[UPDATE: Scott McInnis has canceled his appearance at a meeting hosted by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. McInnis planned to be at the meeting to lend his support to the Northern Integrated Supply Project, a controversial water diversion plan and reservoir. McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy told the Denver Post in an email that the campaign didn’t want the event to "turn into something else" because of the controversy currently surrounding McInnis. While we're not certain what Duffy means, we're almost certain he means he doesn't want it to turn into a public lambasting of a water policy expert fraud. -Ed.]
Republican candidate for Colorado Governor Scott McInnis said on his Facebook page on Thursday that he is "in it to win it" and has no plans to quit the race for governor despite revelations that he had plagiarized several pages of water policy writing as part of a paid research fellowship in 2005 and 2006.
A former U.S. Representative, McInnis, who left office in 2004, was paid $300,000 by the Hasan Family Foundation to do speaking engagements and research and write a monthly article on water issues. But an excellent investigation by The Denver Post uncovered that at least 4 of the 23 articles submitted by McInnis as his own work were clearly plagiarized from a 1984 essay written by current Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs and published by the Colorado Water Congress titled, "Green Mountain Reservoir: Lock or Key."
Justice Hobbs is one of the foremost experts on Colorado water and natural resources law.
The Post found that in one of his installments of his Musings on Water series, titled, "Pumpbacks and Roundtables," McInnis uses four full pages that are nearly reprinted verbatim from Hobbs' earlier work.
>>See The Denver Post's interactive comparison of the two articles (pdf)<<
But McInnis blames a researcher by the name of Rolly Fischer, a Glenwood Springs engineer who worked at the Colorado River Water Conservation District, as the one who was responsible for the portions of the articles that were used without attribution.
But the problem is that not only are the articles discussing state water policy absent footnotes, endnotes or other forms of attribution, Fischer's name appears nowhere on the work McInnis submitted as his own for publication by the Hasan Family Foundation.
Needless to say, the benefactors were not pleased with the revelations of McInnis' potentially fraudulent behavior.
"I am shocked, angry and disappointed," the chairwoman of the Hasan Family Foundation, Seeme Hasan, said in a statement late Monday. "In addition, there were never discussions nor any knowledge by the Foundation that Mr. McInnis was working with a 'research advisor.' ... The work that the Foundation hired Mr. McInnis to do was to be done solely by Mr. McInnis, and not in concert with anyone else."
The now 82-year-old Fischer says he never knew McInnis was even working for a research foundation, let alone getting paid quite handsomely for the articles. Fischer told a Denver TV station that he never knew the articles were for publication. "I had this sophomoric assumption that he wanted them for his own inventory," Fischer told KMGH.
Perhaps the more damning news that came from Fischer was an apparent attempt by the McInnis campaign to get Fischer to accept full blame for the incident.
Fischer received the following letter from the McInnis campaign, pre-written and ready for him to sign:
I am writing to express my sincere apology for failing to provide appropriate attribution for the research I provided for the water articles we collaborated on. While my mistake was not intentional, it is nonetheless clear that this material needed footnotes.
This mistake was solely my own and I recognize that my work fell short of the expectations you had when you included me in this project.
Again, please accept my deep apology.
Fischer: no intention of signing letter. McInnis: No intention of dropping out
Fischer said he has no intention of signing the letter and McInnis said he has no intention of dropping out. So we'll see how this plays out. McInnis was believed to be holding a pretty sizable lead over the other Republican, Dan Maes, a TEA Party-supported conservative who still doesn't believe that global warming and climate changed are caused by human actions.
McInnis' environmental record isn't much better, however. In 2003, while he was serving in Congress, the League of Conservation Voters scored McInnis a 15 on their 100-point scale of environmentally-friendly votes.
For the Democrats, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will be on the ballot this coming November. Hickenlooper, the geologist-turned-brewpub owner will get the nod in the place of outgoing Governor Bill Ritter, a staunch supporter of developing what he called Colorado's 'New Energy Economy' - a new research and manufacturing sector centered on solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and other clean energy technology.
Images: top - screenshot taken 7/15/10; right - Wikimedia Commons