Hickenlooper Dropped Presidential Bid On Personal Disclosure Due Date

Former governor requested two extensions while running for president

John Hickenlooper
John Hickenlooper / Getty Images

Update Sept. 19 6:20 p.m.: John Hickenlooper's financial disclosures are due within 30 days after announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate. Therefore, the assertion below that his disclosures would not be due "until May 15, 2020," and the conclusions that flow from that assertion are incorrect. We regret the error.

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John Hickenlooper's exit from the presidential race came on the same day he would have had to file his financial disclosure forms with the Office of Government Ethics.

By entering the Colorado U.S. Senate race instead—a job he repeatedly said he did not want and would not be well suited for—the former governor will not have to provide a financial disclosure with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics until May 15, 2020.

After formally becoming a presidential candidate on March 4, 2019, Hickenlooper requested two extensions that were granted by the Federal Election Commission.

The first disclosure deadline was May 15, the second was July 1.

Just a week before the July 1 deadline, attorneys for Hickenlooper filed a request to delay his disclosures because "both the governor and his spouse have each experienced unusually frequent and extended travel during the weeks prior to the deadline, making it exceptionally difficult to compile the necessary information." With that last request granted, his disclosures should have been due August 15, the day he dropped out.

"In addition, the Governor has had to devote a considerable amount of time preparing for the Presidential debates, which will be held two days before the deadline," the request went on to say.

According to a compilation of financial disclosures of all presidential candidates at OpenSecrets.org, Democratic representatives Seth Moulton and Tim Ryan were the only other candidates who asked for extensions to file.

Hickenlooper ran for president for 164 days without filing the disclosures, and if he files on the last day possible under Senate ethics rules, he will have gone an additional 267 days. All told, he could run 431 days in aggregate for federal office without filing disclosures.

Requests for comment to the Hickenlooper campaign were not returned.

Some conservative groups in the state would like to see more transparency from Hickenlooper.

"Hickenlooper's timing is almost too perfect—this way he gets through most of the primary without having to disclose any personal financial information to the public," said Lindsey Singer, communications director for the Republican-oriented Colorado Rising PAC.

"With a couple ethics complaints about his travel hanging over his head, the question that I'm sure will come up in the primary is, what is Hickenlooper trying to hide?"

Singer was referring to a formal ethics complaint filed against Hickenlooper in 2018 alleging that while governor, he violated state rules by improperly accepting free jet rides. In February, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission chose not to dismiss the case so an investigation is still ongoing.

In 2014 as he ran for reelection, he released 27 years of tax records, "but only the two- to three-page summaries for each year," the Denver Post reported. By contrast, his opponent released eight years of his full tax filings.

Issues of transparency have also persisted for Hickenlooper regarding his charitable giving.

He once cut a five-figure check to the IRS to settle an issue over tax conservation easements he apparently counted as charitable contributions on a rural piece of property he owns in Colorado.

Additionally, Hickenlooper declined to reveal on his tax returns what charities he supported because he "didn't want them politicized" and had "promised some of them anonymity," according to the Denver Post.

Hickenlooper maintained that policy of refusing to name the charities he had given to when he ran for reelection in 2014.