The Campaign Spot

Culture of Corruption, Part Twenty-Two

A Colorado Democrat pays bonuses to his staff during a state budget crisis and hiring freeze, then goes to work for the Obama administration:

DENVER—Former Colorado state Senate President Peter Groff paid his staff $30,000 in bonuses before he left office, according to records obtained by The Associated Press, despite a statewide hiring freeze and a budget crisis that could mean furloughs for thousands of other workers.

His successor as Senate president, Democrat Brandon Shaffer of Longmont, said he awarded a $5,000 bonus to one of his staffers.

Both defended the bonuses, saying their staffers were paid low wages and worked long hours.

Records obtained by the AP on Monday through the state open-records law show Groff gave eight employees bonuses ranging from $5,500 to his chief of staff, who made $81,900 a year, to $1,500 to a secretary who was paid $54,248 a year.

There’s a bit of a contrast with the state legislature’s Republican leaders: “Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, paid no bonuses this year and returned $10,000 from his office budget to the state Treasury… House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said he didn’t pay bonuses this year. He says the bonuses that were paid send the wrong message to state workers who face furloughs or losing their jobs.”

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