Colorado Ethics Commission Votes Unanimously to Hold Hickenlooper in Contempt for Ignoring Subpoena

Former Governor John Hickenlooper speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, August 10, 2019. (Gage Skidmore)

Former Colorado governor and current Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper skipped a remote hearing and ignored a subpoena by the state’s Independent Ethics Commission over his alleged violations of Colorado’s gift ban.

When Hickenlooper did not appear at the virtual hearing — which suffered from technical difficulties — the commission voted unanimously to have the state attorney general’s office enforce the subpoena. After the vote, Ethics Commission chair Elizabeth Espinosa Krupa said that she found Hickenlooper’s actions “a little bit contemptible,” and the commission later voted 5-0 to hold him in contempt for failing to comply with the subpoena. The commission will meet tomorrow to determine further action.

The allegation, filed by the Staiert’s Public Trust Institute in 2018, alleges that Hickenlooper accepted private jet flights and paid travel expenses from wealthy friends and corporations while serving as governor. Federal Election Commission records show that Hickenlooper’s current campaign has taken over $1 million in corporate donations, despite claiming to fight “to get big money out of politics.”

Hickenlooper has denied the allegations and has repeatedly said he will not testify virtually, prompting the Ethics Commission to subpoena him. Despite Hickenlooper’s attempt to block the subpoena by arguing his due-process rights were being violated, a judge ruled against him Wednesday night and ordered him to testify.

“John Hickenlooper has made clear he will testify in person. Today’s debacle of a hearing has made clear that WebEx doesn’t work for a legal proceeding like this,” Melissa Miller, a spokeswoman for Hickenlooper, said in a statement.

Reporters later went to Hickenlooper’s home, only for his wife to say he was not home.


Hickenlooper faces primary opponent Andrew Romanoff on June 30, with the winner set to take on Senate Republican Cory Gardner in November.

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