Statehouse Ethics Panel Sets Parameters in Bradford Investigation

February 7, 2012

DENVER, CO– The House Ethics Committee convened Monday to hash out preliminary guidelines for the investigation into allegations that Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, received special treatment by Denver Police officers on Jan. 25, who was cited for careless driving and an improper turn – but was not administered sobriety tests though the legislator had been drinking.

The committee is asking news media to provide videos of interviews withBradford, and the Denver Police Department to produce copies of the traffic citations and any relevant reports by5 p.m.Thursday, Feb. 10.

They also have requested thatBradfordproduce receipts, emails, phone texts and voice messages, and a written statement if she chooses to do.

Bradfordsaid that she has no intention of testifying before the committee comprised of Chairman Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs; vice chair Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, and members Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling; Rep. Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland; and Judy Solano, D-Brighton.

Bradfordsaid that she cannot discuss the Jan. 25 incident because charges are pending. The Denver District Attorney’s office has decided not to pursue the misdemeanor charge of carrying a handgun while under the influence; however,Bradfordmay attempt to plea down the two traffic citations, also misdemeanors, to a single, lesser infraction inDenvercity court.

After House Speaker Frank McNulty announced his decision to convene the House Ethics Committee to investigate the incident,Bradfordhas railed against the House leadership – threatening to become a Democrat or unaffiliated. The threat to the Republican majority has raised the dander of Republicans in the House and concern of state GOP Chair Ryan Call.

McNulty stripped Bradford of her chairmanship of the House Local Government Committee, and transferred her to the House Health & Environment Committee as a member.

Bradfordmade a public apology before the House, but members of the House and Republicans in the legislator’s district inMesaCountysaid the legislator fell short of taking responsibility for her drinking and driving.

Bradfordnow says that she repeatedly asked for but was denied a breathalyzer test during the traffic stop, and had it been administered, she would have been vindicated of the drunken driving assumptions that now cloud her reputation.

Though it was initially reported thatBradfordhad invoked a state Constitution amendment that prevents legislators from being arrested during the session, the Denver Police Department apologized for that misstatement and clarified thatBradfordhad asked to be treated like any other citizen.

One of the most important issues that House Ethics Committee will review is the Denver Police Department’s clarification and whether the police officers were influenced by Bradford, who claimed that she had been at a legislative function on the night of the incident and needed to be in the legislature the next morning.

Bradfordlater said she’d had three glasses or more of wine at the Prohibition, a bar and restaurant onColfax Avenuejust east of the Capitol. Witnesses said she was there from about7 – 10 p.m.; and unclear is whether she or lobbyists bought those drinks. If it was lobbyists, it may violate Amendment 41 that sets severe limitations on gifts from lobbyists, particularly during the session.

The Committee members will review evidence over the weekend and reconvene Monday, Feb. 12.

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