Local Media Shreds RGA’s Latest BS Ad

A new-ish ad running from the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) (above) attacks Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis for allegedly “not paying taxes” for a number of years, and stashing funds offshore in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Not paying one’s fair share of taxes is a common allegation made against wealthy political candidates on both sides, sometimes quite damagingly (see: Romney, Mitt).

But in Rep. Polis’ case, as the Denver Post’s editorial board did a surprisingly good job explaining yesterday, it’s a warmed-over hit job with no factual basis:

The television ad makes it sound like Polis has used clever accounting tricks, specifically off-shore accounts that shelter money from the IRS, to avoid paying federal income taxes.

The Denver Post’s reporters have never found evidence of such behavior in Polis’ lengthy financial disclosures required by Congress or in the tax documents he voluntarily disclosed when he ran for Congress in 2008. [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Post’s Jon Murray reported that in the four years spanning 2001 to 2005, Polis reported “a net loss of income.” Murray noted that in other years “Polis paid more than $18.4 million in income taxes on more than $120 million in adjusted gross income.”

As for the ad’s juicy claim that Polis stashed money in the Cayman Islands? The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning joins in the debunking:

As for any “offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes,” a Polis campaign spokeswoman pointed to reporting from 2008, when Polis acknowledged holdings in a company that also maintained a fund in the Cayman Islands for international investors, but said he never had any money in the Cayman fund.

During his run for Congress in 2008, Rep. Polis disclosed all of these financial details–documenting the growth of his personal fortune as well as the years in which he didn’t owe taxes due to investment losses. There was heavy scrutiny of those disclosures by Polis’ opponents in that race, and news reports that validated Polis’ version of all these uncontroversial events.

There’s been tremendous turnover in local media in the ten years between Polis’ run for Congress and his bid for governor, but the RGA made a big mistake in assuming nobody would remember that these details in Polis’ financial history had all been disclosed and questions resolved back in 2008. It’s another case of political operatives knowing an allegation is false, making it anyway, and counting on the new allegation getting more attention than the debunking. Call it “post-truth” politics, which have become the norm in the era of Cory Gardner and Donald Trump.

What we’re seeing here, much like the local media’s revolt against Walker Stapleton’s false ads in the primary or a similar case in 2016 where false and racist attacks against now-Sen. Rachel Zenzinger were audaciously recycled by Republicans–not to mention yesterday’s bizarre “black is white” botched attack on Democratic AG candidate Phil Weiser–is the knowing deception becoming too brazen for even the most complaisant voices to tolerate.

At long last, “post-truth” politics appears to be backfiring in Colorado. That’s a welcome development.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    I hear there is this "internet" thing that allows people to look up prior publications. Wouldn't you think the RGA would have some enthusiastic young staffer around who could show people how to use the new-fangled thing?

    • unnamed says:

      Maybe they got sidetracked by the abundance of porn they could find on this "internet" thing.

    • Negev says:

      That internet thingy said Polis invested in medical tourism and biotechs while simultaneously helping to determine the fate of Obamacare, essentially betting against the heath care he helped provide to us. 

      I would rather he just not pay taxes. 

      • ajb says:

        Logic fail.

        Medical tourism was already very profitable in 2009. 

        If Obamacare succeeds, it remains profitable. 

        If Obamacare fails it's even more profitable.

        For some reason, many conservatives (perhaps including yourself) forget that heathcare costs were rising by double digits annually before the ACA was enacted. Perhaps you can explain to us the benefits of the old system. 

        • Davie says:

          Negev luvs him some Breitbart!  That Denver Post "news" article was a Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer book excerpt republished by Tea Partyer Chuck Plunkett who was at the time running as many anti-ACA articles as he could dredge up.  Remember Arthur Kane and his series of bogus health "information" articles?


        • Negev says:

          I can't think of anything beneficial in the old system. I'm bummed Obamacare failed, it was conceptually a great plan. But it did fail, and Polis invested in a sector that would profit more if it did, while playing a role in the actual policy development. Thats shitty and one can only wonder what his true motives were under the circumstances.

          Davie, are you telling me its not true? Tell me its not true.

          • Davie says:

            Negev: I can't think

            That's about all you and I will ever agree on

            • Negev says:

              That's ok Davie. . you have the right to be wrong. 

               Westword said the same thing as Schweizer if that's a better source for you.  Weed on sale at laBodega too.

              You do realize you just conceded that you are happy Obamacare failed and found the old system beneficial with that snappy retort.. whos side you on?

              • mamajama55 says:

                Hey, yall…Davie and  ajb just took on troll duty, Negev reporting with whacky right wing theories sourced from fringey sites from 10 years ago.  I don't really feel like helping him in his "smear Polis" mission tonight, either.

                It's "muddy the waters" , "truth isn't truth" time. It really doesn't matter how little There is there; the tactic is simply to confuse people into cynicism and thinking "All politicians are alike, all corrupt, makes no difference, bla bla. "

                So whatever, Negetevity, hopefully nobody else will take your bait tonight. Thanks for playing, though.

                • Voyageur says:

                  Negetevity?  That stings, a low blow worthy of me!  Congratulations MJ

                  As for Obamacare, it is still a success, despite GOP efforts to destroy it.  Read the recent analysis of its success by Paul Krugman, who has one more Nobel Prize in economics than Negev does. Though probably a lot fewer guns..

                • Negev says:

                  Negetevity? I like it! I bet that took a lot of thought.  Westword "fringy" is fringy left, mama, and it matches the fringy right article. Have you spent a moment researching the facts prior to troll duty? Polis's investments and political positions are facts, and the timing is suspect. The rest of the mud in the water you have added yourself. Put a (R) in front of a politicians name that did the same and you would be the first in line to critique. 


  2. Voyageur says:

    They knew the truth.  They also knew their lie would draw blood.   The modern Republican party would lie on credit when it could tell the truth for cash, as John Henry Faulk liked to say.

  3. Ziggy Rainbeaux says:

    The Gazette's editorial board has long strongly supported Stapleton's candidacy. Not surprisingly, it today repeated the misleading claim that Jared Polis filed no taxes from 2001-05. It failed to mention the actual facts stated two days ago by the Denver Post and Colorado Politics, as summarized above.


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