McInnis Pushed Tax Return Stonewall Too Far–Much Worse Coming?

UPDATE: So, uh, Scott McInnis went on the Caplis and Silverman Show again to talk about this tax return/sources of income/”what am I hiding” thing today, and rather than come between our readers and the goods, we give you–The Good Elk Hunter.

That’s right, folks, and Bob Beauprez trained the elk. It’s swell that McInnis shot an elk once and gave the meat to a poor family–but that’s the best example a man who said a few months ago he would “match contributions” with all comers has got? Truth is, charitable contributions are kind of a sideshow to the real reasons people want to see McInnis’ financials, but that doesn’t excuse him after giving the most rambling, self-contradictory, ridiculous answer to the question imaginable. Original post follows.

The normally understated Chuck Plunkett, Denver Post editorial board member, has had enough of Scott McInnis’ intransigence over routine personal financial disclosures:

Call me uncharitable, but when I learned of Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis’ recalcitrance over the traditional release of income tax returns, a certain radio tirade came to mind.

Anyone who read Sunday’s articles in The Denver Post contrasting the personal financial history of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to that of the former congressman’s might wonder about that August tirade as well.

In a KHOW radio interview with Craig Silverman and Dan Caplis – before Hickenlooper entered the race – an angry McInnis claimed that he is unparalleled in his charitable giving.

“I’d be happy to kind of match my contributions to the community against either one of you, for example, or against the governor or against any of my opponents,” McInnis says.

It was a truly odd comment then, and it could prove a disastrous one now.

It turns out that the mayor can clearly be called charitable, and as for McInnis, well, we just have to take his word for it…

Voters have to wonder whether the forms McInnis is hiding conceal something. Did the lawmaker make his millions from sweetheart deals and political payback?

Or is it that he’s miserly when it comes to charity? Could both things be true? We simply can’t know.

For those of you who don’t remember, Plunkett is referring to a radio interview of Scott McInnis from last year–one of the more disastrous media appearances we can recall for any major political candidate, McInnis interpreted relatively softball questions from friendly hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman as hostile, and basically melted down in a fit of nonsensical accusations and childish taunts to “match his record” on charitable donations. Considered a massive embarrassment of the kind that would kill a campaign a little later in the season, McInnis has tried mightily in subsequent months to live this interview down.

As it’s not actually possible to “match” McInnis’ record on the subject of charity, or anything else financial for that matter since he won’t disclose his financials…he’s going to have, as Mr. Plunkett makes pretty crystal-clear above, trouble living it down.

And it could be about to get worse for McInnis: we’ve been hearing rumors of much more in the way of records that McInnis doesn’t want to see the light of day, forthcoming disclosures (and fights over disclosure) that could make this business about tax returns seem like small potatoes.

Liberal activist group Progress Now sent out a press release today demanding new information from McInnis in addition to his tax returns (full text follows)–lists of lobbying clients, board memberships, and divorce records from McInnis’ first marriage that Progress Now claims have been sealed. We’ve separately heard rumors about these sealed divorce files (the same Denver Post successfully sued gubernatorial candidate Bruce Benson in 1994 for his), as well as some new alleged specifics about McInnis’ past roles on corporate and “nonprofit” boards that, if corroboration surfaces, could be extremely damaging–remember we told you these were lurking, because it looks there’s no good will left to slow them; certainly not at the Denver Post. When McInnis said that he’d “take a beating” if he cooperated with the media’s requests, he should have considered how much worse the “beating” will be if he doesn’t.

Demand for full and immediate disclosure by Scott McInnis

Why the pattern of cover-up? Why would McInnis “take a beating” by disclosing tax returns?

For Immediate Release: Monday, April 26, 2010

Contact: Bobby Clark, Executive Director, at 303-905-8375

Denver – In response to continuing refusals by former Rep. Scott McInnis–who has made millions as a lawyer-lobbyist–to release financial and other information requested by the media, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded that McInnis immediately disclose the information he is concealing from the voters of Colorado.

Coloradans have a right to full and immediate disclosure of everything Scott McInnis is hiding, including:

   * Tax returns for the same time period that his Democratic opponent already has disclosed — on April 15th on KCOL radio in Loveland McInnis admitted that he did not want to disclose his returns because he would “take a beating”, which highlights the critical importance of full and immediate disclosure

   * McInnis’ divorce records that, in a highly unusual move, have apparently been sealed–in 1994, The Denver Post and KUSA-TV successfully sued to unseal then-gubernatorial candidate Bruce Benson’s divorce records

   * List of all of McInnis’ lobbying clients and board memberships and compensation, both corporate and nonprofit, past and present, including his time in Congress

   * Records of charitable giving, from both personal funds and from his leftover congressional campaign funds

“McInnis is thumbing his nose at The Post’s routine request for basic financial disclosures, and on behalf of our network members and all Colorado voters we demand that McInnis come clean immediately,” said ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Bobby Clark. “McInnis’ admission on a conservative radio program that he won’t disclose because he would ‘take a beating’ is stunning and only highlights the critical need for complete and immediate disclosure of his financial ties as well as everything else he is hiding.”

In a column today, Post editorial board member Chuck Plunkett blasts McInnis’ continuing refusal to disclose his financial information “as almost every candidate for the office has done for years,” highlighting a radio interview from last year where McInnis angrily challenged hosts to “match my contributions to the community.” McInnis’ failure to disclose his finances makes ‘matching’ his charitable contributions impossible.

Plunkett further notes, “Voters have to wonder . . . did the lawmaker make his millions from sweetheart deals and political payback?”

“Only by releasing this information, as is routinely expected of any candidate for higher office, can McInnis prove that he can be trusted by the people of Colorado to represent them and not his longtime corporate lobbying clients,” continued ProgressNow’s Bobby Clark. “How can the voters be expected to make an informed decision when one side is concealing so much? It’s time for McInnis to come clean with the people of Colorado, or be compelled by public opinion to do so.”


92 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Froward69 says:


    Clearly Mcinnis does not think ANYONE much less some Journalist is in a position of authority over him…

    Yet if he wants to be governor he had…


    McInnis, keep it up your stubbornness/obtuse aversion to reality, will get you elected!!!

    you go there Mc-lobbyist!

  2. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    $40,000 to his wife from campaign funds – after he announced he was not running again.

    I’ve heard there’s more than just a divorce out there in “disappeared” court file land too, but I’d hate to spoil a reporter’s scoop!

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    That is going to leave a mark on Scotty.

    I’m pretty sure Ellie will find a way to blame Hickenlooper for this unfair media attention on old Ironsides.  Heck Hick released 20 years of returns according to the article

    Has Maes disclosed his tax returns?  What happens is Maes bucks the code of Republicans and does something that would be construed to be transparent and accountable?  Ouch!

    • BlueCat says:

      so much to charity on an income most people wouldn’t have thought was enough to do more than scrape by. I’m sure he had the forethought to be so damned giving all those years ago and to keep it up right up until the present just so he could make Scott McInnis look bad today.  Heck he’s probably still giving serious money away to charity, the little goody two shoes.  Have at him, Ellie.

  4. GOPwarrior says:

    Couldn’t get the tax returns, so now it’s on to Scott’s personal life is it?

    This is why America rejects Dhimmicrats. I hope you can sleep at night. What about Bill Clinton’s secret files???

  5. I’ll be honest, I have always hated this type of “he won’t disclose so what is he hiding” press release.  Both sides do it and it always annoys the hell out of me.

    There is nothing (to my knowledge) that says he has to release his papers (yes, I know it is common practice btw) but if this were a democrat that didn’t want to release their papers I’d be just as annoyed if a republican sent out some “we demand” press release.

    I’m all for playing political cards to weaken an opponent, but only when there’s something there. These “What are they hiding” releases just get old.

    • BlueCat says:

      match anybody’s record on charitable giving.  That kind of requires disclosure. And it’s not his opponent who is asking but the media asking all of them. This is McInnis shooting himself in the foot again.  He’s doing this to himself, no help from opponents required. And from what has been disclosed about Hick’s charitable giving, I don’t honestly know who could match that, percentage-wise.  Mother Teresa?

    • Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

      If you do not want your life to be public, don’t run for public office.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Democrats didn’t do anything in relation to this story.  Their candidate went over and beyond the minimum in terms of transparency.

      The fact that McInnis who is a lawyer/lobbyist and is defensive about how he made his millions doesn’t make this a Democratic gotcha trap.  The dude bragged about what a generous guy he on public radio and then makes it impossible to verify his claims.

      You can be mad at the media for highlighting this hypocrisy but it was your candidate who started the ball rolling with his phony bravado.

      • I never said he was my candidate. Don’t assume, you know what it does to you. ; )

        As I said, these type of releases come from both sides of the aisle and they’re just as annoying from either.

        I suppose what I was trying to say (I probably could have done a better job) was not so much whether McGinnis deserves it, but that the overuse of it in the political arena is annoying.

        I mean hell, where has all the civility in politics gone? ; )

        • ardy39 says:

          1) It’s McInnis

          2) Civility in politics? You might start with Newt Gingrich’s 1996 GOPAC memo.

          But anytime a candidate claims to be more pure than others, he/she is opening him/herself to close inspection. Remember the Gary Hart Monkey Business?

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          My apologies to you GFB for assuming that you are happy to have McInnis as your chosen one.  I would disavow such allegiance myself given his dismal demeanor.

          It is hard to take your question seriously regarding the civility in politics when it is obvious that the hard right crazies like Glenn Beck are going on national TV every single night and preaching hatred for Obama and liberals.  The Post is hardly a mouthpiece for liberals and the mere fact that it publishes an article pointing out McInnis’ hypocrisy hardly qualifies it as gutter journalism.

          • For my cursing. I hadn’t had dinner, was grumpy to begin with and so when you assumed I was a McInnis supporter (I spelled it right this time, yeah!) I guess I got my panties in a ruffle. So I apologize.

            Again, my point isn’t about McInnis so much as it is hating political cheap shots just for gain.

            And regarding civility in politics, I had assumed when I put the 😉 at the end of the sentence people would get the joke…but then again, we know what happens when one assumes. 😉

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              Any comment at any time can be taken out of context and extrapolated to portray anything anyone wants.

              That said, I apologize for being a knee jerk jerk.  In my nature to behave rudely with a keyboard it is.

              My observation on the lack of civility in politics is that Republicans are bankrupt in terms of creative and innovative solutions to our current problems so they have to resort to personality destruction to win races.  They have to make the other guy the evil Hitler who performs abortions with a spoon so they can be seen as the good guys in white hats who will protect the people.  They hope that they can heap enough evil on the other guy that no one notices their same old tired solutions of Reaganomics and divisive social issues.

              This is why this is a freak out moment for Republicans because they are up against someone who by and large id a likable guy and their usual candidate demonizing (Boulder liberal) formulas don’t work.  To make matters worse they have to defend a millionaire lawyer lobbyist who has a bitter public persona.  This election is supposed to be a big cake walk for Republicans even though they have nothing new to offer and to see it slipping away on personalities is an “Oh My God do something nasty quick” moment.

              I would expect to see some really insane vitriol come out about Hickenlooper so don’t be surprised when Hick gets accused of roasted puppies on his barbecue.  I wish it wasn’t so but you are dealing with people who have forgotten how to solve problems.  All they can do is manipulate the fears of others.

    • GOPwarrior says:

      They want to inspire class jealousy because Scott is successful. They want to smear his personal life because he has been through a divorce. They even want to emasculate the fact that he is a good hunter!

      Bleatings of losers

      • Nobody asked your sorry ass you sorry piece of shit.

        …now what was i saying about civility? ; )

      • BlueCat says:

        And Hickenlooper isn’t?  Once again, GOP, your guy is completely responsible for bringing this on himself. He was out there aggressively bragging. This is like Hart daring the press to catch him with his mistress; entirely self-inflicted.   And who is “they”? This didn’t come from Dems in general or from opponent Hickenlooper who, incidentally, could legitimately brag about his charitable giving but never has.

        I’ll agree about class jealousy, though. If I were a McInnis supporter I’d certainly be jealous of Hickenlooper’s obvious hands down advantage in the class department!

    • Tazistan JenTazistan Jen says:

      I regret that people have to give up every vestige of privacy to run for office.

  6. Middle of the Road says:

    That’s what I’m getting from his 1:30 interview segment–that and the fact that he has turned what should be a non issue into a week straight of bad press. I wonder when he’ll be hiring Penry to save his campaign.

    • The realistThe realist says:

      of at least a part of his problem – his recent income is probably going to look stunning to the average American, but his donations to charitable organizations is going to look very slim.  He hints that maybe there’s something to Lori’s church, but he sure doesn’t hint at much else.  Come on, Scott, gather up a bag of clothes and take it to Goodwill once in a while!

  7. GOPwarrior says:

    Elk is very tasty you vegan statists. Do you know how much an elk’s worth of meat costs??

  8. ScottP says:

    Especially in politics!

    McInnis isn’t showing us what normal candidates show us, so he might be hiding something.

    If you’re completely against McInnis (like Progress Now) it’s easy to change the “might be” to “is obviously” then all you have to do is say it enough until people start believing it.

    McInnis isn’t going to win any friends or votes by being stingy with his information.

  9. WashParkPoet says:

    He went on the next year to receive a $150,000 fellowship from The Hasan Family Foundation, dedicated to educational and health initiatives in southern Colorado and funding programs that “bring a better understanding of the Muslim and South Asian cultures to the people of the United States,” according to its website.

    Dr. Hasan and his family are very well respected. His son is even running for state treasurer. But, those in tight GOP circles knows there is no love loss between the Hasans’ and Scott McInnis.

    For several reasons, 1) McInnis failed to do the work he promised to do while working for the Hasan Family Foundation. Instead, took the money and ran. 2) He promised Ali an endorsement when he ran for the state legislature and instead, McInnis, after promising, opted not to endorse.

    Simply put, McInnis is wrong for Colorado.

  10. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    …f it’s not a 501(c)3 or whatever,  I don’t know the technical classification

    Is pure bullshit coming from a millionaire lawyer-lobbyist.

    Trying to sound all ignorant and folksy to play to the base is pure pandering.

  11. WashParkPoet says:

    I think if you check the record McInnis has lied to himself so many times that he believes he contributed to charities.

    “I’d be happy to kind of match my contributions to the community against either one of you, for example, or against the governor or against any of my opponents,” McInnis says.

    But the problem is, according to FEC filings, Western Way PAC, created by McInnis, contributed to charities and other individuals, including Tom Delay. Problem here is: Western Way PAC’s money WASN’T McInnis’. It was the contributors to the PAC’s money.

    So, yes, he can say he contributed to charities, but not with HIS MONEY!

    • WashParkPoet says:

      Just before leaving Congress in 2004, Scott Mc Innis’ staff said the exiting Republican wanted to use part of the $1.3 million left in his campaign fund to launch a nonprofit political organization that would address education, breast-cancer research and conservation.

      Five years later, no such organization exists. Instead, the largest charitable donation McInnis made from his campaign funds was to a wilderness area named for McInnis as he was leaving Congress.

      The rest of his charitable donations have been scattered among more than a dozen organizations, with at least $500 going to breast- cancer research and $26,000 to educational groups. Some donations went to unnamed charities.

      This is the first time I’ve ever heard of someone being criticized for giving something to charity,” McInnis said.

      So, who did you give it to? The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation?

  12. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    We realize you don’t want to disclose all the other stench in your tax returns, and hey, it’s a free country.

    But you really don’t have any excuse to keep your charitable contributions – just that small part of your tax returns – private. Since YOU YOURSELF angrily challenged anyone else to match your sterling record of charitable contributions, it only stands to reason that we deserve to see your records at least in that small respect.

    Do you think you could do that for us, hmmm? Or are they too embarrassing for you as well?

  13. n/t

    okay, t

    what the fuck.  this is the craziest thing i’ve ever heard in my entire life.  first “look at my returns, i’m unmatched in charitable giving”  then, “what, was i supposed to take a picture of the elk i shot and staple it to my 1040?”

    this guy is a fucking clown, an unbelievable joke.  Hick’s gonna knock this chump out in the first round.

  14. ClubTwitty says:

    Most hunters I know can tell you not only that, but more specifically what the day was like, what draw they were in etc. when they bag a bull (unless Scotty was shootin’ at cows).

    Now if he can’t recall where he gives his money exactly this might be a stretch.  But I’d ask him:

    Mr. McInnis when you gave that elk away to a needy family, a noble effort for sure, you were engaged in a proud Colorado tradition.  Thank you sir for your kindness to others and your appreciation for our great outdoors.

    I do have some questions.  

    Where was this successful hunt?  

    Which season did you pull your permit for?  

    Did you hike it out yourself?  

    Who field dressed the animal?  

    Where was the meat processed?

    Is the stuffed head hanging in your lawyer-lobbyist office or at home on the range?

    Do you agree with the state big game managers that the number one limiting factor to healthy elk herds is access to good winter and summer range?  If so, other than whispering in their ears, what do you proposes specifically to ensure these lands are left intact for the nation’s largest elk herd?  

    We all agree, none of us would like this proud Colorado tradition to be bulldozed under with a leaky pit liner.

  15. Poindexter says:

    He must really regret dropping out of the race now.

  16. BobMoore says:

    According to the Post story today, McInnis said on C&S yesterday: “The contributions I give to personally are families in need. And I give to the Republican National Committee.”

    Well, unlike elk meat, that’s something fairly easily checked. So I checked, and there are no donations to the RNC listed by anybody from Colorado named McInnis. Now, it’s possible that McInnis gave an amount below the reporting threshold (I know that’s $200 for contributions for candidate committees; unsure of the requirements for party committees.) Even so, it would mean not much.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      Does he really believe no one is going to follow up on anything he claims?  

      • BobMoore says:

        The Post didn’t check, apparently. I’m not really covering the governor’s race and didn’t pay much attention to this until I got a press release from the Colorado Democratic Party. I got curious about how much he’d given to the RNC because the CDP press release didn’t mention it, so I looked it up. As it turns out, it looks like the CDP didn’t bother to follow up, either.  

    • The realistThe realist says:

      Would be interesting if there was no elk, no contribution to the RNC (NOT a charity, of course), nothing to a church, no bags of clothes to Goodwill, nothing, just nothing.  Or maybe he’s just lowering our expectations so that $100 to somebody will look good!  

      Maybe he just doesn’t believe in charity.

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