New TV ad rips Morse over 2011 per diem complaint

Senate President John Morse announces Democrats' gun control proposals at the Capitol in February.

Senate President John Morse announces Democrats’ gun control proposals at the Capitol in February.

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DENVER — Laura Carno, the conservative activist whose non-profit group helped fund petition gatherers to put a recall election on the ballot, is up with her first TV ad of the recall campaign.

The spot, which will begin airing on Colorado Springs television stations Thursday, attacks Senate President John Morse, a Democrat, over an ethics complaint filed against Morse in 2009 over his alleged misuse of per diem he opted to receive from the state when the legislature was out of session.

“Sen. Morse, you charged us for days you got your hair cut, and when you went golfing,” Carno says in the ad. “We didn’t elect you to be king, Sen. Morse.”

The per diem ethics complaint was filed in 2011 concerning expenses filed in 2009. All lawmakers are eligible to collect daily per diem during the 120-day legislative session, and Morris in 2009 was one of 11 lawmakers to bill for the full 120 days.

But Morse also billed taxpayers $99 a day for leadership pay on 206 or 239 days when the legislature is out of session, which lawmakers in leadership positions are allowed to do — that was the focus of the complaint.

The complaint was dismissed by a panel charged to investigate, but conservatives have continued to hit Morse over the per diem issue, even noting that the ethics committee that cleared him was dominated by Democrats.

Morse’s Chief of Staff, Kjersten Forseth, who is on leave from that job and serving as an advisory during the recall campaign, fired back at Carno’s group, “I Am Created Equal”, for focusing on distracting side issues.

Along with Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, Morse is facing a Sept. 10 recall election over his support of gun control legislation; his campaign, however, has also sought to change the subject, focusing on his Republican opponent, Bernie Herpin, and his support for the concept of personhood.

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