Colorado’s saga of no-bid contract corruption continues. The Brighton Standard-Blade is reporting that two Adams County Commissioners received campaign contributions from a paving company owner who holds millions of dollars in sole source contracts from the county (H/T Complete Colorado):
According to the Colorado Secretary of Stateâ€™s website, the election committees of Commissioners Alice Nichol and W.R. “Skip” Fischer received $1,000 from Jerry Rhea, president of Quality Paving Co. According to a Channel 7 news investigation last month, Rhea is a friend of Adams County Public Works Director Lee Asay. Asay was placed on administrative leave after the investigation found he awarded $12 million in no-bid contracts to Rheaâ€™s company.
Rheaâ€™s contributions to the commissionersâ€™ campaigns were legally recorded with the Secretary of State and Nichol and Fischer both said their committees will keep the funds. They said the fact that the money came from Rhea will not affect their decision-making processes as commissioners.
â€œI think the bottom line is: Was there something improperly done by taking a contribution? And, absolutely not,â€ Nichol said. â€œThere were no promises made with any contributor, whether it be him or anyone else.â€
This is hardly a new phenomenon. About 8 weeks ago, the Denver Post reported on the no-bid contracts awarded to state senator Abel Tapia.
In the Adams County case, there is at the very least an appearance of corruption. But rather than take the officials’ word that there is no “pay-to-play” scheme, government contracting reform would require Rhea to forfeit the right to make political contributions as long as he held the no-bid contract.
Problem solved. Clean government assured.