In a follow up to a post last week, Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced this past Tuesday that he dropped plans to moonlight for his old law firm. Not because he was uncomfortable about shorting taxpayers with his time commitment, but because his old firm “expressed great discomfort” over the potential need to disclose the names of clients. According to local reports, Gessler has asked the attorney general’s office to stop exploring the legality of his request, adding: "I will not go forward with my initial plans."
Gessler had been criticized sharply since saying last month he would work 20 hours a month for the Hackstaff Law Group, formerly Hackstaff Gessler. The firm specializes in campaign and elections law and has represented a number of Republican-aligned clients. The newly elected secretary of state said his $68,500 salary wasn’t enough and that he needed the extra money.
Critics said the arrangement presented at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for Gessler to be getting paychecks from a law firm with business before the secretary of state’s office, even though Gessler said he would not be working on elections or campaign cases. Gessler also had insisted he would show no special treatment toward his former firm.
And, as The Denver Post succinctly observed: Critics pointed out that Gessler knew what the salary was before he ran for office.