FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- Secretary of State Scott Gessler attended a fundraiser in Fort Collins Thursday evening. The fundraiser is raising money to pay for a fine that Gessler levied against the Larimer County Republican Party.
The fundraiser took place at a private home. It was originally scheduled at a park, but media attention about the fundraiser pushed organizers to scale it back. Gessler was set to appear in a dunk tank to raise money.
Gessler spoke to CBS4′s Mike Hooker about his position on attending the fundraiser and why he doesn’t see it as a conflict of interest. Watch his entire interview below.
The fundraiser has a suggested donation of $20 per person. The money raised will go to pay off the nearly $16,000 in fines against the Larimer County Republican Party. They were fined for failing to file campaign finance reports last year.
Gessler reduced the fines from nearly $50,000.
Larimer County Democrats have a big problem with Gessler appearing at the fundraiser. They say Gessler’s appearance makes a mockery of the fines.
“For the fact that this Colorado elected official would levy a fine, reduce a fine and then help pay it off. It brings questions to everybody’s mind,” said Larimer County Democratic Party spokesman William Russell. “Is this a conflict of interest?”
The head of the local Republican Party said they deserved the fine, but are fundraising successfully and regaining trust.
“I think it’s manufactured by the media because if you look at the history of secretaries of state, they have typically done fundraisers on behalf of their parties, on behalf of their candidates. Leveling fines against those same candidates, those same county parties, state parties,” said Larimer County Republican Party spokesman Tom Lucero. “It all becomes semantics. If we would have waited another month to hold the fundraiser and just said fundraiser Scott Gessler Larimer County Republican Party, no. I think it’s a complete cheap shot.”