Not paying your taxes would be a crime. In a political ad by the Republican Governors Association, which supports the candidacy of Republican Walker Stapleton, his opponent, Democratic candidate Jared Polis is accused of not paying taxes.


Announcer: "Jared Polis got caught."

Political Reporter Shaun Boyd: "For five years, though, before you entered Congress, you paid no federal income tax."

Announcer: "Uh-oh."

Boyd: "And have used onshore and offshore Cayman Island accounts to avoid paying taxes."

Polis: "I think that's, you know, completely appropriate."

VERDICT: True, that Polis did not pay taxes for five years prior to becoming a Congressman, but the ad lacks proper context and is edited in a misleading manner.

The question from Boyd was asked during a May 30 Democratic gubernatorial debate on Colorado Public Television channel 12. The political ad conveniently left out Polis' response prior to the seven words it included, "I think that's, you know, completely appropriate."

VERDICT: The ad's editing is not appropriate.

Here is the response Polis gave to Boyd prior to that sentence:

"First of all, I paid a heck of a lot taxes in the years I made money. When you don't make you money, you can't pay taxes. I've been in public service. My expenses have been greater than my income and that's simply the fact. And I think that is completely appropriate."

In full disclosure, 9NEWS has not seen the tax returns referenced in the question to Polis.

When he was running for Congress in 2008, the Boulder Daily Camera and Denver Post both reviewed seven years of his tax returns.

The reporters who reviewed them found that he did not pay income taxes from 2001 to 2005 because in four of those years he showed a net loss in income.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported that Polis took a loss while developing companies.

When he did make money, the Camera reported that he paid more than $18 million in taxes because of his $120 million adjusted gross income.

9NEWS is still reviewing Polis' financial disclosure reports from 2008 and 2009 to fully explain the reference to the Cayman Islands.

In response to this ad, the Polis for Colorado campaign produced its own political ad.


Announcer: "Oh boy, he's at it again."

Political Reporter Brandon Rittiman: "That's bona fide false."

Announcer: "Walker Stapleton."

Political Reporter Joe St. George: "This is false."

Announcer: "And false TV ads, now attacking Jared Polis."

VERDICT: It's false to say that Stapleton is behind the ad regarding Polis' taxes.

This ad, paid for by Polis for Colorado, falsely suggests that Stapleton was responsible for the previous ad about his taxes.

That ad was paid for by the Republican Governors Association, which supports the candidacy of Stapleton, but is not associated with the Stapleton campaign.

The RGA is based in Washington, D.C. and supports multiple Republican candidates across the country.

Stapleton's campaign has yet to produce any television ads so far.

It's an important distinction because coordination between a campaign and a political action committee would be illegal. A candidate cannot tell a political action committee what message to produce or how to spend money and political action committees are not supposed to do the same with candidates.