The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission found Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper guilty of “accepting free luxury travel from business interests while he was governor,” The Denver Post reported.
Hickenlooper’s scandal came up in a Democratic primary debate last week. Responding to calls to drop out of the race, the former governor and presidential candidate refused to take responsibility for his actions and instead pointed the finger at Republicans.
“These allegations were waged by a dark-money Republican group and they’re going to lay attacks and millions of dollars of smear ads against whoever the Democratic candidate is,” he said, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
Hickenlooper is vying to unseat first-term Republican Senator Cory Gardner in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country. Because Hillary Clinton carried the Centennial State by a margin of nearly 5 percentage points in 2016, Colorado is seen as the Democrats’ best opportunity for a Senate pickup this fall.
Gardner is one of two Senate Republicans running for re-election this year in states carried by Clinton. The other is Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. The political website Roll Call ranked Gardner as the second-most-vulnerable senator facing re-election this year, behind Democrat Doug Jones of deep-red Alabama.
A poll conducted in early May by the Democratic firm Keating Research showed Hickenlooper leading Gardner by a staggering 18 percentage points, with Hickenlooper receiving 54 percent support to Gardner’s 36 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
Hickenlooper can blame Republicans all he wants for his misdeeds, but the GOP had nothing to do with the fact that the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission voted unanimously to hold him in contempt after the former governor defied a subpoena to appear at a virtual hearing.
The commission’s vice chairman, William Leone, was appointed to his post by Hickenlooper, yet he still voted to hold the Democrat in contempt.
Hickenlooper’s failure to take responsibility for his wrongdoing is astonishing. Yet the establishment media ignored the Democrats’ remarks. NBC News thinks it is far more important for GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to take responsibility for the fact that his great-great-grandfather owned slaves.
It would be nice if the media would work harder to hold politicians accountable for their own actions, but don’t bet on it. As long as Hickenlooper keeps a “D” next to his name, the establishment media will let him get away with anything.
During the campaign ad in which he announced his Senate bid, Hickenlooper conceded that he once expressed reluctance to go to Washington, describing it as a “lousy place for a guy like me who knows how to get things done.”
I’ve always said Washington is a lousy place for a guy like me who knows how to get things done. But this is no time to walk away. Changing DC is hard, but I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado. I’m running for U.S. Senate. Join us: https://t.co/v7THnZZ9aB #COSen pic.twitter.com/iiQXOUrRhJ
— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) August 22, 2019
However, considering his shady practices as governor, Hickenlooper would fit right into the swamp if he gets elected to the Senate.
But first, he has to get through the Democratic primary. The former governor is facing the more progressive former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. The primary election will take place on June 30.
In light of Hickenlooper’s troubles with the Ethics Commission, Romanoff urged his opponent to drop out of the race:
— Andrew Romanoff (@Romanoff2020) June 10, 2020
It still remains to be seen whether Hickenlooper’s ethics violations will harm his chances in the primary or the general election. If they do, we know who he’ll blame.
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