Ethics debate heats up with Denver City Council and watchdog groups – FOX31 Denver
DENVER — Should Denver City officials be entitled to seemingly endless business class travel from Denver International Airport?
That’s the debate between watchdog groups and city officials Thursday.
As first reported by Colorado Public Radio, from 2013-2017 Denver city officials received over $400,000 in travel benefits from Denver International Airport.
The question becomes: Is that ethical?
The answer: Depends who you ask.
If you ask city officials the answer is yes since they believe DIA is an agency of the City of Denver and therefore gifts from DIA aren’t like gifts from lobbyists or private companies.
If you ask watchdog groups, well many disagree.
Emily Williams with DIA says its perfectly alright — and necessary for the airport to use their funds to fly elected officials around the world. It helps promote the airport in Williams’ opinion.
“These are trips budgeted by Denver International Airport, we have an enterprise fund not taxpayer dollars, and the benefit we get from taking these trips are good for the city it`s good for the airport,” Williams said.
Susan Barnes Gelt is a former city council member — who helped write original ethic codes in the city.
“I think it`s a straight out violation of ethical conduct and the intent of the ethics code,” Barnes-Gelt said.
“It was never the intent of the code to create these kinds of loopholes,” Barnes – Gelt added.
Regardless of where you stand on the debate — the law appears poised to soon change.
Councilman Kevin Flynn has introduced an ordinance allowing for agencies, like the airport, to be exempt from standard ethics laws. Flynn has also introduced a transparent measure requiring trips — like those from the airport – to be reported.