Scott Gessler
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The Associated Press file

Then Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler answers a question during a 2014 debate of Colorado Republican gubernatorial hopefuls in Denver.

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After six-plus years and more than $500,000 of taxpayer expense, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler has paid the state his $1,514.88 fine for ethics violations.

Gessler improperly tapped $1,278.90 in state funds to pay for a trip to a Republican National Lawyers Association conference in August 2012, shortly before the Republican National Convention, said a 2012 complaint filed with Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission.

Then he asked his staff to give him $117.99 left in a discretionary account but did not provide receipts, the complaint said.

The ethics commission ruled that both disbursements violated state ethics law, and Gessler reimbursed the state for the $1,278.90. But he paid neither the discretionary funds nor a $1,396.89 fine levied by the commission.

That $1,514.88 now has been paid, commission Executive Director Dino Ioannides said Monday.

Gessler appealed the commission’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging its jurisdiction. Not one judge — from Denver District Court to the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court — agreed with his argument.

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The fine was stayed by a Denver District Court judge in 2013 until the legal process was concluded. That was last October, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request for a hearing. Taxpayers paid for legal counsel on both sides, at a cost of more than $515,000.

In other business Monday, the commission delayed a hearing on an ethics complaint filed against former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, now a newly elected Colorado Springs city councilman.

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