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Ethics complaint goes forward against Colorado state Sen. Vicki Marble

October 30, 2017 Updated: October 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm
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photo - FILE - In this March, 5, 2009, file photo, Vicki Marble, a Larimer County bail business owner, speaks during an interview in Loveland, Colo. A Cub Scout was kicked out of his group after he questioned Republican state Sen. Marble about gun control and previous contentious comments she made about African-Americans. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)
FILE - In this March, 5, 2009, file photo, Vicki Marble, a Larimer County bail business owner, speaks during an interview in Loveland, Colo. A Cub Scout was kicked out of his group after he questioned Republican state Sen. Marble about gun control and previous contentious comments she made about African-Americans. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File) 

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission voted unanimously Monday to issue subpoenas to state Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins; her legislative aide, Sheryl Fernandez; and an oil and gas company that paid for a Marble town hall in February.

The complaint against Marble alleged that Extraction Oil and Gas paid for the Feb. 15 town hall, potentially a violation of the state's limit on gifts to lawmakers.

Sarah Hall Mann of Broomfield filed the complaint after attending the event. She wrote that Brian Cain, a media relations employee of Extraction, paid the bill for the event at CB & Potts in the Flatirons Crossing mall.

State law prohibits legislators from accepting gifts valued at more than $59. While the cost of the town hall isn't known, Mann said 50 to 75 people attended the event, and each was given two coupons for free alcoholic beverages.

The Colorado Independent reported in May that the room rental on a weeknight is $50 to $100, "a tray of sliders is $160; one veggie tray is another $75 and salads range from $60 to $75." Each platter would serve 25 guests.

The event was one long ad for the oil and gas industry, Mann told the Colorado Independent in May.

Cain has not responded to numerous calls and emails seeking clarification on the costs; Marble has declined to discuss the complaint.

The question of Fernandez's involvement comes from how those who wanted to attend sent in their requests. Fernandez listed her personal email and phone number rather than the legislative accounts set up for her as a legislative aide.

The commission's executive director, Dino Ioannides, asked the commission Monday to have the subpoenas issued.

Marble's attorney, Marcy Glenn of Holland and Hart, said Marble has fully cooperated with the investigation at every opportunity, as has Fernandez, whom Glenn does not represent.

But Ioannides said Extraction Oil and Gas referred him to the company's legal counsel, who has yet to respond to any of his requests for information.

Ioannides said the subpoenas are necessary to obtain records and documents possessed by others. But Mann said Cain paid for the event with a credit card, at the direction of another Extraction employee.

A hearing on the complaint is set for Jan. 8 or 9. The commission wouldn't be prepared by its next meeting Nov. 29, Glenn said, and the Dec. 21 meeting would be difficult for some because of the holidays.

A hearing on the complaint is now tentatively scheduled for Jan. 8 or 9. The Colorado General Assembly convenes for its 2018 session on Jan. 10.

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