Ethics panel dismisses allegations against Colorado lawmaker

Jared Polis
FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2014, file photo, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. speaks inside the Capitol in Denver. The House Ethics Committee has voted to dismiss allegations that Polis inappropriately promoted two businesses. Polis faced scrutiny for his associations with a video game company and with a menswear company in his district. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Monday it was dismissing allegations that Democratic Rep. Jared Polis inappropriately promoted two businesses when he appeared in promotional material for a video game company and got a makeover from a Colorado menswear store.

Polis appeared in a video released this year by Riot Games, the company that produces the video game “League of Legends.” Polis is a fan of the game and participated in a company video that showed him working in his office and playing the game at home.

In the second matter, the committee reviewed Polis’ participation in a makeover by Boulder, Colorado-based menswear company Ninox. After a magazine wrote that Polis had the “worst congressional style ever,” Ninox offered to allow him to try on some of their clothing at an event covered by local media. Polis later bought some of the clothing and paid for it himself.

The ethics panel concluded that Polis did not violate House rules on endorsements of commercial entities. The committee noted in its report that his appearances had “substantial non-commercial, representational” purposes.

“While it does appear that both the Riot Games video and the Ninox clothing event were intended, at least in part, to promote the businesses, this is true in virtually every instance in which a business participates in or arranges an event with a member,” the panel wrote.

In a statement, Polis said he is glad the panel dismissed the matter.

“The activities — an interview I did for a website popular with gamers and a tongue-in-cheek press event lampooning my infamous fashion sense — reflect my ongoing efforts to creatively reach constituents where they are in a relevant manner,” he said.

Still, the committee noted in its report that members have to be careful.

“Members have some discretion to perform representational duties related to commercial entities, but must use caution not to take actions that could be perceived as an official endorsement of a commercial entity, or to use official resources to promote a business endeavor,” the panel wrote.

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Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

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