state says the job doesn’t pay enough and he’ll take a side job with a law firm known for elections work.

Republican Scott Gessler has announced plans to work part-time for Hackstaff Law Group, a Denver firm prominent in the field of Colorado elections law. Gessler worked at the firm before being elected last year to a post in which he oversees elections.

Gessler’s spokesman, Rich Coolidge, said Gessler will work about 20 hours a month on property disputes, not election matters that may come before his public office.

Coolidge said Gessler doesn’t earn enough on the secretary’s $68,500 annual salary to cover expenses, though Coolidge didn’t say how much Gessler anticipates earning from the firm.

“He’s got a young family, and he just took a pay cut to take this job. It’s real life,” Coolidge said.

But Gessler’s side job, first reported today by the Denver Business Journal, prompted howls of protest from left-leaning interest groups that say the public can’t trust that Gessler won’t improperly share his expertise in elections law with a private employer.

“He’s running Colorado’s elections and has to be above reproach. Trust is a big piece of his relationship with the public. This is not a good start for him,” Ben Hanna of the Colorado Progressive Coalition said in a statement after the Business Journal reported Gessler’s new job.


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