Is the state treasurer collecting extra income?




Remember when Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler tried to moonlight at his old law firm to supplement his $68,000-a-year salary?

Gessler dumped the move after getting considerable attention for the conflicts of interest his old firm had with his current office.

The watchdog group, Colorado Ethics Watch helped expose that issue. Now that group is examining the Colorado State Treasurer, Walker Stapleton, for the same thing. It's not yet clear if Stapleton is, indeed, moonlighting, or if his outside work would conflict with his governmental duties. But there are certainly questions.

Read the message from Ethics Watch on the matter:

I thought you might be interested to know that, following the recent filings of personal finance reports, Colorado Ethics Watch has called on Treasurer Walker Stapleton to disclose whether he still has outside employment as a consultant with SonomaWest Holdings, Inc.

In 2011, SonomaWest Holdings. Inc. filed a disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) stating that it had an agreement through which Treasurer Stapleton would be paid $250 per hour, up to $150,000 per year, for consulting work. Later in 2011, SonomaWest became a private company, no longer subject to SEC filing requirements. As a result, Coloradans do not know how much Stapleton ultimately worked for SonomaWest or whether the consulting agreement is still in effect. Treasurer Stapleton’s personal financial disclosure statement, filed yesterday, reveals that SonomaWest is still a source of income, but does not state whether that income is merely a passive investment or whether Stapleton still works as a consultant for Sonoma West.

“Colorado’s disclosure laws are designed for part-time legislators and did not contemplate that a full-time elected official would have significant outside employment,” said Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro. “Coloradans deserve to know whether they have a full-time State Treasurer. Therefore, we call on Treasurer Stapleton to go the extra mile to be as transparent as possible with the people of Colorado about whether he has a second job.”

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