DENVER — Former Colorado State Rep. Jenise May told The Colorado Independent yesterday she was unaware she could not be both a candidate for office and a staff member for the Speaker of the state House at the same time. 

According to the Independent:

The next year, she ran for state Senate and stirred controversy when she took a job as an advisor to the Democratic Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst after she filed her candidacy. Candidates for office can’t, by law, work in the legislature. The ensuing Republican outcry prompted May to withdraw from the race.

“It wasn’t dishonest. We just didn’t know,” she says, adding, “I’m human. Mistakes happen.”

May re-entered the race last September.

May closed her campaign for state Senate at the end of the 2015 legislative session after Compass Colorado alerted Durango Herald reporter Peter Marcus to May’s conflict as both a paid staffer and candidate. Upon questioning by Marcus, May literally exited capitol building in the middle of a work day

As one of the top advisors to the Speaker of the Colorado House, May was given a handbook upon her hiring explicitly stating she could not be both staff and a candidate.

Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado responded to May’s statement she didn’t know she was breaking the rules: “Either May was dishonest in her assertion she didn’t know the rules, or she was negligent in choosing to not read them when handed to her, in neither scenario is Jenise May showing the kind of character Coloradans deserve in the Senate.”