Caplis and Silverman’s gentle handling of McInnis

Two weeks ago Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis told Fox Radio News in Loveland that he’d take a “beating” if he released his income tax returns. And the hosts didn’t bother to ask him why.

Today, he’s on the Caplis and Silverman show, on KHOW (hour one), and the questioning is ever so slightly tougher, but McInnis slides out of the interview with basic follow-up questions floating around unasked.

Co-host Craig Silverman gets credit for at least asking him the key question, about why he only released two pages of his income tax return: “Just two pages? It’s like a tease. Why not show us the rest of it?

McInnis’ response:

Because as you know, Craig, of course, the rest of it involves not just my wife and I. The rest of it then discusses detail of other people, who are not–including the boys’ ranch, how the different shares are held in the ranch, how the ranch is structured.  Same thing with my family. You know I have five brothers and sisters. And I have businesses with my brothers and sisters. And we have had for years. And we disclosed the names of those and their net worth and so on. That changes from day to day now. It used to change more from year to year. But these people aren’t running for Congress, I mean for governor. And so, that’s why.”

Not asked was why he doesn’t release other parts of the income tax return, like his payment for sitting on the boards of large corporations and such, that have nothing to do with other people.

Craig pushed McInnis a bit: “Why not disclose your charities, Congressman? After all, you more or less challenged me and Dan and you said, I’ll disclose it to anybody. It was the subject of Chuck Plunkett’s opinion piece in The Denver Post today. Why not, especially since it seems to me that you’d gain a political advantage since John Hickenlooper won’t release his. Why not show us yours?”

McInnis’ response:

Huh. As you guys know, a request by the papers is not, ah, to help you with your political advantage. It’s to use something-I mean, you know what this is being used for. I mean it was interesting. I know I’ll answer your question more specifically. When I was in Congress, if you wanted to check out financial disclosures, anybody was welcome to go in there. You could do it, but you had to sign your name and identify who you were with. And if you were to go to the Republican disclosures, the only real people checking it out was the Democrats, the Democrat National Committee, because they wanted to use it against you. Or on the Democratic side, the only one looking at the Democratic disclosures, was the Republican National Committee. So the only purpose– the average person on the street, Craig, doesn’t really care what I make. They care why they’re not making anything, where their jobs are. That’s where they’re at. Now let me answer your question.

Craig didn’t question McInnis about the different reasons that average people might want to know about his financial interests, even if regular people don’t go chasing down financial documents. Craig told McInnis to “focus on the charities.”

McInnis responded:

 Well, on the charities. This is also a misnomer. People think that, well, we’ll be able to determine what you give, pay for charities by what you disclose on your income tax return. Now, I think you’re probably aware of this, Craig. I know you are, Dan. But on your tax forms, what you show are charitable contributions that are deductible. They are not deductible if they are not a 501c3 or whatever. I don’t know the technical classification. So, the way we grew up, and the way my family, my dad, mom taught us…-this is a long time ago. We don’t…-our vehicle of charitable giving isn’t necessarily United Way or the March of Dimes or things. My folks taught us…-now we grew up in a small town…-that is, when some families, somebody’s in a car wreck, or somebody’s hard on their luck, or something like that, they don’t have 501c3s. Drop by, give them a thousand bucks. Or a couple years ago, we had a family that, ah…-I had an elk take. I went out and, ah, got an elk and had the elk processed meat and donated the processed meat to the family in need. That kind of…-one, I’m not sure…-I don’t think you should deduct for that. Two, they don’t have a 501c3. So the charitable chart is going, I think, in most of those years, is going to want to show Episcopal Church, or something like that, Lori’s church, and maybe, I’m not even sure, but it certainly doesn’t reflect ,even close ,the way Laura and I give charitable giving and a lot of people do it that right.

Co-host Dan Caplis’ response reads as if he should have been panting, but he wasn’t: “That’s right, Congressman, I think most people who vote will understand that and most people probably do it the same way, which is, you know, charity is not just limited to the groups that qualify for a tax deduction. And so I think most folks are going to understand that.”

Caplis should have asked McInnis to enumerate more of his good works, to get a handle on if McInnis is as old-fashioned generous as he says. McInnis killed the elk “a couple years ago.”  What’s he killed and given away since then? How many people dropped by the McInnis residence and left with $1,000? What else has this wealthy man given away?

As McInnis makes the rounds of the conservative talks-show circuit, and continues to avoid the Post, I hope the questioning gets tougher.

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