DA: No charges for Colorado secretary of state

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 1:06 PM

DENVER (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed against Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler after he was accused of misusing public funds, the Denver district attorney said Wednesday.

A grand jury found there was no criminal conduct in Gessler using discretionary funds for travel expenses related to his trip to a Republican National Lawyers Association seminar and the GOP convention in Florida in 2012, District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said. The seminar had involved election law training.

However, the grand jury released a report saying Gessler's decision to use the money to attend a partisan conference, then the GOP convention, wasn't prudent. It also expressed "displeasure" that Gessler didn't provide any documentation for lump sum payouts he requested from discretionary funds in 2011 and 2012.

Gessler's spokesman Rich Coolidge said Gessler's office had fully expected the secretary of state would be exonerated and the office has changed how it manages discretionary funds.

Last week, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission ruled Gessler's use of the funds was inappropriate. Gessler has said he would appeal.

Before the commission ruled, Gessler repaid the state $1,278 for travel expenses to Florida, saying he wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

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