VetTheGov finally received former Senator Steve King's time cards from Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) after several request last year. Now that former Senator King has plead guilty to felony embezzlement and misdemeanor misconduct, VetTheGov performed an audit of 2013 MCSO time sheets submitted and compared them to the Colorado Mesa University time sheets submitted. See the 2013 audited time sheets here.
MCSO Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess signed off on Four of Six 2013 Senator King time sheets. These time sheets placed Senator King at both MCSO and CMU at the same exact times and in many of the overlaps were at least Five hours each of these days. The grand total of 196.5 hours at $25.00 per hour rate or $4912.50 were allowed directly by the Undersheriff or by her command staff. How does a command staff lose track of a Senator leaving for over Five hours or simply not know that King was hanging out at CMU? One has to wonder at the complete and utter incompetence from behind the MCSO thin green line command staff. Yet under newly elected Fourth Amendment violator Sheriff Matt Lewis, Rebecca Spiess is still the MCSO Undersheriff!
VetTheGov believes the Undersheriff and then Sheriff Stan Hilkey allowed the embezzlement to occur because as the Senator mentioned to the Arapahoe County District Attorney investigator during the interview the Senator has always been allowed to embezzle the taxpayers over the years! Surely many insiders at MCSO knew this very well. VetTheGov wonders what really happened in May of 2014 that caused the Sheriff and Undersheriff to turn on the Senator and his time card madness? Many questions will forever persist from this event along with the timing and release of the internal affairs investigation performed by Undersheriff Spiess which has never been investigated. It also leaves open the question as to how many hours since 2007 were signed off as valid worked on duty hours with a missing in action elected representative? Mesa County citizens can't have access to what should be the most transparent agency in the county because discretion reigns with the Sheriff and Undersheriff.
The same amount of hours 196.5 were also embezzled from CMU by super cop Senator King, who often could be in two places at the same exact times, for a grand theft total of $4170.00 additional taxpayer dollars. However Steve King only plead to an amount noted in the Grand Junction Sentinel of $4862.00. Based on the VetTheGov audit the total theft in the 2013-2014 time card scandal was actually $9082.50. Who at CMU is responsible for allowing this criminal activity to persist? Don't snoop to close as many have a very clear idea of the inner circle connections in this valley that manipulate the masses for personal gain.
VetTheGov also audited Senator King's legislative calendar for conflicts that include lunch breaks or meetings during on duty MCSO or CMU billed hours. See the 2013 legislative audited calendar here. Calendar time sheet shows 29 conflicted hours billed for another $657.50 of your tax dollars!
This is why Mesa County citizens have lost complete confidence in our local government officials for incidents such as these but for whatever reasons they continue forth in their day to day's with ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY!!! VetTheGov in the very near future will push forth the placing of a Citizens Review Board as it is way overdue in Mesa Valley governments. Thanks for reading and enjoying VetTheGov and stay tuned as more corruption coming to light in the very near future!
Entries in Sheriff Stan Hilkey (3)
VetTheGov finally received former Senator Steve King's time cards from Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) after several request last year. Now that former Senator King has plead guilty to felony embezzlement and misdemeanor misconduct, VetTheGov performed an audit of 2013 MCSO time sheets submitted and compared them to the Colorado Mesa University time sheets submitted. See the 2013 audited time sheets here.
On November 12, 2014, VetTheGov filed a Civil action 14CV630 against Denver DA Joseph Morales under C.R.S. 16-5-209 requesting DA Morales to explain to a District Court Judge why he has refused to file charges against Senator Steve King's multiple ethics violations committed in Denver County.
VetTheGov provided a very thorough analysis and provided detailed evidence regarding the ethics concerns by Senator Steve King. VetTheGov initially sent a Complaint to the Denver DA's office on September 5th, 2014 and received a letter back from Chief Deputy DA Morales on September 11, 2014 requesting additional information.
VetTheGov responded back to DA Morales on September 21, 2014:
Conflict of Interest:
First point I would make here is that Senator King's contract at CMU ended December 31, 2013 and therefore the the 18 months for Statute of Limitations would extend from that point up until middle of year 2015.
Further 2013 Legislation show the following Yes votes that favored higher education in which once again no recusal from Senator King regarding the conflict of interest vote. The Legislative Audit committee Senator King was appointed to in sessions 2013 and 2014 placed him in a position of regulatory authority over CMU violating CRS 24.18.108 which states below the proof needed for Breach.
(1) Proof beyond a reasonable doubt of commission of any act enumerated in this section is proof that the actor has breached his fiduciary duty.
(2) A public officer or a state employee shall not:
(a) Engage in a substantial financial transaction for his private business purposes with a person whom he inspects, regulates, or supervises in the course of his official duties;
(b) Assist any person for a fee or other compensation in obtaining any contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from his agency;
(c) Assist any person for a contingent fee in obtaining any contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from any state agency; or
(d) Perform an official act directly and substantially affecting to its economic benefit a business or other undertaking in which he either has a substantial financial interest or is engaged as counsel, consultant, representative, or agent.
(3) A head of a principal department or a member of a quasi-judicial or rule-making agency may perform an official act notwithstanding paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of this section if his participation is necessary to the administration of a statute and if he complies with the voluntary disclosure procedures under section 24-18-110.
The bills are as follows: SB13-199 which directly impacted CMU's ability to borrow more under the States umbrella. I have already supplied the 2013 additional Bond debt CMU established after this vote. From the Fiscal impact notes on the bill State Expenditures:Pursuant to the new credit and coverage test, one institution of higher education, Colorado Mesa University (CMU), will be newly eligible to borrow under the intercept program. CMU has indicated that upon passage of Senate Bill 13-199, it will refinance existing debt to realize up to $600,000 in cost savings. Other institutions of higher education indicate that the new credit and coverage test may decrease the cost of future planned debt.
SB13-033 again allows higher education facilities increased revenue in which CMU is one of these. From the fiscal impact notes:
Increase in higher education tuition revenue. This bill will increase revenue from tuition by about $2.0 million in FY 2013-14 and by about $3.0 million in FY 2014-15. Revenue from tuition is collected and spent by the governing bodies of the state institutions, and is not appropriated by the General Assembly in the Long Bill. Due to enterprise status, this revenue is not counted against state revenue limitations in the Colorado Constitution.
Since the statute of limitations extend into 2015 all 2014 bills Senator King voted on or sponsored would still fall under the conflict of interest violations regarding CMU contract. They are as follows:
HB14-1249 Senator King voted Yes in which CMU received $21,264,974.00 in capital improvement funding.
HB14-1336 Senator King voted Yes to all appropriations that would fund Colorado higher education including all monies to CMU.
Finally Senator King directly benefited personally by voting on state funding opportunities for CMU by being paid from these funds but the statute clearly states all that is needed is he benefited and CMU benefited with substantial financial gain. The beyond reasonable doubt can be attributed to the fact that Senator King decided to hide this income on his required annual disclosures because it couldn't pass the Smell Test mentioned in attached Conflict of Interest opinion by the Colorado Independent Ethics Committee 11-11 regarding appearance of Impropriety. Senator King not only failed to disclose on his annual required disclosure but failed to disclose in all his committee assignments and on actual legislative voting. If Senator King would have sent a letter or email to the Independent Ethics Commission asking for clarification on his additional state and local contracts then he might possibly have a defense. However Senator King never requested such a response and again never disclosed. If this type of behavior is allowed with no charges filed then it opens the door to much more unethical behavior now and in the future and quite simply any other elected or state employee could use their positions for personal gain by contracting without disclosure with any other state or local government agencies with zero accountability.
CMU & MCSO Contracts:
Senator King as mentioned under conflict of interest paragraph above notes that he was also on the Judicial Committee that directly voted on legislative efforts kind towards the judicial and law enforcement communities which places Senator King once again in a position of regulatory position over the judicial agencies such as the DA's office in which Mesa County DA Pete Hautzinger attended with the Senator.
One specific bill directly supported by Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey was SB13-013 in which Senator King was the Main sponsor of the bill. See attached letter from Sheriff Stan Hilkey. This was a very broad bill that brought much controversy from the citizenry regarding special powers given to federal agencies. This shows Senator King not acting on behalf of the People of Colorado's interest but in turn for those only with a badge. If you need any legislative or committee votes regarding MCSO there are plenty.
Senator King also was appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he directly voted on numerous bills that benefited MCSO and the Judiciary Branch in general. Senator King again did not recuse himself in any votes that directly benefited MCSO especially when voting on the Long Bills HB14-1336 that would finance those departments and in turn finance his contracted positions. I would also like to bring to the attention that during Senator King's temporary appointments at MCSO the department had significant budget cuts and layoffs yet Senator King was always able to get a contract and bill hours against the public general fund which in turn resulted in three felony charges and two misdemeanor charges by DA Hurlbert since all other local agencies actually recused themselves due to conflict of interest relationships with the Senator. How ironic.
Venue:This was only used as an example and I believe Senator King is facing charges regarding this and other similar events of appearing in multiple places at the same time in many different venues. I would again refer to comments under conflict of interest and contracts above.
Statute of Limitations CRS 16-5-401:
I would argue the CMU contract ended December 31, 2013 and the January 10, 2014 disclosure attached was just another opportunity for Senator King to disclose the income received from CMU since its states on the form Income Change but the box was not marked. Otherwise the 2013 Contract began on July 2013 in which per CRS 24-6-202(3) & (4) shows an amended disclosure would be required for this new income contract therefore the Statute of Limitations for the 2013 CMU contract would be either from July 2013 and 18 months forward or December 31, 2013 and 18 months forward. Would agree some of the Title 24 misdemeanor violations are not within the statute of limitations however they prove history that these events are just a recent mistake but an obvious failure to disclose due to the ethical smell test created in Title 24 Statutes.
I would like to request more investigation into the internal mechanisms within our local agencies as what appears special favors for local elite players in Mesa County. If you are unable to perform would you please offer a place to go since it has become public knowledge that our local government is unable to hold itself accountable.
Thanks for time and attention and I look forward to your responses!
Mr. Morales,I appreciate your reviewing the information I sent regarding Senator Steve King. I am disappointed to learn of your responses of no intent to prosecute and the language used in which no further action will be taken. I respectfully disagree with your opinions and offer the following responses as to why:
Regarding the Conflict of Interest and Breach of Fiduciary Duty it is my belief you may want to revisit. Senator King would of had an easy defense if he just simply disclosed the conflict and appearance of a conflict of interest. However he has never disclosed this information and in fact he never disclosed to CMU that he held a position with Mesa County Sheriff's Office. In revisiting the violation of C.R.S. 18-8-308 the statute is written that states OR OTHER PECUNIARY INTEREST. If the statute stated AND then I would agree with your analysis. However I have researched some very recent case law regarding Conflict of Interest and have provided a very strong 2013 Colorado Supreme Court analysis here in Ruiz v Hope for Children, Inc. http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8975&courtid=1
IV. The Conflict of Interest Defense
¶13 Ruiz asserts that Hope for Children could not rely on the “conflict of interest” defense because there is no record evidence that Ruiz was “profiting at the expense of [Hope for Children] by dating Rodriguez.” We do not agree that the conflict of interest defense in the Lawful Activities Statute is limited to financial conflicts of interest.
¶14 Nothing in the plain language of section 24-34-402.5(1)(b) limits actual or apparent conflicts of interest for which an employee may be terminated to financial conflicts of interest. Had the legislature intended to limit the defense to financial conflicts, it would have done so. In re Marriage of Hartley, 886 P.2d 665, 673 (Colo. 1994) (if the legislature intended statute to include a certain provision, it would have included it in the statute); Adams v. Corr. Corp., 187 P.3d 1190, 1193 (Colo. App. 2008) (“[I]t is presumed that the General Assembly meant what it clearly said.”). Indeed, a review of Colorado statutes reveals that where the legislature intended to limit the meaning of an actual or apparent conflict of interest to those situations involving financial gain, it did so. See, e.g., § 18-8-308 (2), C.R.S. 2012 (limiting “potential conflicting interest” to situations in which a public servant, among other things, owns or controls a substantial interest in any nongovernmental entity participating in a pecuniary transaction with which the public servant is connected); § 24-35-209(1)(a), C.R.S. 2012 (specifying that it is a conflict of interest for a member of the state lottery division to have “any personal pecuniary interest in any lottery or in the sale of any lottery tickets”). Because the legislature chose not to limit conflicts of interest in the Lawful Activities Statute to financial conflicts, we will not judicially engraft such a limit. See People v. Jaramillo, 183 P.3d 665, 671 (Colo. App. 2008) (courts must respect the General Assembly’s choice of language, and cannot add words to or subtract them from a statute); see also Scoggins v. Unigard Ins. Co., 869 P.2d 202, 205 (Colo. 1994) (“We will not judicially legislate by reading a statute to accomplish something the plain language does not suggest, warrant or mandate.”).
¶15 Nor are we persuaded by Ruiz’s reliance on Marsh v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 1458 (D. Colo. 1997). Marsh involved the firing of a Delta Air Lines baggage handler after he wrote a letter to the Denver Post criticizing his employer. 952 F. Supp. at 1460. The Marsh court noted that Delta was not justified in terminating the employee under the conflict of interest defense in the Lawful Activities Statute. Id. at 1464.1In so concluding, that court found, with little analysis, that the employee “was not disregarding his duties in favor of personal gain by writing the Post,” and that, therefore, “under the generally understood meaning of the term, [the employee] did not have any conflict of interest when writing to the Post.” Id. To the extent Marsh can be read for the proposition that the conflict of interest defense is limited to financial conflicts of interest, we do not agree that such an interpretation is consistent with the plain language of the statute. Further, we are not bound by a federal district court’s interpretation of Colorado law. See People v. Barber, 799 P.2d 936, 940 (Colo. 1990); see also Watson, 207 P.3d at 865 (“No Colorado appellate opinion has approved the Marshcourt’s analysis.”).
¶16 Similarly, we do not read Marsh as establishing the alternative requirement, suggested by Ruiz, that Hope for Children needed to prove that dating Rodriguez actually interfered with Ruiz’s ability to perform a job-related duty. Again, the plain language of section 24- 34-402.5(1)(b) does not contain any requirement that a conflict of interest actually interfere with an employee’s ability to perform her job. To the contrary, the conflict of interest defense expressly contemplates that an employer may restrict an employee’s lawful, off-the-job activities not only where an actual conflict of interest exists, but also where there is an appearance of such a conflict. § 24-34-402.5(1)(b). Were we to adopt Ruiz’s construction, and read the statute to require an employer to establish that a conflict actually interferes with an employee’s job, it would render the phrase “the appearance of such a conflict of interest” meaningless. This we will not do. See Well Augmentation Subdistrict, 221 P.3d at 420 (court will not construe a statute in a manner that renders statutory language meaningless).
¶17 Finally, to the extent that Ruiz argues that Hope for Children was required to consider a less drastic alternative to termination, the plain language of the statute does not require the employer to do so. We will not impose requirements where the legislature did not. Turbyne v. People, 151 P.3d 563, 567 (Colo. 2007) (“We do not add words to [a] statute or subtract words from it.”).
¶18 Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court did not err in declining to adopt Ruiz’s narrow interpretation of the conflict of interest defense.
V. Sufficiency of the Evidence to Establish a Conflict of Interest
or the Appearance of a Conflict of Interest
¶19 Having rejected Ruiz’s invitation to limit the conflict of interest defense to financial or actual conflicts, we next consider whether the evidence supports the trial court’s order in favor of Hope for Children. We conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that Ruiz’s romantic relationship with a client, or former client, of Hope for Children created, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Thus, we decline to disturb the trial court’s determination that Hope for Children did not wrongfully terminate Ruiz.
A. Standard of Review
¶20 When the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged on appeal, we must determine whether the evidence, viewed as a whole and in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, is sufficient to support the verdict. Parr v. Triple L & J Corp., 107 P.3d 1104, 1106 (Colo. App. 2004). In conducting our review, we draw every reasonable inference from the evidence in favor of the prevailing party. Harris Grp., Inc. v. Robinson, 209 P.3d 1188, 1201 (Colo. App. 2009).
¶21 The Lawful Activities Statute does not define “conflict of interest” or the “appearance” of such a conflict. And given that the existence of a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, is almost entirely dependent on context, determinations grounded on this legal basis must turn on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. This determination, then, is both context and industry specific. See City of Manassa v. Ruff, 235 P.3d 1051, 1055 (Colo. 2010) (term “conflict of interest” reflects various policy determinations, depending on the context in which it operates); Schupper v. People, 157 P.3d 516, 520 (Colo. 2007) (whether a relationship creates the appearance of a conflict of interest is a factual question that must be made on a case-by-case basis). The existence of a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, is uniquely within the province of the fact finder. Benuishis v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 195 P.3d 1142, 1144 (Colo. App. 2008) (“Whether a conflict of interest exists is a question of fact.”); see also People v. Cnty. Court, 854 P.2d 1341 (Colo. App. 1992) (whether an appearance of impropriety exists is committed to the trial court’s discretion, and turns on the circumstances of each particular case).
¶22 The trial court concluded that the fact that Ruiz “may be required to testify in court regarding whether or not a client or former client . . . completed treatment” raised, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest with Ruiz’s job responsibilities. The court also concluded that the romantic relationship between Ruiz and Rodriguez created the appearance of a conflict of interest to third-party organizations from which Hope for Children received its funding, client referrals, and contracts. Specifically, the court found that the dating relationship had the potential to damage “the image and reputation of [Hope for Children]” by causing third parties to lose confidence in the reliability and professionalism of the organization, and that, in turn, could “endanger the grants that fund” Hope for Children.
¶23 Viewed as a whole and in the light most favorable to Hope for Children, the evidence is sufficient to support the trial court’s conclusions that Ruiz’s relationship with Rodriguez created an appearance of a conflict of interest with her job responsibilities. See Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 103 (2002) (“appearance” means the “outward show or image presented by a person or thing”); cf. People v. Schupper, 124 P.3d 856, 858 (Colo. App. 2005) (in judicial disqualification context, test for “appearance” of partiality is whether a reasonable person, knowing all the relevant facts, would harbor doubts about a judge’s impartiality), aff’d, 157 P.3d 516. In particular, the evidence established the following:
- One of Ruiz’s job responsibilities at Hope for Children was testifying concerning the completion of court-ordered treatment by clients or former clients;
- Rodriguez was court-ordered to attend a fatherhood class and did so through Hope for Children;
- Ruiz and Rodriguez met while he was receiving services at Hope for Children, and Ruiz was expressly asked to assist Rodriguez in enrolling in a parenting skills class;
- Because Rodriguez was court-ordered to attend a fatherhood class, if an issue arose regarding his compliance with the order, Ruiz, as the only Family Advocate, would have been required to verify (and potentially testify about) his participation and completion of the program;
- Although Ruiz testified that she viewed Rodriguez as a former client of Hope for Children when she began dating him, Kammeier testified that Hope for Children does not “close” its files and has worked with some families intermittently for up to eight years, and that clients might “be gone for a few months and then they’re back”;
- Similarly, the Executive Director of the Tenth Judicial District’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) testified that, in the social services field, many people express the view that “once a client, always a client”;
- Kammeier further testified that 85 to 87% of Hope for Children’s budget comes from a federal grant to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). And she testified that, because Hope for Children receives many of its client referrals as a result of contracts with CDHS and Community Corrections, a policy permitting employees to date clients would negatively impact Hope for Children’s relationship and reputation with those organizations, resulting in a loss of clients and funding;
- The former director of Social Services for Pueblo County, and a board member of Hope for Children, testified that a dating relationship between a social services organization employee and client or former client creates a conflict of interest in the form of an appearance of impropriety, “where the credibility of the agency to provide proper services” is negatively impacted;
- And the executive director of CASA testified that a social services organization’s funding might be subject to revocation if it allowed its employees to date clients.
¶24 Given this testimony and the nature of the social services field, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court’s conclusion that the restriction on the dating relationship between Ruiz and Rodriguez was necessary to avoid, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest with Ruiz’s responsibilities to her employer. See Restatement (Second) of Agency § 380 cmt. a (1958) (“The nature of the business and the position of the agent determine . . . what conduct can be expected from [the agent].”).
¶25 Because we conclude that the court did not err in determining that Hope for Children met its burden under section 24-34- 402.5(1)(b), we need not address the remaining statutory defenses relied upon by the trial court. Rush Creek Solutions, Inc. v. Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, 107 P.3d 402, 406 (Colo. App. 2004) (“[W]e may affirm the trial court’s ruling based on any grounds that are supported by the record.”).2
As you read through the Case Law you notice the smell test once again is being used the appearance of a conflict or what a Reasonable Person would conclude. Well I am a Reasonable Person and I conclude that Senator King was given opportunities at CMU and MCSO for the sole purpose of rewarding his efforts in the Colorado Legislative position that benefited all parties mentioned and not the citizens of the District he represented. Thus Senator King violated and abused the Public Trust C.R.S. 24-18-103 appointed to him by the People! Senator King either was 100% the owner of his private company either by his personal name or under American National Protective Services named as it's President & CEO.
I also located a conflict of interest manual from a state university and can visit it here. As you can see there are options that can be taken so that Senator King's appearance of a conflict of interest could easily be avoided if he simply disclosed the contracts at CMU and vice versa CMU disclosing the fact they hired a sitting State Senator. In Senator King's case neither party disclosed the relationship as required by law! http://www.facultycouncil.colostate.edu/files/manual/sectiond.htm#D.7.7.3
Here is CMU's Employee & Contracted personnel manual regarding Outside Employment: http://www.coloradomesa.edu/hr/documents/CMU-PPEH-AllSections.pdf
3. Rules for Outside Employment. Professional Employees who engage in outside employment must abide by the following rules. Failure to do so may result in discipline or termination. Outside employment shall:
a. Not interfere with the efficient performance of the employee's job;
b. Not actually or apparently conflict with the interests of the University or the State of Colorado. "Apparently" conflict means that the employment would reasonably give rise to criticism or suspicion of conflicting interests or duties;
c. Not conflict with the Code of Ethics for Public Employees, CRS 24-18-101 et. seq., as amended from time to time, and other statutes and regulations governing the conduct of public employees.
d. Be in addition to, rather than part of, the normal time and effort expected of members of Faculty and Exempt employees in that Professional Personnel position.
e. Not involve use of University resources, facilities, or property without prior written approval by the President regarding the specific exceptions requested to this rule.I have attached the the 2010, 2011, & 2012 disclosures that were simply marked Annual Update-No Change. I also disagree with your viewpoint that the disclosure of the Conflict of Interest 2013 contract at CMU is invalid due to statute of limitations. Following that logic Senator King would have to have known January 10, 2013 that he would have a July 2013 contract with CMU. That is why under C.R.S. 24-6-202 (3) gives Senator King 30 days to disclose the July 2013-December 31, 2013 CMU contract. Again C.R.S. 18-8-308 only allows a 72-hour window after the other pecuniary transaction began in July 2013.
I provided several legislative votes during Senator King's entire contracted positions with MCSO and CMU in which those parties benefited and Senator King benefited. Once again using the Appearance smell test provided in Ruiz v Hope for Children, Inc. and the fact once again no disclosures ever given by Senator King or CMU, the appearance and conclusion a reasonable person would find themselves at is that this was a favorable position given to a Colorado Legislator for favorable votes. Even if these votes came before or after Senator King still held a position over both the MCSO and CMU by holding valuable positions in the Legislative Audit and Judiciary committees. If Senator King disclosed his relationships under Colorado Constitution and Senate Rule 41 he would recused his votes for all stated parties he was associated with under private contract.
Here is the role and function of the Legislative Audit Committee:
8. What is the Legislative Audit Committee and its role in the audit process?
The Legislative Audit Committee plays a vital role in the overall audit process, including having the statutory authority to conduct public hearings on OSA reports and subpoena witnesses and records. The Legislative Audit Committee must vote to release an audit before it becomes publicly available. The Committee is not, however, involved in the day-to-day conduct of audits or in the development of audit conclusions or findings.
The Legislative Audit Committee is a legislative oversight committee made up of four senators and four representatives. The Legislative Audit Committee is uniquely positioned to ensure accountability of state agencies’ activities and of the efficient and effective expenditure of public funds. As set forth in the Colorado Constitution and state statutes, the State Auditor ensures accountability by conducting audits that provide an independent, objective assessment of government operations, report on the use of taxpayer monies, and recommend improvements. The Legislative Audit Committee ensures accountability by reviewing the audit reports prepared by the State Auditor, releasing the reports to the public, questioning the audited agency in a public forum about the report findings and recommendations, and discussing the actions the agency plans to take to improve its operations.
In addition to releasing audit reports and questioning audited agencies, the Committee examines and nominates a qualified candidate for State Auditor; approves the OSA’s budget; communicates significant audit report findings and recommendations to the General Assembly, the Governor, and other officials when necessary; and votes whether to approve audit requests submitted by members of the General Assembly or the Governor. To ensure agencies cooperate with the audit process, the Legislative Audit Committee also has the power to subpoena witnesses and records and take testimony under oath.
Here is his role and function on the Senate Judiciary Committee:
The Senate Judiciary Committee considers matters concerning civil and criminal proceedings, courts, judges, civil liberties, Colorado's constitution and statutes, the state's correctional system and prison facilities, homeland security, and juvenile justice. In addition, the committee has legislative oversight responsibility for the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Law, and the Judicial Branch.
Mr. Morales your letter didn't stipulate if a crime was or was not committed, it only stated that you played judge and jury and I find no where in C.R.S. 20 that allows you this opportunity. Under C.R.S. 20 and Rule 3.8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor, you do have the ability to bring said charges before a Grand Jury and let them decide if charges should be or not be filed. The requirement is Probable Cause and not as a Judge and Jury. I understand there may be more important cases you deem more appropriate to pursue but in the opinion of myself and the citizens of Mesa County Colorado that have openly stated they want an investigation into the CMU and Senator King relationship. You must act on the information provided and if necessary investigate it further through subpoena and in direct contact with CMU administration. Otherwise what your office is implying is that it is absolutely valid to break laws and use positions of authority in elected office for personal gain and that once elected to a position of Power you can behave as a Lobbyist and get paid by other private or public organizations without disclosing these incomes. I would argue emphatically C.R.S. 24-18-103 and the entire Code of Ethics enacted by the Colorado Legislative body denies this behavior by a public elected official.
Senate Rule 41 also gives further clarification:
(a) Definitions. As used in this rule, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Close economic associate" or "close economic association" means the Senator's employer, client, employee, or partner or associate in business or professional activities; enterprises of which a Senator is a director or officer; corporations in which a Senator owns more than ten percent of the outstanding capital stock; an enterprise which is his significant unsecured creditor or of which he is a significant creditor; or a trust of which he is a beneficiary. It does not mean a bank or savings and loan association in which his interest is in the form of an account; nor an officership, directorship, or employment in a political, religious, charitable, or educational entity which returns compensation to him of less than one thousand dollars per year. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(2) "Close relative" means the spouse of the Senator and the following natural, adoptive, and adopted members of the Senator's family and the family of his spouse: mother, father, children, brothers, and sisters. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(3) "Enterprise" means corporation, partnership, proprietorship, association, or other legal entity (other than an estate or trust) engaged in business for profit. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(4) "Lobbyist" means any person defined as such in the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47; 1988, SR 10, SJ, p. 1348)
(5) "Person" and "another" means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, or other legal entity. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(6) "State agency" means every department, commission, board, division, office, council, or other agency created as part of the state government pursuant to law and supported by state moneys. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(b) Conflicts of interest personal or private interests versus public interest definition. (1) Subject to article V, section 43, of the state constitution, a Senator has the right to vote upon all questions before the Senate and to participate in the business of the Senate and its committees, and, in so doing, he is presumed to act in good faith and in the public interest. When a Senator's personal interest conflicts with the public interest and tends to affect his independence of judgment, his legislative activities are subject to limitations. Where any such conflict exists, it disqualifies him from voting upon any question and from attempting to influence any legislation to which it relates. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(2) A question arises as to whether a personal or private interest tends to affect a Senator's independence of judgment if the Senator: (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(A) Has or acquires a substantial economic interest by reason of his personal situation, distinct from that held generally by members of his occupation, profession, or business, in a measure proposed or pending before the General Assembly; or has a close relative or close economic associate with such an interest. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(B) Has or acquires a financial interest in an enterprise, direct or indirect, which enterprise or interest would be affected by proposed legislation differently from like enterprises.(1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(C) Has or acquires a close economic association with, or is a close relative of, a person who has a financial interest in an enterprise, direct or indirect, which enterprise or interest would be affected by proposed legislation differently from like enterprises. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(D) Has or acquires a close economic association with, or is a close relative of, a person who is a lobbyist or who employs or has employed a lobbyist to propose legislation or to influence proposed legislation on which the Senator has or may be expected to vote. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(E) Accepts a gift, loan, service, or economic opportunity of significant value from a person who would be affected by or who has an interest in an enterprise which would be affected by proposed legislation. This provision shall likewise apply where such gift, loan, service, or opportunity is accepted by a close relative of the Senator. It shall not normally apply in the following cases: A commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business by an institution authorized by the laws of this state to engage in the business of making loans; an occasional nonpecuniary gift, insignificant in value; a nonpecuniary award publicly presented by a nonprofit organization in recognition of public service; or payment of or reimbursement for actual and necessary expenditures for travel and subsistence for a Senator's personal attendance at a convention or other meeting at which he is scheduled to participate and for which attendance no reimbursement is made by the state of Colorado. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(c) Undue influence definition. (1) A Senator, by reason of his office, is or may be in a position to bring undue influence on other legislators, public officials, or private persons. To use this potential for economic or private gain is an abuse of office and a matter of concern to the Senate, whether or not the act is also punishable under the criminal laws. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(2) The following limitations shall apply to legislative conduct and violations are declared to constitute undue influence: (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(A) A Senator shall not use his public position, intentionally or otherwise, to obtain or attempt to obtain any confidential information or special advantage for himself, a close relative, or a close economic associate. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(B) A Senator shall not sell goods or services to a state agency in a transaction not governed by the laws relating to public purchasing by competitive bidding, or intercede for or represent another in so doing; nor shall he in any way be interested in any contract to furnish supplies, printing, repairs, or furnishings to the General Assembly or any other state agency, contrary to section 29 of article V of the state constitution. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(C) A Senator shall not solicit, receive, offer, or give any bribe, contrary to the state constitution and the provisions of sections 18-8-302 to 18-8-308, 18-8-401, 18-8-402, 18-8-404, 18-8-405, and 18-8-407, C.R.S. 1973; nor shall he accept or give any compensation, gratuity, or reimbursement for voting upon any question or for attempting to influence legislation. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(D) A Senator shall not give or offer to give his vote in consideration of the vote of another member, contrary to the provisions of section 40 of article V of the state constitution.(1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(E) A Senator shall not attempt to influence any public official by deceit or threat, contrary to section 7 of article XII of the state constitution and section 18-8-306, C.R.S. 1973.(1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(d) When Senator permitted to vote. Nothing in this rule shall be construed as prohibiting a Senator from voting for a bill or other measure whose passage would adversely affect his personal or private interest or from voting against a bill or other measure whose defeat would adversely affect his personal or private interest; and nothing in this rule shall be construed to prevent a Senator from voting on the report of the committee of the whole, unless such vote is conducted solely on the bill or measure in which he has a personal or private interest. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(e) Applicability of rule. The provisions of this rule shall not apply as the basis for the recall of any measure by either house nor otherwise constitute the basis to contest the validity of any legislative action on any bill or other measure on which a vote was cast by any member of the Senate in violation of this rule. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47)
(f) Legislators not to request donations to charitable organizations. A legislator shall not request a lobbyist or an employee of the General Assembly to make donations to any type of charitable organization. (1973, SR 2, SJ, p. 47; 1988, SR 10, SJ, p. 1348)You also state that the statute of limitations no longer allows charging of the disclosures however I would ask you kindly revisit as there is error in the dates you are suggesting specifically the 2013 and 2014 disclosures where Senator King never disclosed the CMU contracts with either the 30 days to amend or the 72-hour rule.
My intent here if no charges are going to be filed by your office is to petition under C.R.S. 16-5-209 and ask for a Judge's ruling on why no charges are coming forth regarding Senator Steve King.
Thanks for your time and attention,
Why did Senate Leaders at the Capitol taken no action? Why has the Colorado Independent Ethics Board taken no action? Why has the Denver DA taken no action? Should there even be an ethics section in the Colorado Revised Statutes if this is how it plays out? How about in the Colorado Constitution? Are these ethics statutes there so our Public officials can just ignore them? The People deserve to know why our Justice system and appointed leaders looked the other way in this case of misdeeds by Senator Steve King! Those that create the laws must also abide by those laws! VetTheGov will keep you informed of future communications between the District Court in Denver. Thanks for tuning in!
The Department of Homeland Security Secret Service Division received so called limited Peace Officer status from the State of Colorado in the recent passage of Senate Bill 13 whose main sponsor was Republican Senator Steve King who later added democrat House Representative Beth McCann. At final passage there were four additional Democrats that co-sponsored this bill along with eight additional Democrats from the House. No other Republicans in the House or Senate co-sponsored the bill however five republican senators voted Yes for the bill, Balmer; Crowder; Grantham; King; and Roberts. One democrat senator Steadman voted No. On the House side one republican member Cheri Gerou voted Yes and three Dems voted No, Lebsock; Levy; and Singer. Mostly the vote's casts were along party lines.
Days after the passage of SB13 there were many reports across the internet that the Secret Service had obtained new found arrest powers in Colorado so VetTheGov dug in a little deeper and requested all related documents from The Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) office. Before we reveal some of the documentation VetTheGov needs to set up all the responses from many either behind or against the bill.
Senator King on his public facebook site defended SB13 as follows:
I hear all the time about the waste of tax payer money and the lack of government doing things in the most cost effective way. SB13 is simply about the ability of the Secret Service to take a complex investigation directly to our District Attorney for local prosecution of criminals in our community. With this LIMITED police power it eliminate the redundancy and cost of the Police Department or Sheriff’s office to start all over again doing their own time consuming and expensive complex investigation just to be able to present a case to the same district attorney. Ask our District Attorney, our Sheriff or Chief of Police how much Tax payer money and local investigator time (time that can be spent investigating violent crime) is saved by this legislation. This bill is supported and endorsed unanimously by the Colorado Police Officers Standards and Training Board, by Colorado Sheriff's, Colorado Chiefs of Police, Colorado District Attorney's Council and the Attorney General of Colorado.
Mesa County Sheriff Hilkey was then asked by Mesa County Patriot president Jeff Mccloskey if he supported SB13 and he gave the following answer:
Yes Jeff, I've supported this bill. Perhaps Senator King said it best:
What SB13-013 is not about:
1) Enforcing Gun control or the 2nd amendment
2) Power to enforce or not to enforce federal gun legislation
3) Expansion of unregulated Secret Service authority and power
What SB13-013 is about:
Senate Bill 13 is public safety legislation that improves the efficacy of law enforcement via the elimination of wasteful criminal investigation redundancy between the Secret Service and local police and sheriff’s departments. The bill maintains local control in line with the 10th amendment while improving the value citizens get from local law enforcement for their tax dollar.
Who supports SB13-013?
This bill was supported and endorsed UNANIMOUSLY by the Colorado Police Officers Standards and Training Board, Colorado Sheriffs, Colorado Chiefs of Police, the Colorado District Attorney's Council and the Attorney General of Colorado.
The fact sheet you've attached is pretty accurate. I've supported because it gives local LE the ability to enlist their assistance on a more efficient basis if needed. I've seen the opposition comments on this based on the "what if" questions frankly, the support and consent of the State's local law enforcement community would evaporate in a heartbeat if we saw the abuses that some are concerned about.
Thanks for asking,
Not only did Sheriff Hilkey support SB13 he also Endorsed on Mesa County Sheriff letterhead on September 11, 2012. VetTheGov must mention that the Board of POST are all law enforcement officers in the State of Colorado and there are no civilians on this board. Basically the cards are always stacked in their favor regarding any legislative action. City of Grand Junction Police Chief Camper who sits on the POST Sunrise committee also voted to approve SB13 and allow sponsorship.
VetTheGov spoke with house Rep. Ray Scott District 55 who stated the following: "I voted No on SB13 due the language in the summary portion of the bill and basically decided the Feds have too much power already in Colorado and they didn't need any more."
House Rep. Jared Wright District 54 who put his comments regarding SB13 out on his public facebook:
"While debating SB13 today, granting Colorado peace officer (POST) status to US Secret Service agents, I began to think about the "free speech zones" the USSS constructs in areas the president will be visiting in the name of security. Here is a picture of a "free speech cage" built in the area of the 2004 Democratic National Convention which protesters were forced to stand behind to practice their First Amendment rights. And now, Colorado legislators just blindly granted more powers of arrest for "state felony AND misdemeanor crimes committed in an agent's presence" to the Secret Service working in our state - even though the Secret Service themselves told me their making an arrest of a Colorado citizen for a misdemeanor crime unrelated to their duties would violate their own policy guidelines. So why are we giving the Secret Service authority that violates the agency's own internal policies? Why didn't the red flag go up for a majority of the members of the House? Last I checked we were elected to represent Colorado citizens, not the federal government. Shame on members of the law enforcement community who supported this measure. They have willingly given up their own and their citizen's 10th Amendment Constitutional rights in the name of possibly lightening their caseloads."
In another email to VetTheGov Rep. Wright made the following comments regarding SB13:
"As written, the bill places no limits for USSS agents on the exercise of police power within this state short of these:
VetTheGov would argue that the Secret Service could use their new given powers to enforce any State law and would have the ability to make traffic stops as SB13 does not state otherwise or that they can't enforce these specifics especially now since they also have immunity to being sued. They might not write tickets but they do have the authority to stop a car if the person driving is committing a crime in their presence or a known active warrant is determined. Even Sheriff Hilkey admitted he would enforce the new gun laws if his department felt the need to arrest and charge if no others existed and the individual(s) were drug dealers and such because of liability to the taxpayers!
From a recent story in WND here are a couple of comments from republican lawmakers:
“This is absolutely insane,” Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, said. “In theory if a Secret Service agent is in a county where the sheriff has refused to enforce some of the recent unenforceable gun laws, the agent could arrest an individual if he believes the law has been broken.”
Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said despite the bill being sponsored by a fellow Republican, the 72-hour mental hold caught the attention of several Republicans in the Senate. “This was one of the big flags for us in the bill,” Marble said. “It’s very suspicious because we have the separation of federal, state and even the local police services. Everyone has their own jurisdiction, and there is a special reason for keeping federal agents away.
Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he was told the purpose of the bill was to make it easier to hold a person for mental health reasons. “It does give Secret Service powers in a broad sense, but I’m not sure the changes as stated will automatically change things significantly. It’s not a broad overreach, but it is an overreach. It’s one more step in the wrong direction.”
Republican Senator Kevin Grantham a Yes vote for SB13 stated the following at a recent town hall meeting when questioned on his Yes vote, "I will tell you what I’ve been telling everyone about this legislation since it’s taken on a life of its own: as far as votes go I suppose all things being equal I would probably take that one back…The one criticism leveled against the bill and against my vote, to which I humbly acquiesce, is that it does grant power where none existed before. For that alone I would like to have [my] vote back."
Colorado already has a State Statue in place regarding Secret Service powers and these have worked out just fine over the years. Usually any federal agency would have to contact local Sheriff's and inform them that they will be in their jurisdiction and reasons for the resources being brought in. When or if an arrest is needed the federal agency would request assistance from the Sheriff. Now what we will see is a true reversal of this process and with the new Peace Officer status that makes them equals. Even Sheriff Hilkey in Mesa County now understands and expressed concern over the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of SB13 but believes the citizens wouldn't allow federal intrusion into Mesa County.
In a recent CORA request, VetTheGov determined that the Secret Service admitted they already have limited statutory authority to make arrest in Colorado if certain misdemeanors and felonies occur in their presence. The Secret Service now requested and granted via SB13 Peace Officer status for the following reasons in their POST form 12 application.
- Making probable cause arrest for state crimes committed outside their presence even if the situation involves serious state offenses (violent misdemeanors and felonies) and immediate intervention and/or assistance of a USSS agent could prevent escape, serious bodily injury or destruction of property.
- Assisting state or local officers in serving an executing state arrest warrants.
- Assisting state or local officers in serving and executing state search warrants and seizing property under state search warrants.
- Assisting state or local officers in seizing property subject to forfeiture under Colorado law.
- Assisting state or local officers in emergency procedures for putting a seventy-two hour hold on any person appearing to have a mental illness and, as a result of such mental illness, appears to be an imminent danger to others or to himself.
Further on in the 120 pages of CORA documents, a request was made to determine what the roles of the different Secret Service agents are.
- Uniformed officers-they are fully uniformed and travel in support of the President and Vice President. They do magnetometers and have bomb dogs. They could use this provision to deal with mentally ill people coming to an event without involving others. There are none assigned to Denver and only travel in support of the Pres/VP.
- Physical Security Technicians and Specialist-Plainclothes but are armed-they do all the technical stuff involving cameras, sweeps and advance work. Same reason for Colorado status as uniformed officers regarding mentally ill and any onview.
- Special Officers-One assigned to Denver office. Does support work including surveillance and wireless tracking. Works with special agents.
- Special Agents-Those are the working folks as we know-do counterfeit, fraud and dignitary protection.
Notice in the above agents given POST Peace Officer status are not involved with fraud or counterfeit cases. They may be called in to join one of these secret task forces that get assembled from time to time. Could the next task force be called enforcing 30 round magazine laws??? Only time will tell.
In another email from John Jackson Chief of Police in Colorado speaking for the Association of Police Chief's was asking for more information regarding the limitations granting Colorado Peace Officer status gave the Secret Service states, "The Secret Service bill seems awfully broad." It was never answered at least via email.
In another letter from Pete Dunbar POST Director to the Attorney General when DA Ken Buck began asking questions and having concerns, here is a portion of the letter to once again clarify the need for Peace Officer status. "The Secret Service cannot work alone on cases for state prosecution. They have a case right now on counterfeit that they cannot get an arrest warrant without having state peace officer authority. They are waiting, therefore, for the local detective, to be available to put the case together. The efficiencies created by the becoming POST certified make practical sense. They would also be able to use Colorado laws to have someone evaluated mentally who they are doing a threat investigation on. This would eliminate the need to call in local law enforcement to do the evaluation and confinement. I understand DA Buck is worried about the federal folks running around but this certification makes sense, is very helpful to state and local law enforcement and is limited."
Now when it came down to testifying for the Peace Officer status, here was the approach to be used for talking points being sent in another email from David Blake Deputy Attorney General when SB13 started losing republican backing. "All this bill does is the same thing we've done for other Federal LE, including the FBI, and it has never been abused. That is, it gives the USSS authority to work under the supervision of your local elected DA's and the Attorney General on mostly financial crimes-including identity theft and credit card or check fraud-and frees up your local law enforcement resources. Important bill, a good bill to fight fraudsters-support!" Nowhere in the bill does it mention working under the supervision of local DA's or the Attorney General. Just one of many Red Flags!
David Blake Deputy Attorney General wrote in another email when doubts were forming and citizens began to express concern, "Would love to get a R to speak but can't think of a pro-law enforcement (i.e. former Cop) in the R. House Caucus that is reasonable!" "Sounds like there is an email campaign against it and some D's are asking questions." "Apparently there is a letter writing campaign that will cause us to lose more R's than I counted last week and had a few D's say something to McCann. Haven't seen what it says. Don't know the source."
David Blake forwards this email from Rep. McCann to Secret Service agent Bruce Ward, Pete Dunbar, and Matthew Durkin, "Here is the kind of email we have been getting about the bill." Dear Beth McCann, I am opposed to expanding the powers of the Secret Service in Colorado. The track record of this agency in the past decade has been deplorable on the issue of free speech. There are many cases of this agency silencing dissenting voices. There is no sound reason for offering this bill. This is a solution in search of a problem. The potential benefits are tiny compared to the risk of further trampling basic free speech rights. Vote "NO" on SB13!"
More than like this is one of the cases this email letter to McCann was referencing and happened right here in Colorado. Remember the talking points above, "never been abused!"
In Connecticut when this similar bill allowing Secret Service Peace Officer status was met with resistance from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and their attorney made the following comment, "Allowing the Secret Service this new appointment will take power away from both local and state police, despite their jurisdiction."
Libertarian for Colorado Governor Matthew Hess gave the following comment regarding SB13:
"SB13-013 is a bad idea. This bill creates a police force in Colorado that has no local accountability or even oath of office. We cannot expect people who have sworn no oath to properly uphold our laws. Unfortunately, this bill can even extend police powers to private contractors working for the Secret Service. Would we tolerate a blackwater security firm acting as Colorado law enforcement? I certainly would not and neither should you if you value the separation of powers and division of power between the states and federal government. This bill addresses no need and serves to only further abdicate the authority of Colorado to the federal government. Our representatives would do well to remember their authority is derived from the people and pushing an agenda that is not of the people will result in a loss of freedom and liberty here in Colorado."
The Republican Liberty Caucus wrote about SB13 prior to the votes being cast urging a NO vote. "More than being a solution in search of a problem, this bill is a terrible intrusion of Federal power into local law enforcement by an agency with expanding powers and a track record of abusing free speech rights of Americans."
These talking points were used in promotion of the bill and included one case in Colorado from 2012. Two individuals were arrested for passing counterfeit United States currency. They go on to mention no charges have been filed by either the Secret Service or the State of Colorado and nothing in the talking points mention this because the Secret Service wants Peace Officer status. If the counterfeiting is a federal crime then federal courts must handle them. It appears the forgery case might just be a little more complex and taking the DA's office a little more time. Pay attention to the fact that nowhere in the bill does it mention any cost savings and how this helps the citizens of Colorado any more then the current State Statutes offer. Smoke & Mirrors goes a long way with the Feds. This bill is a perfect example of how they obtain more and more power and control by stretching ONE small case into more federal intrusion.
The talking points also mention how the system has been set up and working well in that most of the Secret Service cases originate from local and state law enforcement agencies. So again the question arises since most Secret Service cases originate from the local and state level, WHY the need for more Secret Service powers? Simple they can now act on State laws without any resistance from local authorities. Now that federal agents are protected from First & Fourth Amendment lawsuits, let the Federal abuse continue! We now have four bills that have been passed since 2006 granting Federal Peace officer status to the following federal agents, FBI, ATF, DHS, US Marshall's, and now the Secret Service.
VetTheGov agrees now more than ever after receiving the POST documents that SB13 is exactly as thought by many citizens of Colorado that the Department of Homeland Security Secret Service divisions have even more opportunity to arrest and prosecute in Colorado when local and state law enforcement won't or without their presence being needed or notification given! No doubt this is free reign for federal agents. Surely with these new gun bills being passed the Dems who were beneficial to SB13's passing and found a "REASONABLE" Republican pro law enforcement police statist Steve King, set this bill up nicely and rolled out the red carpet for the higher powers to have their way in Colorado! Mayor Bloomberg and VP Biden are thankful for your contributions!