Complaint against Buescher dismissed
Now secretary of state's election rival dealing with complaint of his own
While a complaint against Secretary of State Bernie Buescher has been dismissed, a new one has risen against his opponent.
Late last month, Republican attorney Robert McGuire filed a complaint against Buescher on behalf of Nickellette Bigham-Gullette, a former GOP candidate for Adams County Clerk. In it he said Buescher used his executive assistant in the Secretary of State’s Office to schedule campaign events and misused the state seal.
Though such campaign complaints normally are handled within Buescher’s office, it was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office to determine if it had any merit.
It didn’t, Buescher said.
“This complaint is an extreme example of politics at its worst,” Buescher said in a statement Tuesday. “Voters deserve better than these slash and burn tactics that aren’t even grounded in reality. As the state grapples with economic challenges and reduced spending, these complaints only tie up the judicial system and lead to government waste.”
Meanwhile, a left-leaning group that is working on behalf of several Democratic candidates has said Scott Gessler, Buescher’s Republican opponent in his re-election bid, is involved in his own campaign-finance violations.
Ellen Dumm, executive director of Campaign for a Strong Colorado, said Gessler is the registered agent for the Independent Automobile Dealers Association of Colorado, which owes the state more than $500,000 in fines because it failed to file the proper campaign-finance reports for nearly three years.
Though Gessler is one of the association’s attorneys, he said he has no control over the association’s financial dealings. Dumm, however, said it’s ironic that someone running for the secretary of state would be tied to a group that owes such a hefty fine.
“Gessler failed to meet basic deadlines and (represents) a committee that is more than two years overdue,” she said. “Gessler in the Secretary of State’s office would be like a fox guarding the henhouse.”
Gessler said attorney-client privilege bars him from discussing the issues surrounding the fine, other than to say it is unfairly excessive.
“If you don’t file with the IRS for three years, the IRS is Mother Teresa compared to this fine,” he said. “I’m very frustrated that my client is being dragged through the mud on this thing because I’m a candidate.”
In a lengthy letter to the state, the group’s executive director, Gary Zimmerman, said he only recently learned of the fine and is asking it to be waived.
He said a contractor hired to handle filing duties failed to do its job.