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Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State is using state money to pay for a $475 hat.
Wayne Williams (R-Colorado Springs) took state money to buy a $1,500 wardrobe for a cybersecurity conference, The Denver Post reports. In detail, the wardrobe includes a $475 cowboy hat, $349.80 tuxedo pants, and $699.60 dress boots. Additionally, Williams owns a pair of $327 boot-cut travel jeans purchased with state money in 2016.
The money for the $475 hat comes from a $5,000 discretionary fund, The Denver Post claims. The state legislature designed the fund for “pursuance of official business as each elected official sees fit.” To explain, the Secretary of State is an elected official in Colorado.
The money in the discretionary fund comes from fees paid on business and campaign filings. Thus, Colorado Democrats helped pay for a Republican official’s clothes by filing to run for office.
Official Needs $475 Hat For Cybersecurity Conference
Significantly, The Post does not say why Williams needed a $475 hat for a cybersecurity conference. In addition, the newspaper does not say how a $1,500 wardrobe helps Williams do his job.
Williams thinks he needs a $475 hat to take part in the Denver Rustlers. The Denver Rustlers is a private, nonprofit group that raises money to support the Colorado State Fair Junior Livestock Sale. The Post does not mention how a $475 hat and $699 boots help Williams raise money for the Livestock Sale.
As a result, Williams’s $475 hat purchase probably violates state rules. To clarify, state law restricts the use of the fund to official business. Obviously, raising money for a livestock sale is not official business.
On the other hand, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert claims Williams bought the $475 hat and $1,500 wardrobe for “official functions.” However, Staiert did not say what official functions require a $475 cowboy hat.
Secretary Of State Needs $475 Hat For Official Activities
“He wouldn’t otherwise buy those things except for official activities he has to attend that require that kind of attire,” Staiert told The Denver Post. Notably, Williams did not speak to The Post about the $475 hat.
Moreover, Staiert did not say why Williams cannot pay for his own clothes and hat. Williams is an attorney who practices law part-time. Consequently, he can probably pay for a hat.
However, the $475 hat will come back to haunt Williams soon. The Secretary of State is facing re-election on November 6, 2018. In particular, Williams is being challenged by Democrat Jena Griswold of Louisville.
Griswold is likely to bring the $1,500 wardrobe up on the campaign trail. In fact, Griswold is a veteran of former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort.
In detail, the Colorado Secretary of State’s duties include overseeing voter registration and elections, enforcing campaign finance laws, business registration, and lobbyist registration. Williams did not reveal how his expensive hat helps him perform those duties.
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