FOX News Radio, 600 KCOL
Mornings with Keith and Gail
April 15, 2010
Begins at minute 15:30
Keith: We are joined by Republican candidate for governor of the state of Colorado, Rep. Scott McInnis. Rep. McInnis, welcome again to Keith and Gale, always a pleasure.
McInnis: Good morning.
Keith: Let’s start this morning with the last question first, of sorts. We’ve followed the story The Denver Post ran saying that they had requested tax forms from gubernatorial candidates as has been the tradition, not the law or a requirement in Colorado, and that you up until this point have declined. And they followed with an editorial today saying that candidates are not required by law to make tax returns available. They understand that releasing private, personal information can be uncomfortable, but it is common both on the state and national level. And they say that tax returns show sources of income, charitable giving, potential conflicts of interest, use of tax shelters, other valuable information. And that your spokesperson, Sean Duffy, has indicated to them, when they reiterated the question, that you may now make tax forms available at some unspecified point in the future. Does that mean that you will? At what point in time? And what stands in the way of your doing it as soon as possible?
McInnis: Well, let me say first of all that’s not very much of a complete picture of comments that they’ve [The Denver Post] made in there. Second of all, understand that during all the years I served in Congress and the State House, you have to make disclosures. And in the State House of Representatives in Colorado, and I think in every state in the country and in the United States Congress, they do not require disclosure income. However they do require financial affidavit. It’s the same thing if you’re a candidate in Colorado. So I have made more disclosures on my financial background than any other candidate in this race and probably any other candidate for a long time simply because of length of service, number one.
Number two, we’ve told The Post we’re happy to let people know what I made, although that’s private information and I’m certainly not required to do it. And I’m more than willing to tell when I tell them what I made also tell them what I paid as a percentage of tax or give them the actual amount of tax I paid because I want people to know that I don’t have a tax shelter out there. I’m not one of these people that frankly make a living and go out and not pay any taxes. I pay my share of taxes, which I think is too high like many of your listeners.
The third thing, this is not common place, and my income tax returns, by necessity because of the family business, you know we’re in a family business, have disclosures of private individuals just like Mayor Hickenlooper has refused to disclose, I guess, his blind trust, which of course he has a lot of things in, and he’s also refused to disclose his partnership agreement. And frankly I don’t criticize him for that because what he says is what I say. Look, there are people, for example my kids, who are not running for Governor of Colorado. There are other people, my brothers and sisters, that are involved in our family enterprises whose information, whether it’s social security numbers or forward are included in those documents.
The key here is what I made, and what I paid and that’s what we’ve agreed to give to The Denver Post and I note that it’s somewhat uncomfortable. Keep in mind that their job is to make my job as uncomfortable as possible.
Gail: [laughs] And that’s just how the game is played.
McInnis: Yeah. And they say it in the newspaper. I mean, they put it in there. So I’m not going to invite myself to my own beating. I mean, let em [garbled words] I’m going to give what I think the people want, not what The Denver Post wants.
Gail: You have no interest…-
McInnis: What the people want. And I think they’re entitled to, what did he make and what did he pay. We want to make sure he’s carrying his fair burden and that’s a very legitimate request.
Gail: No interest in being complicit in your own self destruction. I think that’s a healthy perspective.
McInnis: Yea. [Laughs] Somebody calls you on the phone and says, Scott, stop by. We’re going to beat you up, on your way home from work.
Gail: What time? What time do you want me there? Where do you draw the line as far as, because we’ve gotten into an interesting side conversation with many of our listeners about this. Where do you draw the line as a candidate as to what the voters should be aware of and what they shouldn’t be aware of, as far as personal information goes in making their decision?
McInnis: Well, I think the voters are entitled to financial disclosures. And you know this kind of debate has been carried on extensively at the state level and at the federal level. What really is fair? What really goes kind of beyond the privacy? On the other hand, you are a public official. You are elected to serve the people, and they need to know some of your background.
So for 22 years, I was in office for 22 years. I filed disclosures all of those 22 years. And I can assure you the second I file them, not many of my constituents looked at them. The people that check them out, and in Congress, very interesting, you have to put your name, when you look at them, you check them out, and it’s all full of Democrats, the Democratic National Committee, the Chair of the State Democratic Committee, those are the people looking at that.
I think the voters have a right to be assured their representatives, one, pay taxes and pay a fair amount of taxes, in other words, their fair obligation, two that they haven’t skipped, that they are not in arrears on paying their taxes, in other words they’re not a tax evader. And beyond that, I don’t think the voters are entitled to every detail of where every dime that you spend.
I don’t think the voters are entitled to, not the voters, but primarily the press and the Democrats, because we know what they are going to use it for, to look at my kids, to look at my parents, to look my parents, my parents are still alive, to look at my brothers and sisters and so you have to draw a line.
You know we went through this debate with personal lives, and I don’t have to worry about any of that. I’m happily married and have been for a long time, but people said, you know, there’s a certain line that you just probably don’t go across. But we really care about [garbled]. People don’t really care about what my brother and sister made or what that says on my income tax returns. What they care about is their job. What are you going to do for policy and so on? Now we do want to know. Scott, that you carried your fair share, that you haven’t been a tax evader. That’s understandable. But tell us what you’re going to do for Colorado, what you’re going to do for us, what you’re going to do for our jobs.
So I, that’s kind of how I see the direction. But it’s always debated and it’s generally brought up by, ahh, the press or by the opposition party. It’s rarely brought up by the average citizen on the street. Gee, Scott, I want to know some of that information.
Keith: Let me see your tax form.
McInnis: Yeah. Let me see. Nobody. And there’s nobody out there. And by the way, it’s not common place, like they like to say, across the country. They make it sound like every elected official. I’d doubt seriously, I’d say that 99.9 percent of the elected officials in the United States are not expected to file income tax returns nor do they.
Keith: Are not expected to file income tax returns? Not expected to divulge them
McInnis: That’s, well, I mean income tax returns with the press. Not with [laughs].
Gail: And that goes to some extent–
McInnis: No, no, no, we’re all expected to file with the IRS.
McInnis: We’re not expected to do a simultaneous filing with The Denver Post or with somebody else.
Keith: Understood. Understood.
Gail: You know, and that goes in large part to whether people feel they’re paying too much tax or just about the right amount. The ones that aren’t paying any tax are like, Yeah, works for us.
McInnis: And that’s about half the population, unfortunately. And it’s a very unfortunate predicament we’re in. You can’t have in my opinion a society that thrives very long where half of your society pays and the other half does not. There’s a huge inequity there.