DENVER (CBS4)– Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper will have to pay more than $2,700 in fines for ethics violations during his tenure as governor of Colorado. The fines bring an end to a two year investigation that started with a complaint filed by a Republican group and ended in the Independent Ethics Commission holding Hickenlooper in contempt for defying a subpoena to testify.
He only showed-up after a Denver District Court judge ordered him to do so.
The commission found Hickenlooper violated the state’s gift ban law by accepting a flight on a corporate jet and attending a luxury conference in Italy, sponsored by the auto maker Fiat.
It fined him $550 for the conference, where he took a Maserati limousine to the airport. It fined him another $2,200 for a flight to Connecticut, on a jet owned by the homebuilding company MD Holdings, for the commissioning of the USS Colorado.
Commissioner Bill Leone – who was appointed by Hickenlooper when he was governor – expressed frustration that the investigation didn’t determine true costs of the gifts, “I really do think this remedy is light. I don’t think the rest of the benefits or gifts received at Bilderberg would have been that difficult to value.”
Hickenlooper’s attorney asked the commission to dismiss the contempt charge. It refused but didn’t fine him in connection with it as it had threatened to do.
His campaign issued a statement saying he accepts the commission’s findings and takes responsibility. He is not expected to appeal.