John Hickenlooper Subpoenaed to Testify over Private Flights as Colorado Governor

Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper speaks during a presidential candidates forum sponsored by AARP and The Des Moines Register, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission voted on Monday to subpoena Senate Democrat candidate John Hickenlooper for potential ethics violations about whether he accepted gifts in the form of private flights.

The five-member commission voted all in favor of calling on John Hickenlooper, a former Colorado governor, to testify about private flights he took while in office.

Mark Grueskin, Hickenlooper’s attorney, argued that holding a virtual hearing on the case would violate Hickenlooper’s due process rights. Grueskin said that he would try to stop the subpoena in Denver’s district court.

William Leone, one of the ethics commissioners, said on Monday, that he would have preferred to host an in-person hearing as compared to a virtual one. He said, “If we didn’t have all the problems we have in the world right now, I would prefer an in-person hearing.”

“Who wouldn’t? It is a preferable format. But I don’t have any confidence at this point that the parties will ever be able to agree on a time or a procedure for an in-person hearing,” he added.

The Public Trust Institute filed an ethics complaint against Hickenlooper for violating the Colorado Constitution’s ban on gifts when he allegedly accepted private jet flights from businesses and wealthy friends. He said that he remains innocent of the charges and said that the Public Trust Institute was playing politics with Coloroda’s ethics statutes.

Hickenlooper is running for Senate to unseat Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Hickenlooper hopes to defeat Andrew Romanoff in the June 30 Democrat primary.

Melissa Miller, a spokesman for Hickenlooper’s campaign, called the subpoena “ridiculous.” Miller said that Hickenlooper has agreed to testify in person and contended that the Public Trust Institute that a virtual hearing would violate due process.

The ethics complaint and subsequent review have progressed for 18 months.

“I feel the parties have been engaged in some gamesmanship here with respect to this hearing,” Leone said. “One day, the commission is accused of delaying the hearing; the next day, the same party asks for a continuance in the hearing.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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