Annie Kao to Become State Government Ethics Commissioner

Denver lawyer Annie Kao is taking on a new challenge. The veteran outdoor industry lawyer is the newest member of the state’s Independent Ethics Commission

The Colorado House of Representatives authorized Kao’s appointment yesterday. She was nominated by Speaker Alec Garnett as one of the members of the panel created by the voters in 2006 to police the state’s politicians.

“I have taken the decision to appoint Ms. Kao with the utmost care and responsibility, and I have no doubt that she will fulfill her duties efficiently and with dignity,” Garnett said. “Her dedication to justice, equity, and ethics is evident in her years of legal experience at the highest level.”

Kao is a former in-house counsel at Vail Resorts. She has also represented several other of the state’s leading ski resorts, including Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Whistler Blackcomb. Kao is a former litigator at Hogan Lovells and Brownstein Hyatt, and founded Ascent Inclusion Consulting last year. The enterprise aims to advance diversity, equity and inclusion goals in the outdoor industry. 

A former clerk to the late Colorado Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, Kao is an active member of the Colorado Asian American Pacific Bar Association. The former ski instructor is also a director of the Share Winter Foundation, which seeks to broaden access to winter sports. She is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and Amherst College.

The House approved Kao’s nomination on a 45-20 vote.

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