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Impeachment resolution against Secretary Griswold introduced in Colorado House

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Impeachment resolution against Secretary Griswold introduced in Colorado House

Apr 05, 2024 | 11:23 am ET
By Quentin Young
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Impeachment resolution against Secretary Griswold introduced in Colorado House
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Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul López address members of the news media during a press conference at the Denver Elections Division on Super Tuesday in Denver, March 5, 2024. (Kevin Mohatt for Colorado Newsline)

Republicans in the Colorado state House of Representatives on Thursday introduced a resolution to impeach Secretary of State Jena Griswold over her agreement with the Colorado Supreme Court that former President Donald Trump should be barred from the ballot under a provision of the U.S. Constitution.

Seventeen of the 19 Republicans in the House sponsor the resolution, which is led by Reps. Ryan Armagost of Berthoud and Rose Pugliese of Colorado Springs. No Democrats sponsor it.

Statewide officers under the Colorado Constitution can be impeached for “high crimes or misdemeanors or malfeasance in office.” The resolution says that support expressed by Griswold, a Democrat who oversees the administration of elections in Colorado, for Trump’s disqualification from the ballot violated her duty to remain neutral and constitutes “malfeasance in office, dereliction of duty, unfitness for office, and abuse of the public trust.”

“To protect the citizens of Colorado from the threat of any future denials of constitutional rights, it is appropriate for Secretary Griswold to be impeached and removed from office,” the resolution says.

Impeachment effort launched by Colorado House Republicans against secretary of state

“The Colorado Republican Party continues to focus on conspiracies and political games,” Griswold said in a statement. “I will not be intimidated by this baseless proceeding. While Republican House Legislators waste taxpayer dollars to score cheap political points, I’ll be doing my job of ensuring every Colorado voter — Republican, Democratic, and Unaffiliated alike — can make their voices heard in free and fair elections.”

Republican Reps. Stephanie Luck of Penrose and Rod Bockenfeld of Watkins are the only two Republicans not listed as sponsors on the resolution. Both have been frequently absent from the legislative session, Luck due to maternity leave and Bockenfeld due to health issues.

The resolution is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee. Armagost and Pugliese will be allowed to present four witnesses and the Democratic chair, Mike Weissman, will be allowed to present four witnesses, selected “in consultation with” Griswold, according to a press release from House Democrats. Griswold will also be allowed to testify.

“Hearing this resolution in the Judiciary committee will limit the time wasted on this topic, while respecting that it is a top priority for House Republicans to have it introduced and openly debated,” House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Dillon Democrat, said in a statement. “In an age when misinformation and conspiracy theories attack the integrity of our elections, we believe a public hearing to set the record straight on this issue is in the best interest of our democracy.”

Democrats hold strong majorities in the state House and Senate, and not even the resolution sponsors expect it to succeed.

Six Republican and unaffiliated voters last year, citing Trump’s actions around the Jan. 6 insurrection, filed a lawsuit in state district court to block Trump from the state ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits a person who “engaged in insurrection” after taking an oath to support the Constitution from holding office again.

The case reached the Colorado Supreme Court, which agreed with the plaintiffs and ruled Trump disqualified, but that decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court last month.

Griswold was a defendant in the case and took a neutral position in the legal proceeding. After the state Supreme Court ruling, she said, “Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and was disqualified under the Constitution from the Colorado Ballot. The Colorado Supreme Court got it right.”

The state House can impeach by majority vote, and the state Senate has the power to convict with a two-thirds majority.