Seeing the Round Corners

September 10, 2018


   Transparency is a word thrown around a lot by candidates and local, city and state governments these days. Ethics used to be in that category but not so much anymore. What seems to drive those ideas is “do as I say, not as I do.”

Candidate Jared Polis has made quite a strong effort to as he puts it, “toavoid even the appearance of impropriety.” An earlier column highlighted Polis’ “health care is a human right,” but further review of said explanation raises some eyes about the sincerity of what he says.

The Center of Responsive Politics, “a clearinghouse for all kinds of public information on members of Congress, (parsing and estimating financial data from disclosures,) and their methodology is applied consistently, with their estimates often used as a baseline standard by politicians, candidates and journalists. The CRP estimated Polis net worth “around $140 to $170 million dollars between 2007 to 2010. By 2014, Polis wealth spiked to about $387 million. 

Readers will recall in Seeing the Round Corners August 27, 2018 column, Polis reportedly made no money from 2001 to 2005 (remember “When you don’t make any money, you can’t pay taxes.”) Quite a turn around most readers would opine.

Peter Schweizer, a conservative political author, raised questions in 2012 book about Polis health care investments, citing Polis’ “yes” vote on the Affordable Care Act, even though he voted “no” in committee (true, the “no” vote was on the earliest form of the bill).

How does the question of transparency come into this? According to Scheizer, “Polis co-founded the private company BridgeHealth Medical in Colorado, which in its early days was a pioneer in what’s known as “medical tourism,” whereby patients – with help of a company like BridgeHealth – could find lower surgery costs in places such as India or Costa Rica. Polis is most adept at dodging such accusations. Read on.

Schweizer explains that much of Polis’ activity with BridgeHealth came in the years leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and identified it as “one of the more creative and cynical plays on health care reform.” Schweizer writes:

  • In other words, Polis was betting that there would be more, not less, medical tourism after the passage of health care reform. Companies in the medical tourism industry generally agreed, and favored Obamacare. They did not believe the bill would actually contain costs, and if anything, they expected overseas medical procedures to become more attractive. Medical Tourism magazine featured an article after the passage of the bill entitled “Medical Tourism Expands as Alternative to Obamacare.” As the article put it, “interest in medical tourism has expanded rapidly as Americans react to the new federal law.”

      How did Polis react/rebut these criticisms?  In typical political rhetoric – answering a question that was not asked:

“The fact is that I have not purchased stock in any publicly traded company since entering Congress, [Schweizer’s] assertions are blatantly and verifiably false. Additionally, when I was first elected in 2008, I decided to set up a blind trust to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, a step few members take and that is not required.”

  • When cornered on this point, Polis emphasized in 2012 that his investments into BridgeHealth were loans –  Polis showing  transaction in his disclosure list as “Convertible Notes Receivable.”

   Polis’ listed assets for his blind trust in the range of $25 to $50 million, but an estimate from the Center for Responsive Politics found that Polis had at least four other assets listed in the same monetary range which figures out to between 10 and 20 percent of his overall wealth. The other noteworthy item – investment in BridgeHealth – continued well into 2015, but has never been in the blind trust.

In 2015, “the last year which CRP aggregated, estimated, and sorted all of the financial information for Polis, Polis had an equity position in BridgeHealth somewhere between $5 and $25 million, and he had “note/note receivable” positions in the company for the same asset range.”

Just based on the BridgeHealth matter, it does not take a rocket scientist to “observe” just how adept Polis is at blatantly twisting of the ideas of transparency to his own advantage.  


   (Note: Credit is given by this writer to Todd Shepherd of the Free Beacon for his incredible detailed work.)

The mission of Seeing the Round Corners is to evoke a thought process and interest in becoming better informed and to be skeptical of the headline-grabbing purveyors of information. The writer is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.


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