Colorado ex-Gov. Hickenlooper's travel ethics probe released

DENVER (AP) — A report from the Colorado Ethics commission released Thursday came to no conclusion about whether former governor and current U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper's use of private planes during his time in office violated state laws but detailed trips to Connecticut, Wyoming and elsewhere on the jets.

The report is the result of an investigation into a complaint filed by a former Republican speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives that alleged Hickenlooper, a Democrat challenging GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, violated the state's limits on gifts to elected officials.

Hickenlooper's attorneys have contended the complaint is groundless and designed to damage his political prospects.

The report comes to no conclusion — the commission will schedule a hearing over the report in the coming months and rule on it — but details some of the trips the former governor made.

Some of the trips, such as a flight on a private jet to officiate at the wedding of entrepreneur Elon Musk's brother in Texas, Hickenlooper paid for. But at least one was paid for by a company owned by one of Hickenlooper's friend and political backers, billionaire Larry Mizel, who is a Republican.

In March of 2018, Hickenlooper flew on a jet owned by Mizel's company, MDC Holdings, to Connecticut to preside at the naming of the USS Colorado, a U.S. Navy submarine. He also detoured to Jackson Hole to give a speech to a conference during a flight on a private plane leased by his then-chief of staff, Pat Meyers, from Washington, DC to Denver in August of 2018.

Colorado law prohibits gifts worth more than $59 to elected officials with limited exceptions.