Scott Gessler -- make that $cott Ge$$ler -- has been elected as our $hmuck of the Week

You know that birthday present you bought for Scott Gessler? He sold it. And that bottle of wine you brought to the party? He sold that, too. In fact, Gessler, Colorado's new Secretary of State, has no problem looking a gift horse in the mouth -- and then extracting the gold fillings and melting them down. Gessler's financial fixation began last week, when he announced that his new job -- the one he campaigned for on other people's money -- didn't pay enough.

To make up the difference, he said he'd have to supplement his $68,500 income by continuing to work for his old firm, the Hackstaff Law Group. That law group, by the way, specializes in election law and campaign finance, which Gessler now regulates.

Not only is this insincere -- why did he run for Secretary of State if it didn't pay his mortgage? -- but it also presents a massive conflict of interest for a position that requires its holder to be one of the most ethical, neutral persons in the state. Several organizations, like Ethics Watch, have pointed this out.

But Gessler didn't stop there. This week, he also said he'd reverse a decision made by his predecessor, Bernie Buescher, to turn over $3.5 million of surplus money from his office to the state's general fund -- in order to assist with Colorado's budget woes.

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"These are business fees that businesses pay in for business services," Gessler told the Denver Post this week. "I understand that they're used to help elections. But I don't think that these business fees should be used for general tax dollars, and that's what would happen if they're transferred to the general fund."

Instead, Gessler says he will use the money to pay his mortgage help prevent people from using publicly available information from his office to perpetrate business identity theft and other unnamed uses that he hasn't figured out yet.

Good luck with that, Mr. Gessler, we'll be ac-counting on you.

For more Shmucks, visit our Shmuck of the Week archive.


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