ProgressNow Colorado Registers Formal Complaint With Office Of Congressional Ethics Against U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at amy@progressnowcolorado.org

DENVER: Today, ProgressNow Colorado registered a formal complaint against with the Office of Congressional Ethics against U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner due to the fact that he has published claims on his official congressional website that are misleading to the public.

“Misleading statements by candidates for office are hardly something new,” said Amy Runyon-Harms, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, “but we find it troubling that these same statements are also present on an official Congressional website, which is supported via taxpayer funding and represents the full authority of the United States Government.”

“This is just the latest example of Con Man Cory pushing his deceptions anywhere he can,” said Runyon-Harms. “Gardner is claiming credit for bringing millions of dollars in economic development to Colorado, but the bill he sponsored never funded a single project–a fact that numerous media outlets have confirmed. It’s outrageous that Gardner is using taxpayer dollars to mislead the public about his record.”

“We respectfully request that Congressman Gardner take down the misleading language in question,” said Runyon-Harms, “and for the Office of Congressional Ethics to require Congressman Gardner to undergo a thorough review of his official website.”

The full text of the letter is below:


October 22, 2014

Porter J. Goss, Chairman
David Skaggs, Co-Chairman
Office of Congressional Ethics
425 3rd Street, S.E., Suite 1110
Washington, DC 20024

Re: False claims made by U.S Congressman Cory Gardner on his taxpayer-supported congressional website

Dear Chairman Goss and Chairman Skaggs,

The purpose of this letter is to register a formal complaint against U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner, who has published claims on his official congressional website that are untrue and misleading to the public.

House Rule 23 Clause one states “A Member… of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”  It is our stance that a Federally funded Congressional website be factual, be barred from campaign materials, and reflect well on the individual Member of Congress and the entire U.S. House of Representatives.  In Congressman Gardner’s case, however, nothing could be further from the truth.  Congressman Gardner’s official congressional website currently makes the following claim:

“During his tenure in the Colorado General Assembly, Cory created the Colorado Clean Energy Authority, which brought millions of dollars of economic development to the state.”[1]

This is a claim that Congressman Gardner has made repeatedly since taking office, including on his congressional website in January, 2011[2].

Gardner recently repeated this claim in a television advertisement, saying “I co-wrote the law to launch our state’s green energy industry.”[3]

On September 14, 2014 the Associated Press reported that the law Congressman Gardner cites failed to bring any benefit to Colorado: “He leaves out that the law was repealed five years later, deemed useless for not enabling a single project.

The authority never had a staff and did little but gather once a year to report to the legislature that it had made no progress. By 2012 the authority was scrapped, part of a larger makeover of the Energy Office, now called the Colorado Energy Office.”[4]

Local television stations reached the same conclusion, with local NBC affiliate, 9NEWS, reporting on September 9th that the “goal of the bill was never accomplished,” while the fact check program for CBS Denver notes that the legislation “never funded a single project.”[5]

Congressman Gardner’s claim that legislation he passed helped bring “millions of dollars of economic development” to Colorado, in light of these facts, is false. His intent can only be deceit.

While misleading statements by candidates for office are hardly something new, we find it troubling that these same statements are also present on an official Congressional website, which is supported via taxpayer funding and represents the full authority of the United States Government.

We respectfully request that Congressman Gardner take down the misleading language in question, and for the Office of Congressional Ethics to require Congressman Gardner to undergo a thorough review of his official website, with extreme haste. Additionally, we request that Congressman Gardner be forced to clarify to the media that this law did not in fact bring “millions of dollars of economic development to the state.” Given that Congressman Gardner is using this claim to deceive voters in a political race, it is incumbent upon Congress to take immediate action and ensure the Congressman is no longer allowed to mislead the people of Colorado.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy Runyon-Harms

Executive Director
ProgressNow Colorado


[1] Issues, Office of Congressman Gardner, accessed 10/11/14

[2] Biography, Office of Congressman Gardner, accessed 1/16/11 via archive.org

[3] Gardner TV ad, “Next Generation Energy”, 9/1/14

[4] Associated Press, 9/4/14

[5] 9News, 9/9/14; CBS4 Denver, 9/4/14