When Colorado state Treasurer Walker Stapleton was running for re-election in 2014, his opponent accused him of not showing up for work after records revealed he only swiped in at his office with his electronic key card about 10 times a month.
But since the 2014 election, records show, Stapleton has only swiped in once, raising new questions about his work ethic as he runs for governor.
Stapleton’s attendance has become a campaign issue after he criticized his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, for missing votes in Washington ahead of the primary election in June.
According to Colorado State Patrol records obtained by the American Ledger, Stapleton last used his key card to enter his office at Capitol in Denver on Nov. 11, 2014, one week after he was re-elected.
The Colorado State Patrol told Denver 7 (KMGH-TV) last month that key cards aren’t the only way to gain access to the Capitol, as some officials opt to use public entrances, but other high-ranking Treasury Department officials — including Deputy Treasurer Ryan Parsell and Chief Investment Officer Maruti More — regularly check in with their key cards.
Democrats have also cited anecdotal evidence.
A state representative tweeted in August that she had “never seen” Stapleton at the Capitol in her four years in office, and state House Speaker Crisanta Duran told Denver 7 said she had rarely seen Stapleton.
“Walker himself is a person I just have not seen a lot in the last eight sessions that I’ve been here,” Duran told the station.
In an interview with Colorado Public Radio earlier this year, Stapleton said he was at home in bed when the House voted to reform the state’s pension system — one of the most important responsibilities in the treasurer’s portfolio — as it faced a $32 billion shortfall.
He denied trying to kill the legislation, which required employees to contribute more of their salaries and raised the retirement age to 64, by saying he was asleep at the time.
“I wanted to try and get the best deal possible until the last minute possible,” he said of the legislation. “I was not physically even at the legislature. I think I was asleep by the time they finally passed the deal, which was 30 minutes prior to midnight.”
In May, the political website Colorado Pols posted video of Stapleton telling a conservative group earlier in the year that traffic was so bad in Denver that he shouldn’t bother coming in when there is a bad weather.
“I live south of the city and my commute used to be a reliable 15 minutes when I started as treasurer. Now it’s a reliable 45 minutes,” he said. “And if there’s rain or snow, I might as well stay in bed for an extra hour or hang out at home, because I’m not going to get to work.”