The case for expelling Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) from the Colorado House of Representatives is based on a report by an outside investigator.
The accusers and Lebsock all got a copy of that report. But the lawmakers voting on whether to kick him out were not allowed to have copies-- only to inspect them.
Members were allowed to go to a room to read a redacted copy and take notes. They were told they were not allowed to take pictures or make copies.
9NEWS and KCNC tried to get into that room Wednesday morning by using Colorado's public meeting or "sunshine law.” That law says meetings between two or more lawmakers must be open to the public.
Democratic Majority Leader KC Becker threw us out of the room.
When the legislature's lawyer explained that the media had to be allowed in to at least listen if lawmakers chose to discuss the report as they reviewed it together, Becker decided to change the rules-- allowing only one lawmaker at a time to review it.
A group of lawmakers who agreed to allow the media to come in with them found themselves abrubtly tossed out of the room by Becker.
“I didn’t appreciate the way she addressed me, ripped [the report] out my hands and you know, used some language that wasn’t appropriate either under the circumstances,” Rep. Steve Humphrey (R-Weld County) said.
What Becker said to Humphrey was “Get out. You can go in my office and look at it there. Out. Not. Cool. Because I'm not being a dick to you. And you're being a dick to me. Get out.”
Members from both parties have expressed disappointment that the media-- and voters-- are not being given the report.
They argue that the public has a right to know as much as possible because expelling Lebsock amounts to overriding the will of the voters who put him in office.
Becker said she was acting on the advice of legislative attorneys who told her sexual harassment claims aren't subject to public records requests.
9NEWS did eventually get a copy of the redacted report. Cassie Tanner, one of Lebsock’s five accusers, released her copy to the media, which she is legally allowed to do.
Some House members want to be able to see the report with nothing blacked out at all.
“I definitely had problems with the redactions,” Rep. Dave Williams (R-Castle Rock) said. “It’s hard to follow. We are not going to be able to get a clear picture with those redactions.”
Becker said she was surprised at how much of the report was blacked out by Legislative Legal Service. She told 9NEWS she agrees that removing many of the names and other identifying elements in the report can make it hard to follow.
Becker is working to get a less-heavily redacted version for members to review. But says she still wants to protect the identities of the two women who have not come forward with their stories in the media.
As for her crude language, she apologized for using the “D-word” and Humphrey said he's got no issues with her.
Becker is also working to satisfy another request from the House Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock). She’s making the outside investigator available for questioning during a joint meeting Thursday morning.
In some ways Thursday's meeting will look like a trial.
In addition to the investigator, 9NEWS has learned that some of Lebsock’s accusers, witnesses to events described in the report and Lebsock himself may also choose to answer questions.
“Without having those questions answered, I can't go to extreme measure of expelling a member who I didn't elect,” Neville said. “I mean that's a pretty significant thing to do.”