Gessler had previously been planning to work 20 hours a week at his old law firm to supplement his $68,500 annual salary, which he says is insufficient. The firm Gessler worked for handles election law. Gessler is supposed to enforce election law as the secretary of state, creating a blatant conflict of interest. To remedy this, Gessler first suggested that he would simply promise not to handle election law cases. Scout's honor.
But pressure mounted from the media and politicians. Thousands signed a citizens' petition from liberal group ProgressNow telling Gessler, a Republican, to stick to his elected duties or step down.
In response, Gessler said that he would provide records on the cases he handled for his law firm upon request. But, apparently, the law firm didn't like the idea of violating attorney-client privilege. It nixed that plan. So for now, it appears Gessler's going to have to live with that insufferable government salary until his term is up.
By the way, while Gessler was crying crocodile tears over $68,500 — and demanding that a citizens commission reset state salaries — a lot of the rest of us were doing a lot worse. According the the U.S. Census, the median per capita income in Colorado in 2009 was $29,679. Colorado's official unemployment rate in December was 8.8 percent.
Maybe it's time we, the people of Colorado, assembled an orchestra of the world's tiniest violins in Gessler's honor?
I'm delighted to forward you this breaking story from The Denver Post—following days of pressure and outraged responses from the media, public officials, and thousands of ProgressNow Colorado members, Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced today that he will abandon his plan to "moonlight" for his former law firm.
For Gessler to have continued working for his former firm, which specialized in elections, would have created an irreconcilable conflict of interest with his duties as Secretary of State. This is a win, not just for ProgressNow Colorado and our members, but for the principle of integrity in our state's highest elected officials. Thanks to everyone who did their part.