The Pueblo Chieftain

DENVER — The state Independent Ethics Commission has voted to proceed on an ethics complaint against Gov. John Hickenlooper by calling for further review without indicating a violation occurred.

The conservative political group Compass Colorado claims Hickenlooper violated a gift-ban provision by allowing the Democratic Governors Association to pick up costs for a conference this summer in Aspen.

The governor’s office said exemptions allowed the association to cover costs for Hickenlooper, who hosted the July event and spoke at the conference.

The attendance fee was $350 per person, and room rates were $425 a night for two nights.

After the commission vote on Monday, the attorney general’s office will contact Compass Colorado and the governor’s office so the process can begin, said Matt Smith, current chairman of the five-member commission.

“We look forward to further review of this complaint,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. “There is certainly a need for additional clarification and precedent when it comes to Amendment 41.”

Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown has said the complaint has no merit.

“These allegations are motivated 100 percent by people playing political games and have no basis in fact,” Brown said.