Democrat John Hickenlooper Held in Contempt After Failing to Comply with Subpoena over Ethics Complaint

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

John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor and U.S. Senate candidate, was held in contempt on Thursday by the Independent Ethics Commission after he refused to comply with a subpoena to testify about his potential ethics violation.

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission voted unanimously on Monday to subpoena Hickenlooper about whether he accepted gifts in the form of private flights while he was governor.

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. Hickenlooper has contended that he remains innocent of the charges and that the institute has continued to play politics with the ethics rules.

Bill Leone, one of the Colorado ethics commissioners, torched Hickenlooper for failing to honor the subpoena.

“By failing to honor the subpoena of the commission, (Hickenlooper) has indicated a disrespect for the rule of law, disrespect for the commission, disrespect for the process, disrespect for the parties and the witnesses,” Leone said before he and the other four commissioners voted to hold the former governor in contempt.

The former governor refused to appear before the virtual hearing because he believed that it would violate his due process rights.

Melissa Miller, a spokeswoman for Hickenlooper’s campaign, said in a statement on Thursday, “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.”

Hickenlooper hopes to defeat Andrew Romanoff in the June 30 Democrat primary. If Hickenlooper wins the primary, he hopes to beat Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in November.

The Ethics Commission said that they would discuss possible sanctions against the former governor on Friday morning.

Joanna Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said that Hickenlooper has shown blatant disregard for the law.

“John Hickenlooper’s unending efforts to avoid testifying about his use of corporate-paid private jets and a Maserati limo have been rewarded with his being found in contempt,” said Rodriguez in a statement on Thursday.

“Hickenlooper’s blatant disregard for our legal system and his state’s ethics laws make it impossible for Colorado voters to trust him with elected office again,” Rodriguez added.

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

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