Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dougan faces claim of ethics violation

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Angela Dougan, who's running for re-election in the north District 2 City Council race in the April 2 election, has been accused by another candidate of violating the city's Ethics Code.

Angela Dougan April 2 city election
  • Dougan: Accused of ethics breach.

Bill Murray, who recently said he would throw his support to another candidate in District 2, Joel Miller, submitted the allegation to the City Attorney's Office yesterday. Here it is:

Ethics_complaint.pdf

The upshot is that Dougan accepted a $1,000 campaign donation in July 2011 but didn't list it on her campaign finance report until December 2012. The donation was previously listed in April 2012 on Dougan's annual financial disclosure form, which you can see here.

Here's more from Murray via e-mail:

We did not know about it for 10 months after she received it. For practical purposes its buried within a yearly financial filing and was hard to discover. What happened to self-policing? She should have asked her colleges what they thought of this transaction, but did not. She is in the forgiveness not permission mode.
Eight of the nine Council members knew better. When you look at the financial filings, she is the only one to receive funds until the election cycle started approx Nov 2012.
When you look at what she spent the money for, it seems to be personal expenses coached as political activities. The reason I filed was because she did not respond to my questions and told me that Mr Melcher [city attorney Chris Melcher] had told her there was no conflict of interest. I find that incredibly suspect and asked for documentation (which she has not provided).
I argue its a slippery slope. Once you go down it, it becomes easier. Notice that she has accepted another $1000 from COMCAST this go around. Why would a franchise, doing business with this city, give money to a candidate? There is only one answer. And its not good.

We tried to contact Comcast but couldn't get through on the local number. "All circuits are busy," the recording said.

In addition to the complaint, Murray also sent the following message to the City Attorney's Office:

1. To my knowledge this is the first time a sitting City Council member has ever accepted monies from a franchisee.
2. Ordinance No 12-51 (July 10th/second reading on July 24th) entitled "AN ORDINANCE APPROVING A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH QWEST BROADBAND SERVICES, INC., D/B/A CENTURYLINK and THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS" was opposed both times by Ms Dougan (direct competitor with COMCAST)
3. When I asked Ms Dougan why she had not offered to recuse herself from these proceedings, she told me that she had asked the City Attorney, Mr Melcher, and he told her she did not have to notify the Council nor remove herself from this voting. I have asked Ms Dougan for documentation that would verify these statements. I've received no response.

We've contacted Melcher to verify or refute Dougan's statements and will update if and when we hear back from him.

Dougan says Murray's allegations are obviously politically motivated, because he's bringing up the matter three weeks before the election when there's not enough time for the Independent Ethics Commission to investigate the allegations and make a ruling prior to the April 2 city election.

"These accusations are completely politically motivated," she says in an interview. "They are false, and I will be completely exonerated."

She notes that she consulted with the City Clerk's Office about how and when to report the Comcast donation, and followed the advice of that office. She also notes that contrary to Murray's claims, Val Snider and Merv Bennett also received $1,000 each in donations from Comcast at roughly the same time she did. When Council voted on Comcast's rival CenturyLink's proposal in summer 2012, she disclosed verbally the donation and asked if she was conflicted because of it. City Attorney Chris Melcher asked if the donation swayed her vote, and she said no and was told she could cast a vote. Dougan opposed CenturyLink's proposal, because it didn't go far enough to serve the southeast portion of the city, she says.

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