Hickenlooper Was Held In Contempt For Refusing To Comply With A Subpoena For Testimony On Ethics Complaints Against Him.
On June 2, 2020, The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission Issued A Subpoena For Hickenlooper’s Testimony On Ethics Complaints Against Him. “The Colorado Ethics Commission on Monday voted unanimously to subpoena former Gov. John Hickenlooper, setting up a possible court clash over whether the Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful will have to testify remotely in a long-delayed hearing on a complaint Republicans filed against him. A group led by the former Republican speaker of the Colorado House last year alleged Hickenlooper violated the state’s ethics law by taking free flights on private jets as governor. Hickenlooper denied the accusations, and a hearing had been scheduled for late March but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.” (“Colorado Ethics Commission Subpoenas John Hickenlooper,” CBS 4 Denver, 6/2/20)
On June 4, 2020, The Commission Voted Unanimously To Hold Hickenlooper In Contempt After He Failed To Appear For A Virtual Hearing. “Former Democratic governor and current U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was held in contempt Thursday by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission after refusing to comply with a subpoena and testify about his alleged violations of a state gift ban. ‘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,’ said Commissioner Bill Leone before he and other commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to hold Hickenlooper in contempt… Hickenlooper refused to appear because he believes a virtual hearing, conducted over the video conferencing platform WebEx, would violate his due process rights.” (Justin Wingerter, “John Hickenlooper held in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoena in ethics case,” The Denver Post, 6/4/20)
Hickenlooper Eventually Testified, But Claimed He Could Not Remember Key Details Surrounding The Ethics Complaints Against Him.
Hickenlooper Eventually Appeared Before The Ethics Commission After Refusing To Honor A Subpoena For His Testimony. “The former governor, who served two terms in office and is now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate primary on June 30, was questioned by his attorney and by Suzanne Staiert, executive director of the Public Trust Institute that filed the complaints in 2018. His appearance follows a dramatic, unprecedented Thursday where the commission found Hickenlooper in contempt for his refusal to appear for the remote hearing. The commission had issued a subpoena Monday to compel his appearance at the hearing’s first day, on Thursday. Hickenlooper did not show up, and the commission sought and obtained a court order on Thursday to enforce the subpoena.” (Marianne Goodland, “Former Gov. John Hickenlooper violated Amendment 41, says Independent Ethics Commission,” Colorado Politics, 6/5/20)
Hickenlooper Claimed He Could Not Remember How Many Private Jets He Takes Per Year. “He showed up for the second day and fielded a lot of questions about travel on corporate jets. ‘How many private jets do you take one-year period?’ asked complainants’ attorney Suzanne Staiert. ‘I don’t know. I don’t remember,’ replied Hickenlooper.” (Shaun Boyd, “Independent Ethics Commission Finds Former Gov. John Hickenlooper Violated Colorado’s Constitutional Gift Ban- Twice,” CBS 4 Denver, 6/5/20)
Hickenlooper Claimed He Was Unsure Whether He Had Reimbursed A Friend For A Private Jet Trip. “On at least one occasion Friday, Hickenlooper seemed unsure of what he had previously told the commission. When asked if he had reimbursed restaurateur Kimbal Musk for a flight on a private jet after Musk’s April 2018 wedding, which Hickenlooper officiated, the former governor said he was unsure. Both Musk and Hickenlooper told an ethics investigator last year that Hickenlooper wrote a $1,000 check that was never cashed.” (Justin Wingerter, “John Hickenlooper violated ethics laws twice in 2018, commission finds,” The Denver Post, 6/5/20)
The Colorado Sun Stated Hickenlooper “Didn’t Recall Most Of The Details” Regarding Travel Referenced In The Ethics Complaint. “Hickenlooper snubbed the first day of the video-conference hearing but testified Friday after a Denver District Court judge moved to enforce the subpoena at the request of the Colorado Attorney General’s office, which represents the ethics commission. He appeared in a shirt and tie from his Denver home and answered questions in a sober tone as an attorney for the conserative nonprofit behind the complaint peppered him with questions about his travel in 2018, his final year in office. He didn’t recall most of the details regarding the trips at the center of the complaint but portrayed each as part of his mission to bring economic development to Colorado.” (John Frank, “John Hickenlooper violated Colorado’s gift ban, state ethics commission rules,” The Colorado Sun, 6/5/20)