Hickenlooper refuses to name recipients of $2.8 million in charity

H/T Todd Shepherd & CompleteColorado.com

Yesterday on the Caplis and Silverman radio show, Denver Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor John Hickenlooper came on the air to answer questions about why he is refusing to disclose the recipients of $2.8 million in charitable contributions over the past 20-ish years.

The audio of the interview can be found HERE or listened to by pressing the play arrow below.

Hickenlooper's arguments were, to put it gently, strained, in the face of surgical questioning by attorneys Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman.

His explanation for not divulging the recipients of (in the aggregate) such a large amount of money essentially consisted of "I promised I wouldn't."  When pressed as to how many organizations he made such promises to, he said "a number -- about half a dozen."  Yet at the end of the interview, when Dan Caplis asked the Mayor if he would get permission from non-profits to disclose that he gave donations, the Mayor said "Do you know how many phone calls I'd have to make to go down that list? I mean...literally hundreds of organizations."

Really, Mayor Hickenlooper, do you think that most non-profits wouldn't love the attention and press which would be generated by the public's knowing a popular guy such as yourself donated to them?  What a great fund-raising opportunity for them!  While some non-profits might be asked to be kept out of the spotlight for legitimate reasons, the current situation leaves an entirely reasonable inference that you and some of the recipients of your largesse have something to hide, perhaps due to their having a mission (which you presumably share if you donated to them) that you know to be far outside the mainstream of American political opinion.

When asked about the Chinook Fund, a charity which he co-founded in the 1980s and which has a reputation for donating to left-leaning causes, the Mayor pretended he barely knew about the Fund. It was and is laughable and raises far more questions than answers.  He also implied that he had no control over how the Chinook Fund spent its money, another incredible claim from a founder and former Board member of that or any organization.

Perhaps most laughable was Hickenlooper's suggestion that instead of asking where he dispensed almost $3 million, maybe the proper question is whether he was "too generous", whether the level of his charitable giving would impact his effectiveness as governor.  Give me a break, Mr. Mayor.

When Dan Caplis asked Hickenlooper to respond to questions about organizations to whom he had not promised secrecy, Hickenlooper said Caplis was "trying to trick (him)" and that if he answered about one recipient, he'd have to respond about all.  It's a ridiculous argument and one which never surfaced during Hickenlooper's discussion with the Denver Post on the same issue.

The interview ended with Hickenlooper saying he probably wouldn't come back on the show because Caplis and Silverman were biased.  That's ridiculous, given the usual balance between the two men, and given the hard conversation on the same type of issue which they had just a day before with Scott McInnis.  Hickenlooper may not have liked it, but Caplis and Silverman were calm, respectful, and completely fair during the interview.  Given how you could almost see Hick squirming in his chair, one has to wonder how he would handle answering difficult questions.

Hickenlooper's evasiveness on this issue will be a major first step in showing the public that he is not just a back-slapping ordinary guy.  Rather he is an ordinary Democrat politician, a Progressive wolf in sheep's clothing. And that is probably what the charitable contributions will show if we ever get to see them.

In the meantime, the theory that Hickenlooper has a political glass jaw, that he won't hold up under the pressure of a serious campaign since he's never had one, is looking like a more solid theory with each passing day.

[Update: Ben DeGrow adds a few thoughts of his own on the subject HERE.]

  • Dave
    Comment from: Dave
    04/29/10 @ 12:03:22 pm

    The true colors of the Mayor have been exposed. He sounds extremely nervous and evasive. Hopefully many potential Hickenlooper voters heard this interview and have doubts about this guy's stance. Cmon how does a founding member of a non-profit not know where the money donated, goes. If this was a game the game would've been dodge ball. I will put money on the odds of declining another interview. Hickenloopper says that the interview is biased. Really? Silverman would in the Mayors corner and probably was up until this.

  • Keith Olson
    Comment from: Keith Olson
    05/02/10 @ 04:31:14 pm

    Excellent recap on the Hick interview I missed. I have since gone back and listened to it. Incredible how he donates $3 million dollars and refuses to disclose. His founding of Chinook Fund gives a little insight into his "social change" mentality. At a minimum his jaw was cracked during the interview. The Arizona issue and his generous giving to amnesty organizations for illegal aliens is timely for the Republican candidate for Governor.

  • Denver Mike
    Comment from: Denver Mike
    05/17/10 @ 03:36:12 pm

    John Hicken(Ritter) has been an ineffective mayor and has shown no real leadership during his tenure. "Aw Shucks" John did a poor job of snow removal during the 2007 Christmas blizzard, and then proceeded to spend thousands of taxpayer's dollars using heavy equipment to remove ice from residential streets because of a failed approach to snow removal in the earlier stages. Further, Hicken(Ritter) has shown no leadership in attempting to attract jobs, but instead has allowed jobs to leave or disappear through high taxes. Frontier Airlines jobs were lost because "Aw Shucks" John took no initiative to see a tax waiver. And, other jobs have been lost because he has not sought lower taxes, but has instead been a proponent for higher taxes. Hicken(Ritter)'s refusal to discuss where his dontations went should also raise flags in voter's minds. Most public figures have no trouble telling where their largess went, and like is noted in the article, most charities don't mind the extra attention.