Monday, July 15, 2013
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at [email protected]

DENVER: Responding to news that Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, also a Republican candidate for Governor, had hired an associate from his old law firm to harass Gov. John Hickenlooper, ProgressNow Colorado called for Gessler to stop playing political games and fulfill his duties as Colorado’s chief elections officer.

“Gessler is once again seeking to harass Gov. John Hickenlooper for political gain—this time by hiring an old Hackstaff Law Group crony to make trumped-up false claims about the recall process,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Gessler has masqueraded as a fair player as Colorado’s chief elections official, but using taxpayer dollars to pay a fellow political operative to sue his possible future opponent doesn’t pass the smell test.”

KDVR FOX 31 reported this weekend that Gessler is seeking an “emergency” order to force Gov. Hickenlooper to set a date to hold a recall election against two sitting Colorado state senators.1 But instead of using the Attorney General’s office or working with the Governor directly, theDenver Post reports Gessler went outside state government and hired a former associate at Hackstaff Law Group (formerly Hackstaff Gessler) to file his case. 2

“As of today, there are major unresolved questions about the legality of these costly and needless recall elections,” said Runyon-Harms. “It would be silly to set a date and begin preparations for such a costly undertaking when there is a good chance the recalls will be thrown out in court. Gessler is trying to short-circuit the legal process for political reasons. Last spring, Gessler even gave advice to recall organizers. Gessler is not an impartial overseer of Colorado’s elections process: he is a devoted partisan Republican and a likely candidate for Governor. By going outside state government and using his old cronies to take political potshots on the taxpayer’s dime, he is violating the trust placed in him as Secretary of State.”

“We call on Gessler to immediately withdraw his ill-conceived lawsuit against Gov. Hickenlooper, and allow the courts to decide the important constitutional questions before them without any further political gameplaying,” said Runyon-Harms.