Bennet backed 'exotic' financial deals



U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is featured on the front page of today's New York Times in a story about Denver Public School's financial turmoil brought on by a deal advanced by Bennet.

Bennet ... pushed a risky deal?
  • Bennet ... pushed a risky deal?

So far, Bennet hasn't addressed the issues raised in the story, which outline a deal Bennet proposed for Denver Public Schools while serving as superintendent of the district in 2008. The deal involved complex dealings with Wall Street banks, including JPMorgan Chase, and has ended up costing DPS millions of dollars.

So far, the campaign of his Aug. 10 primary opponent, Andrew Romanoff, hasn't weighed in, except to say Romanoff's camp played no role in the story, written by Gretchen Morgenson.

The upshot is that the deal promoted by Bennet carried risk that wasn't fully explained to board members. Now, Bennet is raking in cash for his campaign, with the third highest sector of giving to his campaign coming from securities and investment, according to

The website also reports Bennet had spent nearly $5.9 million as of July 21 on his campaign to hold on to the office to which he was appointed last year by Gov. Bill Ritter.

Romanoff, former Colorado House speaker, has spent about $1.8 million — the amount Bennet still had on hand to spend. Romanoff had $166,500 on hand as of July 21.

Bennet's website offers explanations of Bennet's stances on various issues, including fiscal responsibility, about which he says, in part:

I have personal experience working for organizations facing financial problems. As Managing Director of Anschutz Investment Corporation, I was responsible for reorganizing distressed companies so that they were profitable again. While serving as Mayor Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff, I helped the Mayor define and face a $70 million dollar budget deficit. And, while I served as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, we were able to find innovative ways to approach the District’s budget after years of cuts so that—for the first time in 2008—we did not have to cut any spending on schools and other vital educational programs. These experiences taught me that financial problems are only fixable when the parties involved are transparent about the extent of the problem, honest in their analysis of the size of their debt, and open to changes that will put the organization on sound fiscal footing.

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