The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission has concluded John Hickenlooper violated the state's ban on valuable gifts to public officials twice during his time as governor. However, they dismissed four other trips included in the complaint.
A group run by a former Republican state House Speaker accused Hickenlooper of violating state laws and rules by attending a ritzy conference and traveling on various occasions aboard private planes controlled by wealthy friends.
The commission concluded Hickenlooper crossed the line with a trip on a private plane to the commissioning of a U.S. Navy submarine in Connecticut, as well as when he accepted luxurious meals and other perks during a conference in Italy.
"If we allow this kind of special, privately financed treatment for elected officials, it just kind of accentuates the cynicism (of voters)," said commissioner Bill Leone as voting began Friday afternoon.
The decisions came on the second day of the hearing, which included a reluctant appearance by Hickenlooper himself. Now a U.S. Senate candidate, he answered questions from attorneys and commission members for three hours. The hearing was held via video conferencing software.
The penalty for violations is twice the value of the gift received, according to former commission director Jane Feldman. The commission plans to meet next Friday afternoon to determine that amount. They'll also consider whether to penalize Hickenlooper for skipping the first day of the hearing in defiance of a subpoena.