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.]
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