On Aug. 28, the day Ann Romney spoke at the GOP convention in Tampa, a disturbing phone call came into the Secretary of State’s Office in Denver. Gessler’s office was flooded with phone calls after he publicly announced a plan to identify illegal immigrants who are voting in Colorado. Gessler was at the convention in Florida when he learned of a threatening call, described in a newly released report from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Read the full CBI report
A man, whose named has been redacted from the report, called Republicans “a bunch of whack jobs” and said “Republicans should be shot in the head.” The man also said “people know where the Secretary’s family lives.” You’re worried. You’re very worried,” Gessler said. Gessler’s office received another threat via email which is still under investigation.
The CBI report says detectives went to the man’s house in Denver and they say he “readily admitted” threatening to put a bullet in the secretary’s head, but said he had no intent to hurt him. They said he doesn’t own a gun and had nothing to do with the email threat. The Denver District Attorney’s Office decided not to press charges.
“One thing I can say is we are all very grateful that everyone in law enforcement took this very seriously and that was good to see,” Gessler said. “It was a very professional response and very thorough.” The secretary took an early flight home from the convention to be with his wife and child, paying around $400 to change his previously scheduled flight. That and other expenses incurred during the trip are now the focus of a criminal investigation against Gessler.
Luis Toro is the Director of Colorado Ethics Watch, a nonprofit liberal watchdog group which accused Gessler of misusing state money for a personal trip. “Our concern is with the trip as a whole; that the flight to Tampa was booked in the first place,” Toro said.
Gessler first attended an election-law training seminar in Sarasota, before heading to the convention in Tampa. Taxpayer money paid for $1,452.52 – which was not the full cost of the trip.
The Denver DA’s office reviewed the information uncovered by Colorado Ethics Watch and deemed the accusations worthy of a criminal investigation, which remains underway. “The core issue is the use of political office for partisan gain,” Toro said. “When people vote for an elected official, that office is not a prize that can be used to help your party win the next election. You’re actually supposed to serve the people.” No charges have been filed.