Gessler’s travel expenses under investigation

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission plans to investigate whether Secretary of State Scott Gessler misappropriated state funds when he asked for and accepted reimbursement for travel to a Republican election law training event and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August.

The commission determined Monday that the complaint filed by the left-leaning Colorado Ethics Watch was “not frivolous” and should go forward.

“We are pleased that this state’s Ethics Commission will investigate this important public corruption case,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “Public funds are not for personal or political use. We expect the Ethics Commission to conduct a thorough investigation and make it clear that abuse of public funds will not be tolerated in Colorado.”

The evidence, obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request, revealed a $117.99 reimbursement for the events.

Gessler’s office has defended the expense, saying it was a legitimate reimbursement.

“We welcome a thorough review,” said Gessler spokesman Richard Coolidge.

The ethics group said it also found evidence Gessler had received about $1,400 in travel reimbursements attending another political event in 2011, but that was beyond the one-year statute of limitations for the ethics commission to consider.


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