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Secretary of state dismisses complaint over Polis’ investment

Author: Joey Bunch - October 19, 2018 - Updated: October 19, 2018

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polisJared Polis, right, and Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs talk during Polis’ Health Care Policy announcement event Sept. 17 in Frisco. (Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News via AP)

The Secretary of State’s Office on Friday dismissed a complaint that alleged Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis failed to disclose his investment in a health care company that benefited from Obamacare.

Republicans alleged the company he co-founded, BridgeHealth Medical Inc., traded in medical tourism for Americans getting health care less expensively in other countries.

Colorado Politics was the first to tell you last week that former Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed the complaint on behalf of Kristina Cook, a conservative radio personality and official with Denver County Republican Party.

RELATED: GOP complaint targets Polis’ investment in medical tourism

“The complainant fails to allege a violation of Colorado campaign finance law,” the ruling states. “The complainant alleges that Respondent failed to disclose certain financial interests on his PFD, which he filed with the Secretary of State on June 20, 2017  …. Respondent timely filed his PFD on June 20, 2017, within ten days of filing his candidate affidavit for governor on June 12, 2017.”

Because the complaint didn’t cite a violation of state, the Secretary of State’s Office did not dig into other issues, including whether Polis used his position as a member of Congress to help BridgeHealth by helping pass the Affordable Care Act.

Polis disclosed the investment in congressional disclosure forms.

Democratic operatives also have previously argued to Colorado Politics that the Affordable Care Act did nothing to help or hurt medical tourism. Last year the medical industry predicted medical tourism would soar if Republicans repealed Obamacare.

The Polis campaign declined to comment Friday morning.

“I think what the secretary of state just said is as long as he files it on time, then it’s OK to lie,” Cook told Colorado Politics after the ruling came out.

The secretary of state is Wayne Williams, a Republican up for re-election on Nov. 6. Williams succeeded Gessler in 2014, when Gessler ran for governor instead of seeking a second term. Gessler, before and after holding office, is an elections lawyer.

Gessler said he would not criticize his predecessor or former staff, but “I think it’s a very cramped and unworkable interpretation of the statute.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.