It was disappointing to see a copy of the latest Colorado Statesman and read the headline: “Hasan opens treasurer’s race by attacking his foes.” Just last week I welcomed Ali Hasan to the Republican state treasurer’s primary and re-issued the admonition to stay focused on incumbent Cary Kennedy.
Not that Hasan or any other candidate has any special need to defer to my wishes. But in a potentially promising year for Republicans and fiscal conservatives, with an incumbent Democrat at the end of the tunnel, the advice is very sound. So seeing the newcomer to the race blasting fellow Republicans J.J. Ament and Walker Stapleton as “fiscal liberals” in the first paragraph of the story just about made my head spin.
Reading the substance of the charges, at least as presented in the Statesman article, made it even worse. Most disturbing was the quote taken out of context from Stapleton’s website — portraying a descriptive statement about what could happen if we don’t reform the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) as a normative statement about Stapleton’s agenda:
Hasan also placed a poster featuring Stapleton’s picture and a boldface quote onto an easel. Hasan read aloud the quote, which he attributed to Stapleton’s campaign Web site.
“At best, PERA’s future is questionable. And the risk extends beyond government workers to every taxpayer in the state, since any unfunded liability in state pension funds will ultimately have to be borne by a Colorado-taxpayer-funded bailout.”
Hasan deemed Stapleton a “fiscal liberal” who will use taxpayers’ money to bail out PERA.
“I feel that Walker Stapleton will use the bully pulpit of the state treasurer’s office to help PERA — not the Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” said Hasan. “Over my dead body would a bailout of PERA take place by increasing taxes on every Coloradan.”
It doesn’t matter if you like the idea or not. The fact of the matter is that if we let PERA go insolvent, the obligation for the debt rests with the state — and ultimately with the taxpayer.
Therefore, not only did Hasan falter in his opening gambit by attacking his Republican primary opponents, but at least one of those attacks is fundamentally unserious. (And maybe someone out there can help me make sense of the claim that Ament’s stance on Pension Obligation Bonds represents a violation of the spirit — if not the letter — of TABOR. I certainly don’t see it.)
I hope that there was a lot missing from the Statesman story, but it’s hard to see how it could make the situation much better. If this is the start of a developing theme, then I can confidently say the two earlier candidates in the race have made much stronger cases for their own credentials and qualifications to replace Cary Kennedy.
I still have much to learn, but I don’t see any advantage in the timing and approach to Hasan’s entry into the treasurer’s race. Whether you agree or disagree, don’t forget to sound off on this race and others by Friday afternoon on our survey of Colorado’s political temperature.
Dick Murphy says
This attack was consistent with everything I’ve seen from Hasan; misinformed and largely incorrect. The reference to Ament’s POB piece was a reference to a marketing piece done when Ament was working as an investment banker. The marketing piece simply stated the facts and was not an attempt to overthrow TABOR. Earlier this year, Hasan indicated he would run the treasury like the Harvard endowment. He didn’t seem to realize at the time that the Harvard endowment was down 30% compared to slight interest earnings for the state treasury. He simply does not understand the role of a treasury in a large organization.
Ali Hasan says
Dearest Ben –
As a fan of your blog and regular reader, I thought it important to reply – that said, our approach to the State Treasurer’s race is not at all misguided, nor are our attacks “unserious”
On November 5th of 2008, I woke up having lost in a very closely contested State House race here in Colorado. I had ran against Democratic incumbent Christine Scanlan in HD56, a district considered by many to be one of the most Democrat-leaning in Colorado. In knocking on 20,000 doors and standing on many street corners, I was proud to come away as the only contested Republican to win Eagle County, as well as leading the ticket in Summit and Lake, outperforming the McCain campaign by around 10 points.
I proudly carried the fiscal conservative flag to every door I knocked on, making the empowerment of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights one of my biggest talking points – and despite the oncoming Obama Tsunami, I didn’t bend on any of my convictions.
Fast forward to McCain’s support of the bailout – we were ahead in our polling, as of early October, only to see our numbers plummet shortly after McCain supported the bailout – and for good reason – after advertising Hasan 2008 as fiscal conservative charge, it was impossible to defend the rest of the Republican Party that has sold us out by submitting to the fiscal liberalism of TARP.
We lost 2008 because of the bailout and it is something I will never forget.
That said – Hasan 2010 is not just about carrying the fiscal conservative flag into our State Treasury – this is also about holding the Republican Party accountable – to make sure that the next GOP Bailout and Referendum C is prevented, not empowered – a duty I take seriously because I love our Party deeply.
I also politely disagree with Dick Murphy – the criticisms levied against Ament and Stapleton are serious and should be discussed.
Rather than engage in a long debate here, I suggest everyone to download HASAN’S STATE TREASURY PLAN off my campaign website, where you will see an overview of the State Treasury, an analysis of my goals as State Treasurer, and the articulated differences between me and my opponents –
Secondly, the book that JJ Ament personally wrote to Cary Kennedy, can be found here on my ISSUES page, obtained by CORA request from the State Treasury – you decide how serious of a matter it is –
JJ Ament and Walker Stapleton are honorable men – I would never take that away from them…
Nonetheless, we can no longer afford to run a Country Club GOP primary – this is the sunrise of our good Party…. a better Party…. something we will, in time, celebrate once the dust settles……
Lastly, I love Colorado and my motivation to better our good State is what drives me – I have done my best to openly and honestly articulate my viewpoints in my State Treasury Plan, linked above, a document I’m happy to share with all…. and from here on out, I’m going to work very hard to build a relationship with everyone in Colorado…..
Love and peace to you all!
Brian Wilson says
Uniformed? Maybe slightly, but with his experience and drive Hasan could learn the ropes pretty quickly. I haven’t decided yet whether to support him at the state convention, but he’s sure right about one thing – we need to get away from the Country Club, good-ole-boys network GOP!