- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DENVER (AP) - A Colorado business group on Tuesday said it would back out of a lunch with the state’s new attorney general after questions were raised about it winning the meal at an auction.

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association won the lunch with Cynthia Coffman after bidding $500 at an auction at the Colorado Lincoln Club’s holiday gathering, which it hosted at its Denver offices last week. On Tuesday, however, association president Tim Jackson said he would give the lunch away to another organization or person. He said the group bid on the meal solely to help out the Lincoln Club and did not need special access to Coffman, a Republican.

“We have a good relationship with the new attorney general, and we’ve had numerous meetings with her,” Jackson said. “We’ll probably offer that to another nonprofit.”

Lunches with state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and four Republican state legislators were also auctioned by the Lincoln Club, a largely GOP nonprofit group, according to The Colorado Statesman, which first reported on the bidding.

Luis Toro, executive director of Colorado Ethics Watch, said he did not know if the meals were legal, but he said it was inherently questionable. “It is literally paying for access,” he said.

Coffman could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The president of the Lincoln Club did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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