Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Complaint to allege Zakhem offered contributions, asked for Balmer's support

A House GOP member will file a formal complaint by the end of the week alleging that former state GOP general counsel John Zakhem called Republican legislators offering campaign contributions in connection with supporting David Balmer for House Minority Leader, according to a Republican source.

The source didn't say which House member would file the complaint, except to say that it was a male GOP legislator.

Lobbyists are restricted from interfering with leadership elections under House rules. But it was unclear whether the complaint would allege Zakhem offered a quid pro quo to the legislator.

Zakhem did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

Balmer and state Rep. Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) are vying to succeed House Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker), who announced last week he would resign to focus on his hotel business. Tuesday, May temporary pulled back his resignation, saying in a statement that “that outside influences may have attempted to interfere with the leadership election” to succeed him.

The GOP source urged caution about the complaints, saying, "there are a lot of political motivations at play here."

Erik Groves, an attorney working at Zakhem's law firm, Zakhem Atherton, told the Denver Post Tuesday that he heard he had been "implicated" in the matter. Groves is a lobbyist for the Colorado Chiropractic Association.

The GOP source said other members of the Chiropractic Association -- including chiropractors -- have contacted legislators urging them to support Balmer.

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