NEW: Gardner Facing *Another* Senate Ethics Complaint
Gardner already facing numerous ethics & FEC complaints for attending a luxury champagne party, allegedly taking illegal campaign contributions & using official Congressional resources for his campaign
Denver, CO – A new complaint filed with the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee alleges that Senator Cory Gardner sent unsolicited robocalls for a tele-townhall from his Congressional office within 60 days of an election, a clear violation of Senate Ethics Rules that limit using official resources this close to an election.
Gardner has already been at the center of several Senate Ethics complaints for using footage from a congressional hearing in a campaign ad and violating the Senate Ethics gift ban for attending a “by-invitation bacchanal” hosted by a luxury champagne company in Palm Beach — featuring $1,000 bottles of champagne, a four-course dinner, and live musical performances designed to “pair sound with Champagne.”
After Gardner claimed that his campaign picked up the tab for the luxury party at a Republican megadonor’s home, Gardner faced an FEC complaint for violating campaign finance laws by “converting campaign funds to personal use.” Gardner is facing another FEC complaint for allegedly taking illegal campaign contributions from Mitch McConnell’s super PAC. There are also several state ethics complaints pending against Gardner allies who started a group on taxpayer time that Gardner features in a campaign ad.
Gardner is using his potentially illegal tele-townhalls to try to paper over his record of being notoriously inaccessible, refusing to hold an in-person town hall for more than three years and dodging press and editorial boards. Community activist Dana Miller noted Gardner’s history of dogging townhalls, saying she “ha[s] been time and again frustrated by Senator Cory Gardner’s lack of availability and accountability to his constituents.”
Read the highlights below or the full article HERE.
Colorado Times Recorder: Complaint to Senate Ethics Committee Alleges Gardner’s Tele-Townhall Violated Rules
By Eric Maulbetsch | October 21, 2020
- A formal complaint filed last week with the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics asks for an investigation into Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s use of unsolicited robocalls to promote a tele-townhall COVID-19 update within 60 days of the election.
- Election season limitations on Members of Congress conducting constituent communication are longstanding and well-understood restrictions.
- The complaint filed against Gardner, a Republican, argues that between the pre-selected robocalls to voters and Gardner’s talk of politics and non-COVID issues such as listing his bipartisan work with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), the tele-townhall violated Internet Services and Technology Resources Usage Rules 6.2 and 6.3.
- His answer to the questions, which were presumably selected by his staff, covered a variety of issues well beyond COVID-19, including the Great American Outdoors Act, transportation projects, and wildfire funding.
- Denver resident and community activist Dana Miller filed the complaint on Oct. 12. Reached via email for comment, she wrote that she was “frustrated” with Gardner for not meeting with constituents in person.
- “I have been time and again frustrated by Senator Cory Gardner’s lack of availability and accountability to his constituents,” wrote Miller in an email. “He has consistently refused to meet with constituents in person and in any sort of public town hall. He continues to call his tele-town halls public events, but as they are pre-screened with a limited number of constituents even aware of their existence, they don’t serve as a substitute for direct contact with Colorado constituents.”
- Gardner’s office did not immediately return an email request for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.