Former Gov. John Hickenlooper assessed highest possible penalty by Colorado ethics board

A prominent Colorado Democrat has just been busted.

John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, failed presidential candidate, and current U.S. Senate hopeful, has just been handed the highest possible penalty for a state ethics violation, according to Breitbart. 

Violation found

Hickenlooper has recently been under investigation by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) over some fancy dinners that he attended in 2018, a limousine ride he took, and a trip to Connecticut on a private jet, according to the Colorado Sun.

What’s the big deal? All of these things were paid for by corporations at a time when Hickenlooper held public office, something that is most definitely against the rules.

Colorado passed a rule in 2006 — referred to as Amendment 41 — that was designed to prevent those who hold public office from accepting gifts in hopes of avoiding cases of bribery.

Last week, the IEC ruled, in a unanimous decision, that Hickenlooper had indeed violated Amendment 41, stating, “If we allow this kind of special privately financed treatment for elected officials it just accentuates the cynicism in the public that led to Amendment 41.”

Throughout the course of the proceedings, Hickenlooper ignored IEC subpoenas — and even a judge’s order — which led to him ultimately being held in contempt, as well, according to The Hill. He tried to claim that the trial, which was held remotely due to coronavirus concerns, was unfair and politically motivated.

Penalty issued

The IEC voted to assess against Hickenlooper the highest permissible penalty — namely, a fine of $2,750, according to the Denver Post.

Hickenlooper spokesperson Melissa Miller issued a response, saying: “Governor Hickenlooper accepts the Commission’s findings and takes responsibility.”

This doesn’t entirely put an end to the issue, however. Republicans in Colorado are now arguing that Hickenlooper actually lied under oath while testifying before the IEC last week. For this reason, the Colorado GOP is calling for another investigation to determine whether Hickenlooper committed perjury, as Breitbart notes.

Looking forward

While all of this has been taking place, Hickenlooper has also been conducting a campaign for the U.S. Senate. He is currently challenging incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), just as he pledged to do after announcing his decision to exit the 2020 presidential race back in August, according to USA Today.

Only time will tell whether or how Hickenlooper’s ethics troubles impact his current race.

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