Ross Kaminsky Show, Scott Gessler, May 17, 2014

Station:   KOA, 850 AM

Show:      Ross Kaminsky Show

Guests:    Gessler


Date:       May 17, 2014

Topics:  Independent Ethics Commission (IEC),  Colorado Ethics Watch, I Am the Only One, Commissioners, Governor John Hickenlooper, Fundraiser, Host, Corruption, Colorado Supreme Court, Independent Investigator, The Denver Post, Big Money, Outside Money, Vote Fraud, Election Integrity, Election Accountability, Voter Rolls, Regulations, Fees, Taxes, Mike Kopp, Tom Tancredo, Bob Beauprez, Culture, Secretary of State’s Office

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[The following represents notes taken from comments offered on air by the host of the show.  All portions of this section, except where identified as transcribed sections, are paraphrased from those comments.]

  • I’m not endorsing anyone for governor
  • I’m a registered independent
  • I think Scott Gessler is on solid ground when he says the ethics charges against him are absolutely bogus
    • With the 4 of 5 commissioners being donors
    • I don’t know why we allow that
    • I don’t know why Hickenlooper allows it.

[The following section is transcribed from the Gessler interview]

HOST ROSS KAMINSKY:    [I’m] very pleased to be joined on our VIP line by our current Secretary of State, and a man who hopes to be the next governor of the state of Colorado, Scott Gessler.  Scott, thanks  a lot for waking up early to be with us here on 850 KOA.


KAMINSKY:  So let’s start with Governor stuff, and then I actually do want to spend a little time talking with you about some Secretary of State issues.  Uh, the governor’s race, right not, there are four candidates.  And I’ve had the other three on the show, and now all four. […]  What’s your view of the state of the race right now.  What does it mean to have four candidates, and how does that change how you, as a candidate, approach the campaign itself?

GESSLER:  Well, it’s a little bit unusual to have four candidates in a gubernatorial race, compared to years past.  You know, I don’t know if it really changes anything that I do.  So, first of all, the only governor’s race I’ve ever been in has had multiple candidates.  So, that’s sort of the world I’m in. But what’s important, I think, is you get out there, and you explain what your message is, and you tell what you’re going to be able to do, and in my case, I explain what I’ve done in the past so that people know that I’ve – you know, when I ran on conservative principles, and I won, and I went for it and I kept my promises and did what I said, and cut fees and all that stuff in office.  So, you just – you continue to run on your record and your vision for the future.

KAMINSKY:  So, one of the things – and look, you’ve faced this repeatedly.  In fact, you and I have talked about it offline.  And I want to ask you to clarify. You know, there are these questions that the liberals and The Denver Post keeps putting out there about you, about –they like to use the word “ethics” and all this.  And I actually thought you gave a tremendous answer to this in the Republican debate that I watched, but I think most people didn’t see the debate.  And so, you know, I think this kind of stuff will be thrown at you.  So I want to ask you, in the shortest way that you can, what is the right answer to these questions of, you know, “Does Scott Gessler have an ethics problem?”  What’s the right answer?

GESSLER:  The answer is “no.” What we have is a corrupt ethics commission.  We have an ethics commission that is dominated by Democratic appointees.  And today, this ethics commission, four out of the five ethics commissioners have contributed to John Hickenlooper – the Democrats, Republican, Independent. They are financially, they are personally invested in making sure that John Hickenlooper wins his reelection. We had a so-called unaffiliated ethics commission member, who two weeks after saying that John Hickenlooper could accept massive gifts from corporations – what I thought completely violated the gift ban.  Two weeks after he cleared him, he went — this unaffiliated ethics commissioner went and held a big fundraiser – hosted a fundraiser for this governor. That is a corrupt system. And everything that I did, we were careful about.  And so I traveled to go to some legal training and I used the state discretionary funds that I have discretion over. The Supreme Court approved that travel. The state controller approved that and said everything I did was right.  We had an outside auditor that said everything I did was right. A grand jury investigated me for six months and cleared me of everything. And the ethics commission’s own investigator could find absolutely no wrong-doing.  Meanwhile, the commission’s investigator finds all kinds of problems with what John Hickenlooper does as far as accepting gifts. And again, we have a corrupt ethics commission that’s more interested in making sure their political, favored governor, the person that they’ve contributed to, wins his race.  It’s truly unfortunate.  I think the people of the state of Colorado deserve a lot more than having a corrupt ethics commission.

KAMINSKY:  I think you’re right.  I think that’s a good answer.  I hope a lot of people hear that answer, rather than just hearing these fairly bogus charges.  I actually spoke to a guy who I won’t name, fairly–very well respected guy in Republican politics, who said, “Look, you know, what Gessler did, you know, using that particular fund to go do this training and meet with other Republican Attorney Generals,” this guy said, “that’s exactly what I want our Attorney Gen—uh, uh, I mean, Secretaries of State – that’s exactly what I want our Secretary of State to be doing.  It’s entirely appropriate.”  And this guy, he’s not a cheerleader.  He’s a very kind of clear thinking guy, so—.  Let’s move to some of the positive, here, for a second.   In just a short time, here, Scott, just tell our listeners what you think differentiates you from other Republican candidates.  And why you think you could beat John Hickenlooper?

GESSLER:  A couple things that differentiate me. We want Republican candidates – conservatives — who can articulate a platform, and articulate issues in a positive, pragmatic manner to draw people to our banner, to win the election. I am the only candidate who has won a state-wide election. I’m the only candidate who has beat a Democratic incumbent. Bob Beauprez is a great guy. Tom Tancredo is a great guy. They both had disastrous gubernatorial elections. If we want to double down on the same type of failures we’ve seen in the past, then I’m not your guy.  If you want to do something different, in a different approach, and one that’s proven to win, I’m your guy.  The second thing is, what’s– winning an election is only the start.  Once someone gets in office, we want them to do what they say they were going to do.  We want them to govern from a consistent set of principles. And I’ve stood up for things like election integrity.  And I’ve stood up for those principles. And when I have been in office, I’ve actually cut our fees in office.  People talk about cutting regulations, I’ve built the culture in an office that does cut regulations, where people wake up every day, trying to regulate less, not trying to regulate more.  That’s building a self-sustaining culture in government that serves people, not the other way around.  Cutting regulations is not some order handed out from high, you know, to go do something. It is building a culture to make a difference.  So, we want people who can win elections.  We want people who, when they get in office, are going to stand up and not crumble under the pressure.  And the thing you mentioned about the ethics commission, I mean, that’s a good example.  You know, they attacked me over something like $1200 of spending.  I mean, heck, my family received death threats so I flew home early, and they investigated me for that, too.  That’s the type of pressure you face when you actually make a difference.  And I’m the one guy in this race who has faced that pressure in office.  I’m the one guy that’s made that difference.  So–

KAMINSKY:  I want to ask you one other question, Scott, about the race to replace you. I’ve only got about ninety seconds left.  But The Denver Post has written an article called “Big Money Targets Colorado’s Secretary of State Race.”  I know on the Republican side, we’ve got Wayne Williams, who’s currently the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder.  And the Democrats are supporting a guy named Joe Neguese—I don’t know how to pronounce his name—who is a CU regent.  Why is the Secretary of State race to replace you so important?  And why are Democrats outside of Colorado probably going to dump maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race?

GESSLER:  Yeah, the Democrats want to seal in their game. They try and game the system–game the voting system, so that they can benefit.  You know, that article talked about big money.  Really, it’s big left wing money. I didn’t receive any Republican, right wing money in my race. But every year, the Democrats spend a lot of outside money trying to control the Secretary of State’s office.  They know, if they can control who makes the rules, those rules will be distorted to help them win.  And that’s their belief, and that’s why they find it so important.

KAMINSKY:  I mean, it seems to me, they want to control the Secretary of State’s office in order to make sure that dead people can keep voting, and that other things that allow voter fraud can keep in place.  Because you’ve been fighting hard against voter fraud. And I don’t say that to pump you up, but I think it’s important.  I mean, give me the last thirty seconds on this.

GESSLER:  Well, you’re always welcome to pump me up and talk about my record. I appreciate that. But, the truth is that the Democrats do turn a blind eye to anything that can go wrong from an election integrity standpoint.  You know, I’ve fought to make sure that non-citizens cannot vote in Colorado. That’s the law. And they just attacked me and attacked me the entire time. You know, I fought to make sure our voter rolls were cleaner, and that we’re not sending out ballots to people who don’t even live at that address anymore. And they fought me on that.  So they want to just break open these rules that we have that try and prevent vote fraud, because– and they believe that it can never occur. They turn a blind eye to it. And they don’t really care about the integrity and quality of our elections.