Tag Archive for Colorado Secretary of State

Scott Gessler agrees with Kaye Fissinger

Scott GesslerScott Gessler agrees with Kaye Fissinger.  Bet that got your attention.  He didn’t do it on purpose, of course.  It simply served his partisan objective, at least this time.

What in the world could I be talking about, you ask.

As might be recalled, not long ago I pressed the point that non-partisan elections simply mean that political parties and their registered voters do not determine candidates in a primary for a general election against candidates from competing political parties. I stressed that it does not mean that candidates have no political affiliation or that they don’t bring ideological affinities to a non-partisan office.

Some sought to take issue what that description, insisting that they and their favored candidates were pure as the driven snow.  (And we know how long snow remains pure after it has been driven.)  And that they (in our case, city council/mayor candidates) are blank political slates on which each issue begins to write anew.

Along comes Scott Gessler, Colorado Secretary of State, to say, “Uh, no.  That’s not the way it works.”

Douglas County has a hot school board race.  Hot because it is sharply divided between pro-voucher candidates and anti-voucher candidates.  It’s a fight to see who will control the school board going forward.  Douglas County School District is being sued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union over its voucher plan that would provide substantial school tuition assistance for students to attend religious schools and/or to attend schools outside the normal district boundaries.  The Douglas Country voucher program is currently under court injunction preventing the program from going forward.

School board challenger Susan Meek filed a complaint with Gessler’s office claiming her opponent Craig Richardson along with Justin Green Williams and Kevin Larsen, are running as a Republican Party slate.  She contends that this is a legal violation because the races are non-partisan.  Meek used as evidence fliers that proclaim her opponents as the Douglas County Republican Party’s choices for the school board.

After scratching their collective head for awhile, Gessler’s office found that the statute calling for nonpartisan school board elections applies to how candidates file for office, not how the campaign for it.  A candidate cannot file for the school board as a Republican or Democrat, but he or she can run as one.

Scott Gessler is a Republican who ran for the office of Secretary of State in a partisan election.  The three pro-voucher candidates are incumbents who have the largest campaign war chests funded by longtime school-reform and Republican activists.  Meek and three challengers oppose vouchers.  The pro-voucher candidates are predictably using smoke and mirrors to camouflage their pro-voucher stands, preferring instead to use the standard Republican whipping boy – unions.  (Big bad bogeymen.  Can’t have that.)

So the upshot of this is that Fissinger (that’s me) was right and the Republican Golden Boy Scott Gessler says so.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Gessler exceeds his authority

From Ethics Watch:

Jun 10, 2011

Common Cause and Ethics Watch File Complaint Against Secretary of State Gessler

Scott Gessler, Republican candidate for Colorado Secretary of State

Scott Gessler (R) Colorado Secretary of State - shows questionable ethics - again.

Late yesterday, Colorado Common Cause and Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint in Denver District Court against Secretary of State Scott Gessler that claims Gessler unlawfully weakened Colorado campaign finance laws through the Secretary of State’s rulemaking process. The Secretary of State does not have authority to change state law, and therefore Common Cause and Ethics Watch have asked the court to invalidate the Secretary of State’s rule.

 

After receiving comments in opposition to the new Campaign and Political Finance Rule 4.27, which “increases the contribution and expenditure threshold that triggers the requirement for an issue committee to register and file disclosure reports,” Secretary Gessler issued a notice of adoption of the rule on May 13.  The rule raises the threshold from $200, as defined in the Colorado Constitution, to $5000.  In addition, the rule eliminates the requirement to disclose any information about the first $5,000 of contributions and expenditures by an issue committee. The Court of Appeals has already held that the Secretary of State has no authority to promulgate rules that add, modify or conflict with constitutional provisions.

Read the rest at Ethics Watch including the complaint.


If it’s not agonizingly obvious to people by now that our SOS is a GOP SOB and intends to leave our elections AFU and the Dems SOL then you’re not paying attention.

At the Longmont City Council meeting on May 3, 2011, Mayor Baum and Council Members, Santos, Sammoury and Witt aligned themselves with Scott Gessler to set the reporting threshold for Longmont ballot issues at $5,000 – which is ridiculous.

The GOP in Colorado intends to win all of the next several elections, regardless of the cost – and why not, they have the Western Traditions Partners standing by to shovel money into any campaign they designate. They’ll be cranking out nasty mailers, godawful radio spots and very likely television ads all with the intent of taking every single elected seat they can – and then the real fun will start.

The recent vote on Longmont’s Affordable Housing program was an obvious shot-across-the-bow and is no doubt the first of many such attacks on programs to support the least of us. The far right extremists in Longmont have made their unchristian disdain for the people at the bottom of the economic scale very clear. With Gessler’s help they’ll make certain that their revenge goes as deep and as wide as possible.

Republicans seek to conceal campaign donors

Scott GesslerAt the Longmont City Council meeting on May 3, 2011, Mayor Baum and Council Members, Santos, Sammoury and Witt aligned themselves with Scott Gessler to set the reporting threshold for Longmont ballot issues at $5,000, an amount far too low for a municipality and not mandated by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court ruling in Sampson v Buescher.

The success of representative democracy rests on the faith that elections are honest, fair and transparent. The office of Secretary of State should NEVER be politicized regardless of the political affiliation of the person holding that office. The Secretary of State is closely and directly involved in elections. He monitors campaign reporting and certifies election results.

Scott Gessler is Colorado’s Secretary of State. Mr. Gessler’s specialty is election law. He is in this specialty solely for the purpose of facilitating Republican partisan objectives. One way or another, Gessler uses his specialty to accomplish partisan goals. It is why he sued Longmont along with Western Tradition Partnership and certain Longmont Republicans who provided legal standing for that suit. It is why Scott Gessler ran for the office of Secretary of State. From this position he can do all manner of damage to the election process. And mark my words, if you are following his actions and proposed legislation, he is trying as hard as he can. For those who want to know much more about Gessler, they can find the information by searching at the website Free Range Longmont.com

Today Scott Gessler held a rule-making hearing on the subject of reporting thresholds for ballot issue committees. It is extremely suspect whether he even has the authority to do this. Law is made by legislatures and signed by governors. Secretaries of State are simply and only charged with carrying out law. Certainly they are free to offer opinions. But that is as far as they can go. They are not a legislature of ONE.

Gessler’s close associate Matt Arnold of Clear the Bench spoke at length today during the so-called rule-making hearing. His position was that NO reporting for ballot issues should be required; but if there is reporting ,a $10,000 threshold should be as low as it goes. Gessler offered an inadequate and insufficient disclaimer. Gessler was the attorney for Clear the Bench. The purpose of Clear the Bench was to remove Colorado Supreme Court justices from office because of rulings the Republican Party didn’t like.

Whatever dollar amount is determined for Colorado, let it be clear that the frame of reference under discussion at the hearing is for statewide ballot issues. Municipalities are, with rare exception in Colorado, much smaller. Contributors are usually fewer and amounts contributed smaller. USUALLY. The blatant exception was the Comcast/Communications Association’s $250,000 contribution to prevent Longmont from fully using its fiber optic network.

The Sampson ruling affirmed the need for voters to know who contributes to what, but did not draw a bright line – intentionally. Longmont should establish a line for LOCAL issues. That line should be somewhere between $1000 and $1500.

Revised address to Longmont City Council — May 3, 2011

Tell Scott Gessler: Serve Colorado or resign!

Scott Gessler

Scott Gessler - does he need a new day job?

Before his election last November as Secretary of State, Scott Gessler was a partner in one of Colorado’s most politically connected law firms. He represented some of the state’s most controversial right wing political groups and candidates. Some of Gessler’s clients have been disgraced by campaign finance disclosure complaints, allegations of unlawful false statements against their opponents, and other alleged election law violations.

Despite Gessler’s record, he promised on the campaign trail last year that he would set aside his past associations, and serve the state of Colorado without the conflicts of interest that would seem obvious given his history. But today, The Denver Post reports that Gessler wants to remain employed part time by his old law firm while he serves as Secretary of State.

Colorado’s Secretary of State, the state’s chief elections official, moonlighting at a law firm that specializes in elections? This is completely unacceptable. Sign our petition now, demanding that Gessler immediately abandon this absurd plan. And if he can’t, Gessler should immediately resign his position as Secretary of State.

Take action here.