Disclosure rule violated with King’s CMU job
Sen. Steve King never disclosed to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office his employment with Colorado Mesa University, nor did he tell the university he also had a job with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, according to documents obtained by The Daily Sentinel.
While the university can’t take any disciplinary action against King because the Grand Junction Republican no longer works there, not disclosing his employment with the state could result in criminal prosecution.
King could face misdemeanor charges under bribery and corrupt influences laws in the state’s criminal code, punishable by fines of up to $5,000 each, according Andrew Cole, spokesman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
But Cole said it would be up to state prosecutors to file those charges.
“I don’t know criminal law, but I don’t believe a DA needs a complaint to open an investigation,” Cole said, adding that he was unsure if the district attorneys in Denver or Mesa counties would have the authority to do so.
Currently, King is under investigation by District Attorney George Brauchler in the 18th Judicial District for possible falsifying of timecards, expense reports and campaign finance issues. That district attorney has the case because neither Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger nor the Colorado Bureau of Investigations could take it because of possible conflicts of interest.
King worked as a CMU campus security officer from August to December 2012 and again from June to December last year.
As a result, he was required to disclose that employment on his 2013 and 2014 personal financial disclosure statements that all elected officials must file, and update annually, with the state.
About an hour before King announced his decision to drop out of the race, he told the Daily Sentinel the jobs didn’t have to be reported because they were part-time gigs.
Actually, they were classified by the university as full-time temporary positions.
“Officeholders must file ‘the names of any source or sources of income, including capital gains, whether or not taxable, of the person making disclosure, his spouse and minor children residing with him,” Cole said, quoting state law. “Any person who willfully files a false or incomplete disclosure statement ... is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000.”
While King never told the state about his CMU employment, he also never told the university he also was working at the sheriff’s office, according to the university in response to a Colorado Open Records Act request.
“Per the Colorado Mesa University Professional Employee Handbook, employees have an affirmative duty to report outside employment and must receive prior approval for such,” Amy Grimes, staff assistant with the university’s human resources office, told the Daily Sentinel. “The university has no records — emails, letters or notes — or evidence in Mr. King’s personnel file that such a written request or notification was ever made.”
CMU’s employee manual says that while the university does not prohibit outside employment, it wants to be sure the school’s needs take priority over any outside work.
“Failure to do so may result in discipline or termination,” the manual says.
University officials have said they have been asked by prosecutors not to comment about King while he’s under investigation.
The resumé the college has on file for King, which he gave CMU in 2012 when he applied for the first job, shows that he stopped working at the sheriff’s office in 2007, when he took office in the Colorado House.
In 2009, however, King lists the sheriff’s office as one of his employers on his personal disclosure statement with the state.
Under rules of the Colorado Senate, senators are allowed to vote on issues pertaining to their professions, as long as they don’t pose a direct conflict. If so, senators are required to abstain from voting on such subjects.
It doesn’t appear that King had any such conflicts during the 2013 or 2014 legislative sessions.
In 2011 and in 2012, before he worked for CMU, King was the Senate sponsor of two bills that dealt directly with the university.
One, which he carried with then Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, was a controversial measure that would have done away with classified employees at the university. That bill cleared the House, which then was controlled by the Republicans, but died when it reached the Democratic-controlled Senate.
In 2012, King sponsored a bill for CMU that altered its admissions standards and increased from nine to 11 the number of members of its board of trustees.
That measure cleared the Legislature unanimously and was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper in May 2012, three months before King started his job at the university.