Hickenlooper Avoids Confrontation of His Ethics Violations and Tara Reade's Allegations in Primary Debate

Posted: Jun 11, 2020 9:30 AM
Hickenlooper Avoids Confrontation of His Ethics Violations and Tara Reade's Allegations in Primary Debate

Source: Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times via AP

Former Colorado governor and current Senate candidate, John Hickenlooper, debated his progressive primary challenger, Andrew Romanoff, on Wednesday night. The former governor has avoided media scrutiny and attention given the convictions on his ethics violations from his tenure as Colorado’s chief executive.

Hickenlooper was asked about recent grievances from Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission (IEC), on allegations of ethical violations, which later required a subpoena to compel the former governor’s testimony; Hickenlooper ignored the subpoena until his legal team had no avenue to delay. Hickenlooper’s legal fees, while fighting a statewide ethics complaint, is funded by Colorado’s taxpayers, as the Colorado Sun’s John Frank pointed out:

“Will you take accountability for the legal fees? Do you feel an obligation to pay them [taxpayers] back since you ignored the subpoena?”

“I feel that our efforts to go out and really bring jobs back,” the governor said, before being interrupted for not answering the question.

The Senate hopeful was also asked about a former Biden aide’s allegations of sexual misconduct from the Democratic nominee. Tara Reade, a staffer to then-Senator Biden, alleges that the presidential hopeful sexually assaulted her in an encounter on Capitol Hill.

“First, let me say that any woman who comes forward and talks about the sexual assault that they’ve had to endure, they deserve to be listened to and they deserve to be believed. I look at Tara Reade as someone who has shown a great deal of courage to come forward, and talk about what happened to her. It's standard that you go through a process of vetting and examining these types of allegations, and this is certainly a very complicated case,” Hickenlooper said, when asked about Reade’s allegations. “In the end, I still support Joe Biden for president, absolutely.” 

When pressed by Frank if the Senate hopeful believes Reade’s claims, Hickenlooper deflected:

Frank: “Yes or no, do you believe her allegations? Do you believe Tara Reade?”

Hickenlooper: “I believe…”

Frank: “Yes, or no? Do you believe her allegations?”

Hickenlooper: “To a large extent, yes.”

The former governor was held in contempt of a subpoena by the IEC, as he avoided confronting allegations of ethics violations. He faces a primary election  on  June 30 to be Colorado’s Democratic nominee for the Senate, to face incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, in November. Colorado’s IEC is still weighing sanctions for the former governor’s ethics violations.