Election Chief Moonlighting At Election Lawfirm

DENVER (CBS4) – He’s already got a full-time job as Colorado’s secretary of state and now Scott Gessler says he still needs to work at his old election law firm. Critics say Gessler’s plan to moonlight raises serious conflicts of interest.

The Republican Gessler was sworn in last week as Colorado’s secretary of state. Before that he was a partner in a prominent law firm specializing in election law. Now Gessler says he plans to start doing contract work for the firm.

He says it’s about money. He’s got a family to support and he says the secretary of state doesn’t pay enough. In fact, Colorado’s is the third lowest paying in the country.

Gessler insists he’s not breaking new ground — legislators at the Capitol work in the private sector after all. But critics say they’ve never heard of the state’s election chief working on the side for an election law firm.

“The truth is it’s an economic necessity,” Gessler said.

Gessler says his state salary — $68,500 — is nearly half what he made as an attorney.

“I anticipate they would be property dispute case, for example, or contract dispute case,” he said.

Gessler says it’s no different than a state lawmaker who works in the private sector. Luis Toro with Colorado Ethics Watch — a left-leaning organization — disagrees.

Scott Gessler, the  chief regulator for elections, is going to be working for an election law firm. That’s pretty different from any of those other situations,” Toro said.

Gessler says Colorado Ethics Watch is singling him out because he’s litigated cases against them.

“I think a lot on their part they’re doing it for political gain and personal animosity,” Gessler said.

“That’s a distraction and I think a lot of people are concerned about this,” Toro said.

Toro stopped short of saying they would file a formal complaint. Gessler says he’s comfortable and he’s ethically and legally on solid ground.

“I’m being absolutely transparent,” he said.

He insists he told people who asked during his campain.

Gessler says he will consult with the attorney general on every case and says his side job will only take about 20 hours a month — work he’ll only do on weekends.

  • Pcby04

    OMG really? So why would you wanna take a pay cut of half your salary? Maybe he should realize what most Coloradians are doing and fight that. Perfect example of a politician looking out for himself. He’s in office for a personal gain, not for a persons gain. The average person that has a good head on their shoulders wouldn’t take that kind of pay decrease but stick it out to provide. I read nothing but lies about this character….we’re doomed!

  • David

    Gessler would not be the only one with an ethics problem. Any firm he did worked for would not be able to represent for or against the state or any citizen of the state in any issue involving election law including probably being involved in any “friend of the court” brief. What he wants is kind of like having a Secretary of Commerce who still has his job as CEO of GE or a Secretary of Defense who consults for Boeing. Just suggesting this calls Gessler’s judgement.

  • S

    gheez…I don’t remember this during his campain…. I want the job and all of it’s perks…. but I still want to make my fortunes (in the same field as his job)…. will he have to answer to himself???? Maybe the assistant in the department can cover for him for the next four years…
    This whole situation feels slimy….He could save everyone alot of trouble (his family too).. just quit…don’t lower the taxpayer and voters expectations with your end-around-ploy…. it stinks…

  • S

    Campaign… I’m just fixing my typo….even tho… it’s used in the article….lol

    Gessler says he will consult with the attorney general on every case and says his side job will only take about 20 hours a month — work he’ll only do on weekends.

    Boy the AG gonna be a busy dude…this slick politician is going to try and bypass common sense and honor….this guy is for “Transparency”…is he going to clock in and out??? Is the AG his “Boss”? What about accountability ?

  • s

    He says it’s about money. He’s got a family to support and he says the secretary of state doesn’t pay enough. In fact, Colorado’s is the third lowest paying in the country. ( and he begged for the job)

    just looking him up on the web….

    it sounds slanted but who knows???

  • jim sage

    he should resign immediately, what we just elected a new bunch of shysters?

  • Todd

    It is pretty simple Mr. Gessler, if you cannot afford to be in politics, then stay out of politics. Poor baby, $68000 is not enough for you, but plenty for a majority of Americans. Your a SAP. Yet, once again you prove politicians are arrogant pricks in it for themselves. What next Gov. or senator, so you can figure out how to further line your pockets? You should make yourself sick

  • Fern

    Can’t support his Family on 68,000 what does he think that most Coloradans are doing ?
    More likely the lifestyle he is accustomed too!!



  • DenverVet

    He should step down gracefully if he can’t afford to stay in the position, easy as that. He should have had some forethought and not taken the position. Sounds like we have another person who has an ego in office and is there for only his personal gain. Go away Mr. Gessler, the state is not in good shape and you are helping to make it worse, you jerk! Get out of office and let some dedicated person do it who would be happy to get the 68,500!

  • jim

    We Can’t ALLOW this. He should quit. I voted for this jerk, he should not have run if he could not afford the job. Did he check how much it Paid!! Any way to recall him?

  • Marc

    Most people don’t accept a job without knowing how much the salary is, let alone run for office without knowing how much it pays. It sounds like he didn’t check the salary before running! And if $68,500 isn’t enough to live on, not counting all the other benes., then he needs a lifestyle change. Most Coloradans would be thrilled to have a $68,500 salary right now. Does his spouse work? If so, chances are their household income is still in the $100,000+ range, which should be sufficient, at least for the next 4 years while he’s in office. I voted for him, but I would have seriously reconsidered had this been brought to light prior to the election. I say, Whaaa! Make sacrifices like everyone else. Downsize! Do something. But suck it up and do the job the Colorado people called you to do or resign and let someone else do it.

  • Resident

    Check Excel records for 4640 E. Asbury Cir. 80222. A property owned by Gessler and ran by his Mother. There is a disconnect notice for service and Excel is asking residents to pay his bill or be disconnected. Check it out.

  • M. Douglas Wray

    Well, this article: http://www.freerangelongmont.com/2010/06/04/gessler-blowing/ makes it pretty clear he has trouble with money. Just the guy to put in charge of the money… and on the first day in office he pulls this second-job nonsense? Not good.

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