U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Windsor must defend actions he took as Colorado Republican Party chairman or face a possible investigation by a state office that oversees attorneys’ conduct.
A representative for the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation wrote to Buck earlier this month asking that he answer questions about a recorded conversation in which he pressured a local party official to submit incorrect election results to set the primary ballot for a state Senate seat in El Paso County.
In the letter, obtained by The Denver Post, the office’s Lisa E. Pearce wrote that she needs more context before determining whether to investigate a complaint from a member of the liberal group ProgressNow Colorado.
Pearce asked Buck:
- “Did you request Eli Bremer sign a false affidavit? If yes, please explain why. If not, please explain what you intended by your questions to Mr. Bremer during your audio recorded conversation with him.”
- “Do you believe your conduct in the audio recorded conversation you had with Mr. Bremer violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) or any other Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct? If not, please explain why not.”
Colorado RPC 8.4(c) says: “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to … engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, except that a lawyer may advise, direct, or supervise others, including clients, law enforcement officers, or investigators, who participate in lawful investigative activities.”
Buck has until June 24 to reply to the letter. A representative for the state Republican Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The complainant, Alan Franklin, political director for ProgressNow Colorado, said in a statement he is pleased that the office is investigating. He had asked the office to consider whether Buck should be disbarred.
“The Republican volunteer who Buck demanded commit this crime knew what he was being asked to do was wrong, and as a licensed attorney and former prosecutor Buck has a higher obligation to not engage in such deception,” Franklin said.
The ordeal was enough for some Republicans to question Buck’s status as state party chair. Although other political allies have rushed to his defense, arguing that he meant only to uphold a party committee’s vote during an internal dispute, the matter was also settled in court after a Bremer ally filed a friendly lawsuit.
The Denver District Court chief judge ruled that filing the paperwork would have indeed been illegal. The Colorado Supreme Court cemented the decision when it declined to hear the Republican Party’s appeal.
While the office awaits a response from Buck, allegations of election fraud and corruption made against several Weld County Republicans — including one of Buck’s congressional aides — remain under consideration by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
A spokesperson for Phil Weiser declined to comment Thursday on the status of the complaints filed by Weld County GOP Chair Will Sander claiming that three people were falsely listed as party delegates.
Both Sander and Bremer have said they’ve resolved their differences with Buck.
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