On radio, McInnis says he’d take “beating” if he releases his tax returns, but hosts don’t ask why

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

You wouldn’t call many talk-radio hosts “journalists.” They’re mostly entertainers. But, still, what talk-radio host with any integrity sits in silence while a political candidate says he’d take a “beating” if he made his income tax returns public and doesn’t ask the most basic follow-up question in the book, “Why?”

But that’s exactly what happened April 15 on Fox News Radio, 600 KCOL in Loveland. (See the Keith and Gail audio archive on the KCOL website, April 15, hour 4, beginning at 15 minutes 30 seconds.)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis told hosts Keith Weinman and Gail Fallen, “So I’m not going to invite myself to my own beating. I’m going to give what I think the people want, not what The Denver Post wants.”

McInnis was on the conservative radio show after having apparently just read a Post editorial,  published that morning, calling on him and fellow Republican Dan Maes to “follow Hickenlooper’s lead and agree to make their returns public.”

The Post argued that releasing income tax returns “shows that a leader who seeks the public trust is committed to transparency at all levels,” adding that “[t]ax returns show sources of income, chronicle any charitable giving, and reveal potential conflicts of interest, use of tax shelters and other valuable information.”

In a news story on the same day, The Post reported: “Since at least 1998, all but one Colorado major-party gubernatorial candidate – Republican Marc Holtzman – have released their tax forms to the media. And in the past 14 years, all major-party U.S. Senate candidates in Colorado have released their tax returns.”

Against this backdrop, after listening to McInnis April 15 on “Mornings with Keith and Gail,” many other questions spring to mind that the hosts should have asked, starting with: What, exactly, is in your tax returns that would result in the expected beating by The Post?

But instead, host Gail actually tells McInnis that it’s a “healthy perspective” to have “no interest in being complicit in your own self destruction.”

McInnis’ KCOL interview April 15 is a case study in how talk-radio hosts can let us down, apparently in the interest of soothing a public figure, even though talk-radio hosts occupy a pseudo-journalistic position that could allow them to advance the public interest on daily basis.

On the day McInnis’ was on the radio, McInnis’ spokesperson, Sean Duffy, was cited in The Post  indicating that McInnis might in fact release his tax returns on an unspecified date. But Duffy’s boss, McInnis, is on the radio saying he’s “not going to give what The Denver Post wants.” What gives? This wasn’t asked.

McInnis also told Keith and Gail, “So I have made more disclosures on my financial background than any other candidate in this race and probably more than any candidate for a long time simply because of length of service, number one.” The missing follow-up:  “Okay, those narrow disclosures were good, but now, what’s in your tax returns that would invite the unwanted beating by The Post? Why can’t we see the broad information in your returns?”

Elsewhere in the interview, McInnis says, “Keep in mind that it’s their [The Denver Post’s] job to make my job as uncomfortable as possible.” In the interest of defending journalists, Keith and Gail should have pointed out to McInnis that making his job uncomfortable is a side effect of the basic job of The Denver Post, not the goal of the enterprise: The Post wants to report the facts about a candidate. If candidates or public officials are what they say they are and do their jobs right, a newspaper won’t make them uncomfortable-or certainly won’t give them a “beating” over typical income tax returns.

McInnis told Keith and Gail that he’d release his income, but, as The Post pointed out, income tax returns reveal much more than just income, but also stuff like board compensation for his recent spot on the board of equity firm KSL Capitol Partners. Keith and Gail clearly knew the difference between releasing only total income and releasing broader income-tax information, because they referred to The Post editorial explaining this at the beginning of their show. But neither Keith nor Gail pressed McInnis to explain why the release of his total income would be sufficient, when so much more information is contained in his income tax returns.

McInnis repeatedly said on the radio that releasing his returns would compromise the privacy of his family. But he wasn’t asked about, at a minimum, releasing the portions of his returns that apply to his personal income.

At various points in the interview, McInnis stated that it’s the press and Democrats who want to see his tax returns, not the people. At one point he said, “People don’t really care about what my brother and sister made or what that says on my income tax returns,” adding later: “It’s rarely brought up by the average citizen on the street. Gee, Scott, I want to know some of that information.”  Here again, Keith and Gail missed the opportunity to defend journalism a bit, even though they rely on it so much for the content of their show, failing to point out to McInnis that The Denver Post is representing the people when it asks for the disclosure of information. That’s what journalism is about, to represent the guy who doesn’t have time to hound politicians like McInnis for this type of stuff.

Keith and Gail said they hoped to have McInnis back on the show next month. They’ve got a lot of material to go back over.

See a written transcript of the McInnis interview referenced above on www.bigmedia.org, the Rocky Mountain Media Watch website.


56 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    is the right’s solution for everything.

    • Libertad says:

      On Thursday afternoon, McInnis allowed a Post reporter to visit his attorney’s office and examine – but not photocopy – the first two pages of the 1040 forms of his 2005 through 2008 tax returns (he filed for a 2009 extension). This did not include line-item deductions, such as charitable donations, a breakdown of money earned by the candidate compared to his wife, or a description of his security holdings.


      • ClubTwitty says:

        The meme now is ‘Hickenlooper-Rags to Riches story of successful businessman’ v ‘What is McInnis hiding–what in the returns he refuses to share will cause voters to hate him?’

        This is going from bad to worse for Scooter.  I love it, but feel compelled to offer the Millionaire Lawyer Lobbyist shilling for multinational, foreign-owned corporations a pearl of wisdom, once shared with me by a mentor of mine:

        Don’t get in a pissing match with those who buy their ink by the barrel.

  2. Republican 36 says:

    Mr. McInnis’ statements represent the typical candidate blunder when a candidate doesn’t want to disclose some kind of information about him or herself.

    The idea that he speaks for the public when he says we don’t want to see his income tax returns is silly. He is making that up as an excuse not to reveal his returns.

    The notion that he has revealed more about his personal financial background than any other candidate because he did so, the last time six years ago, when he was in Congress is silly for several reasons. Congressmen are only required to reveal a range of dollar value for their investments and holdings and they don’t have to reveal their tax returns. Second, Mr. McInnis hasn’t released his personal financial records for at least six years. It is important for people to know where his income has ocme from since he left Congress.

    Mr. McInnis is right about one thing. I don’t want to know what his borther and sister income is. I want to know what his income is and where he earned his money.

    By taking this course of action he is making more and more people suspicious.

    The bottom line is simple: Why Mr. McInnis are you afraid of making your tax returns public?  

  3. Froward69 says:

    Just mental masturbation.

    I would Hope Hickenlooper withholds one of those ten he promised to the post. then Mcinnis would “invite himself to his own beating”

    Imagine how loud the GOP would scream if a Dem said the same thing?

    • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

      I have been thinking about this comment from the former congressman.

      Accepting an invitation to his own beating is just exactly what anyone with the strength of an actual conviction will do. The former congressman appears not to have the courage. Governor Bill Ritter certainly did when he took on the oil and gas industry to push for the creation of, what now seems to be, a set of rules that are a model for the nation.

      Representative Kathleen Curry, notable among a host of others, can tell you what a political Rugby match with the oil and gas boys is like. Without the fortitude to endure a beating from your opponents, you surrender to them.

  4. Pam Bennett says:

    To go to this extreme means he must have one duzzy of something hidden in there.  Maybe more than one wife? Extra income from something that is usually a hidden Republican activity?

  5. redstateblues says:

    1) Millionaire

    2) Lawyer

    3) Lobbyist

    All that’s missing are the hyphens and the credit due to Dick Wadhams.

  6. gertie97 says:

    This is a nice write-up, but you yourself call these radio clowns “pseudo-journalists.” They’re not even that.

    However, you did pull out some quotes that real reporters can ask Scooter about, such as why he’d take a beating, why in the world his siblings’ income would be on his own return and what does he have to hide?

    Just don’t hold out any hope for the radio jocks. There is none.

  7. BlueCat says:

    To scary movie music with an unflattering picture in dark lighting….When asked to release his own tax returns Scott McInnis refused. He says “I’m not going to invite myself to my own beating.” What did he mean?  What is he hiding?  What doesn’t he want the people of Colorado to know?  Call Scott McInnis (phone number appears on screen) and ask him why he won’t let the voters of Colorao see those tax returns.

  8. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I keep trying to get an interview but keep getting shot down – so I’ll suggest it here and hopefully one of those he is willing to sit down with can ask.

    Scott says “So I’m not going to invite myself to my own beating. I’m going to give what I think the people want, not what The Denver Post wants.”

    I see three explanations for this – and none of them speak well of McInnis.

    1) There is something bad in there, but “the people” don’t want to be told about it. That is a very dismissive view of the voters.

    2) There is something innocuous in there but the newspapers or Dems will try to make a big deal out of it. This belittles the voters in that he thinks they can’t assign the correct importance to issues.

    3) There’s some bad shit in there that will submarine his campaign. So he’s making a lame excuse as that’s his only out.

    Until Congressman McInnis answers this question, I think we have to work from the assumption that it’s one of the three items above. (And Congressman, I would be thrilled to interview you and ask you about this, as well as about what you would do as Governor.)

    • Steve Harvey says:

      assign the correct importance to the disinformation propagated by the swift boaters in 2004?

      Leaving McInnis and what may or may not be hidden on his tax returns to one side, this notion that it’s an insult to voters to recognize how the marketing campaigns they are subjected to can effectively distort perceptions of reality is just nonsense.

      There are reams of research into the suggestability of the human mind, how propaganda functions, framing anomalies (in which the same information framed in different ways elicits different reactions), exaggerated confidense in casually acquired factoids, over-reliance on dubious forms of evidence, false memories (and not just through third person suggestion), and a plethora of other evidence (including mountains of historical evidence) that not trusting people to assign correct importance to the carefully filtered and constructed information that is channeled their way is a perfectly legitimate concern.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        1. I think the swift boat ads mostly showed what happens if you don’t answer an attack.

        2. While the individual human mind is susceptible to a lot, in large enough groups, if exposed to both sides of the story, does tend on average to get it right. The whole wisdom of crowds thing.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          That’s why I often refer to “the genius of the many.” There’s some great research on it. One of my favorites is that if you have a large number (a thousand or more) of random people guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, the mean of their guesses is generally far closer to the exact number than any individual guess.

          But the opposite is also true: Large numbers are often herded into insane (or merely innane) beliefs due to those susceptabilities named above. Campaigns use tools of psychological manipulation (“marketing”) all the time, and with great sophistication. I think it’s wishful thinking to believe that it’s not relevant to the outcome of elections, and that it’s reasonable for candidates to be concerned about potentially exploitable fodder in their closets, even if they know that the fodder wouldn’t reflect badly on them if fully known and understood.

          The malleability of public opinion is precisely why money plays such a powerful role in politics: If people’s perceptions weren’t easily molded, then the bombardment of television advertising would be so determinative. Yes, I know, the main effect it has is name recognition, but even that fact, that people’s awareness of the candidates is a function of a bombardment of messages, is an example of how receptive rather than assertive we tend to be in the formation of our knowledge and perceptions.

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            McInnis should respond by saying “you’re all easily manipulated to believe anything and therefore I’m not going to release this info.” I think that could be a real winner 🙂

            • Steve Harvey says:

              (which is a huge assumption), he’s between a rock and a hard place, and certainly didn’t handle being there very well. No, the smart thing to do would be to release the information up front, with his spin on it, as well crafted as he and his team can manage.

              What’s true is one thing, what’s strategically (or socially) smart to say is another. Personally, I wish there were less distance between the two. But such is life.

              • Another skeptic says:

                I had to ask.

                • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

                  I don’t think there was enough blood left in his campaign to lose this much over his taxes, of all things. As I have said before, his refusal is, no doubt, because COGA and the CPA consider his tax returns to be proprietary.

                  There are likely some connections in there that may embarrass someone other than McInnis, someone he cannot afford to offend. Since he won’t talk, we are free to speculate.  

                  • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

                    from the Denver Post.

                    Sean Duffy, spokesman for McInnis, said some tax and financial information was withheld because it “impinges on other people who are not running for governor. To disclose those finances would be to disclose other people’s finances.”

                    No surprise there.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      It’s a principled position not to disclose that information unless legally required to do so, if that is in fact the case. Personally, I think we’d all be better off focusing on candidates’ policy positions and skill-set, which are really what’s most relevant to the positions they’re applying for. Sure, some moral virtues and failings are relevant too, but we’ve gone way beyond the scope of those in our race-to-the-bottom in how we conduct political campaigns.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      that there are some complexities to how principled a position it would be. If he’s protecting the illegal or immoral activities of others, or if he’s doing it out of pure self-interest (as Duke suggested above), obviously it’s a bit less principled.

                    • ajb says:

                      First he says that he would take a beating if he released his tax forms. Duffy then says that he might release them at a future date.

                      Fast forward a bit and now Duffy says that he won’t release info in order to protect others?

                      That just too convenient. I don’t buy it.

                • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                  …was turning down an interview with me 🙂

    • Steve Harvey says:

      the statement that to believe it belittles voters to recognize that they are susceptible to disinformation is itself an example of how we are susceptible to disinformation: The truth (that we are) is unattractive and rejected for being so, while the falsehood (that we aren’t) is popularly insisted upon in its place, thus reinforcing the extent to which it is true by making us less aware of it and less resistant to it.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        and what year are you in.  I am still, mildly, considering doing so myself, but since I’ll be 65 in May, such a huge investment of time and money may not be worth it.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          CU Law, enjoying the commute from South Jeffco (though I blessed myself this semester with a Monday-Wednesday class schedule). I’m getting my JD at 50, so you have me beat by a fat baker’s dozen.

          At the beginning of my 1L year, a classmate (a 22-year-young woman) said how much respect she had for me for going to law school at my age, at which point I couldn’t resist teasing her a little for calling me an old man (I apologized to her for months after that! She was the type to be unnecessarily embarrassed by my teasing).

          I almost commented when you mentioned working as a paralegal in your daughter’s firm. That’s so cool!

          I got a three-year full ride, so the expense for me was not earning an income for three years (the kind of law I’m going into doesn’t have any pre-graduation paying positions). But, with a mortgage, and a family that I am solely supporting, that has been enough of a hit.

          As Joseph Campbell would say, follow your bliss, which may mean doing it, or may mean not doing it. Only you can figure that out. I wouldn’t do it for financial reasons, if I were you; I don’t think it would pay off on that level. But if it’s something you’d really like to do, it may be worth it.

          Get in touch, and I’ll buy you a beer after finals are over in early May, and we can talk about it (and other things). Best place to reach me is: steve.harvey.hd28@gmail.com.

        • PERA hopeful says:

          It’s still pretty cheap (as of today, anyway).  When I went there, my moot court partner and I took out maximun student loans and spent them on beer.  The times that I remember of law school, I remember fondly….

  9. Pam Bennett says:

    I am reminded of the fun we had with the former gov Bill (if one family is good, two has to be better) Owens.

    As long as the cover up continued the claims of knowledge of his personal life and loves grew.  And, most of the knowledge was just current Republican activities posed on the “home is where the bed is tonight” gov.

    McInnis has to have some real good stuff in the returns to go through news cycles and keep the public guessing and his cover up elevated.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      Bringing this up impacts all of a person’s family – not just them. And Ownes is no longer in office or running. In addition, there is a world of difference between rumors and established fact.

      • Froward69 says:

        invites Rumor… Free press (if Mcinnis is honest) Buzz about a non issue.

        or if he is really trying to hide something it will damage his limping campaign even more.

      • Another skeptic says:

        The guy is out of office. Leave him alone.

        Rumors often beget facts. Sooner or later, McInnis will have to reveal his complete tax returns. Otherwise he’s toast. Maybe he already is?

  10. Born To Run says:

    Jobs, jobs, jobs

    is the theme.

    It is a very weak ad from a very weak candidate.

    The only question is whether the Hickster will move from Park Hill and live in the Governor’s mansion?

  11. EricaR says:

    The reason Scott said he would take a “beating” for releasing his tax returns is that the media will use and twist anything to give him the beating they so badly want to give him. It’s typical liberal media bias, plain and simple. Scott is a smart man who legitimately made money, and the Denver Post, who’s article on Hickenlooper’s “Rags to Riches” story, will not treat Scott’s financial disclosures fairly.

    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

      “Millionaire lawyer-lobbyist.”

      Now what venomous lib’rul came up with that derogatory nickname?

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      They don’t need his tax returns, they’ll just twist whatever he says each day to beat him.

      Try again, with some excuse that has at least a teeny weeny bit of credibility.

      ps – Welcome to Pols.

    • harrydobyharrydoby says:

      It just isn’t fair that the Democrats get to have a smart, funny, self-made man, voted one of the best mayors in the nation, who gives away huge chunks of his money to charity, running for Governor.  

      And the GOP has to settle for just another thin-skinned, millionaire lawyer-lobbyist who dances on the edges of campaign finance shenannigans, and who spends way too much time and money on style consultants.

      It’s just not fair that we Dems are getting so many good candidates this year!

      PS.  Welcome to Pols.  Nicely composed first post — very professional 😉

    • Ralphie says:

      Despite the fact that you registered less than two weeks ago, I’ll treat you as a human, not as a shill.

      You drew a contrast between the Denver Post’s coverage of McInnis and Hickenlooper.  That’s a fair contrast.

      You raised the issue that the Post covered Hickenlooper’s “rags to riches” story differently than something, but I’m not quite sure what, given the difference in the amount of of information the two candidates provided to the Post.

      Hickenlooper disclosed his tax returns.  McInnis didn’t.  It’s hard to draw a contrast, except in a negative way, between “information” and “no information.”

      If you want McInnis and Hickenlooper to be compared on the same level, then you’re going to have to use whatever influence you have to get McInnis to be as forthcoming as Hickenlooper.

      If you want them to be asked different questions, and thereby treated differently, that’s fine–it’s your choice and Scott’s.  However, once Scott has decided that he wants to be treated differently, then you and he both need to quit complaining about it.

      Release your tax returns, Scott.  All of them.  What are you hiding?

    • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:


      Prove it.  Show me the money.

      Otherwise you’re FOS.

    • Steve Harvey says:

      The Post? Liberal bias?

      By the way, have you ever thought about this notion that every profession that is based on gathering or analyzing information or using one’s imagination has “a liberal bias”? Look at the supposed culprits: academics, journalists, writers, artists, actors…. How exactly does that work?

      Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with gathering and analyzing information, or using one’s imagination….

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