Hickenlooper Defies Judge, Skips Ethics Commission Hearing

John Hickenlooper / Getty Images
June 4, 2020

Former Colorado governor and current Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper defied a judge's order and skipped a hearing on his alleged violation of a state ban on corporate gifts.

Colorado's Independent Ethics Commission issued a subpoena to compel Hickenlooper to testify over allegations he violated the state's ban on accepting corporate gifts in office. Hickenlooper's legal team challenged the subpoena on the grounds that a remote hearing would not be conducive to a fair trial. Wednesday night, a judge ruled against Hickenlooper's attempt to block the subpoena and ordered him to testify.

"For better or worse, remote legal proceedings are the norm right now and the IEC has made an informed decision to proceed by video conference in order to avoid any additional delays in [Hickenlooper’s] case. The court will not second-guess that decision," the judge wrote.

Hickenlooper did not appear at the hearing Thursday, according to the Denver Post. The refusal to show up puts him in violation of both the commission's subpoena and the judge's order.

He has also denied violating the ban. His campaign spokeswoman called the complaints "politically motivated" and said "an unreliable and glitchy virtual hearing would not protect his due process rights."

The complaints, filed by the Public Trust Institute, allege that Hickenlooper traveled on planes and accepted travel expenses paid for by corporations on multiple occasions while governor. The complaints also allege that Hickenlooper's administration redacted the travel expenses from public records. The first complaint was filed in October 2018, and a subsequent complaint was filed in November 2018.

Hickenlooper is running for the opportunity to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) in November's election. The Democratic primary will take place June 30.

The failed presidential candidate has frequently voiced his opposition to the influence of corporate money in politics. Federal Election Commission records show his senatorial campaign has taken more than $1 million in corporate donations, and hundreds of thousands in donations from corporate-backed PACs.