Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ethics Committee to Look Into Allegations Against Balmer

A bipartisan committee of House members will investigate allegations that assistant minority leader David Balmer, R-Centennial, attempted to improperly influence colleagues' votes in the race to replace Rep. Mike May, R-Parker, as minority leader.

The committee, which was announced by speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, today, includes five veteran legislators.

Members of the ethics committee, which will consider a complaint filed against Balmer on Dec. 16, include Reps. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, Joel Judd, D-Denver, Claire Levy, D-Boulder, Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, and Ken Summers, R-Lakewood.

The complaint against Balmer, which was filed by May, alleges that Balmer attempted to coordinate a campaign contribution by a professional association in exchange for a vote in his favor in the GOP caucus meeting. It also alleges that Balmer promised a future committee chairmanship to another legislator in exchange for his or her vote for Balmer as the new minority leader.

As a Rocky Mountain News article on the ethics controversy points out, the partisan makeup of this committee is different from the one that investigated Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, last session. That committee has three Democrats and three Republicans.

Balmer is accused of violating House Rule 49b, which requires that ethics committees assigned to investigate such allegations "shall be in proportion generally to the relative number of members of the two major political parties in the House."