July 14th, 2010
09:25 AM ET
4 years ago

Plagiarism charges dog Colorado gubernatorial candidate

 Republican candidate and prominent Colorado lawyer Scott McInnis has apologized for plagiarizing the work of state Supreme Court justice.
Republican candidate and prominent Colorado lawyer Scott McInnis has apologized for plagiarizing the work of state Supreme Court justice.

(CNN) – The leading Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado apologized Tuesday for lifting passages from the writings of a state Supreme Court justice without attribution and is now staving off calls to quit the race.

Republican candidate and prominent Colorado lawyer Scott McInnis privately apologized to Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs Tuesday for using several passages of Hobbs' work in producing a series of essays for which he was paid $300,000 to write, according to the Associated Press.

A spokesman for McInnis called the plagiarism a "serious mistake" and "completely regrettable."

But speaking to Denver television station 9News Tuesday, McInnis called the story a non-issue.

"Voters don't really care about this issue. They care about jobs, getting back to work," he said. "We're going to fix it and move on. These things happen."

According to the Denver Post, McInnis submitted the plagiarized documents - reports on Colorado water rights - in 2005 and 2006 as part of a two-year fellowship with the Hasan Family Foundation for which he was paid the massive six-figure sum.

The reports numbered more than 150 pages in 23 installments and lack any form of attribution, the post also reported, despite including several passages that mirror word-for-word a 1984 essay from Justice Hobbs entitled, "Green Mountain Reservoir: Lock or Key?"

When the Denver Post first reported the instances of plagiarism earlier this week, McInnis, a former U.S. congressman and current partner of the international law firm Hogan Lovells, said the error was primarily the fault of his then-research assistant Rolly Fischer.

"This is a guy I've known all my life," McInnis said. "He…was head of the water district. I think a reasonable person would have relied on that, and I think Rolly felt that he thought it was in the public domain, he wasn't required to footnote the thing."

But speaking to the Glenwood Post Independent, Fischer said that "Scott's responsible for it." He declined to speak further on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Hasan foundation is pledging to launch an investigation into the charge and possibly demand McInnis return the $300,000 he was paid.

"The Hasan Family Foundation takes the issue of plagiarism extremely seriously," foundation chairwoman Seeme Hasan said in a statement. "We will conduct an independent, internal investigation and if the allegations are proven to be true, we will demand Mr. McInnis return all monies paid to him."

McInnis's GOP opponent, local businessman Dan Maes, took aim at McInnis Tuesday, saying, "You can't point fingers, you can't blame others, you have to take responsibility for something you put your name on and take $300,000 for."

But Maes is facing his own political troubles, agreeing earlier this weak to pay more than $17,000 in a fine for campaign finance violations.

The primary election is set for August 10. The winner will face Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Hickenlooper declined to comment on the charges beyond telling the Denver Post that it "create[s] a cloud."

But several state Democrats are calling on McInnis to quit the race, as is the Denver Post in an editorial Wednesday.

"The lifted work, examined in The Denver Post, constitutes inexcusable intellectual thievery. It is so damaging that we believe McInnis ought to drop out of the race," the Denver Post's editorial states. "Colorado's next governor should be a person of integrity, a trusted hand to lead the state through difficult times."


Filed under: Colorado • Popular Posts • Scott McInnis
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    What's a non-issue? He stole someone else's words, and used them to make money? Doesn't anyone in politics know the word ETHICS?

    July 14, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. has apologized for taking passages from the writings of a state Supreme Court justice and passing them off as his own

    sorry, you are sorry?

    are you sorry for acting like a third grader and stealing/copying someone elses work?

    are you sorry for blatantly stealing someone's ideas much like stealing songs on Napster?

    or is this sorry like stealing an idea, saying it was yours to make people think you are smarter than you are when you really don't have any brains or ideas and are an empty suit?

    sad, voters pay attention to what you voted in... what a disgrace

    July 14, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Djinn

    It is usually the case when junior high children steal words that they have nothing of their own to say.

    July 14, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. rdepontb

    Mr. McInnis,

    To steal other's property is one strike; to then profit off it's resale is two strikes; to then claim that strikes one and two somehow do not count-well, you're out.

    Would you really let that slide by if it were an opponent who did this, or even just some third party who did this? It was unethical, unlawful, unkind, and, you have to agree, does not send to the electorate, old and especially young, the kind of message politicians need to project. Good day, sir.

    July 14, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. hobart

    McInnis should not drop out of the race, return the $300,000, and apologize, he should be prosecuted. This attitude is precisely why cheating by students in school and college is so epidemic. If our role models do it, then it must be OK. It's also why the rest of the civilized world is leaving us in the dust intellectually. When did we become such a society of intellectually lazy, underachieving, deliberately stupid people?

    And why has the Republican Party taken such intellectual laziness, stupidity and dishonesty to be their badge of good character?

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    July 14, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. DJ in TX

    In these days and times, politicians should realize anything they have done since "birth" will come up in an election. If you have anything outside a parking ticket, don't run for office. It will come out. Any pictures, writing, or speeches prevously made will show up during a campaign. This is serious. He can't just say people won't think about this. This goes to credibility – fake something to gain money from it. What would he do as governmor????

    My parents live in Colorado, so this does affect me as well.

    July 14, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    WOW! If this guy was a Democrat, there would be calls for impeachment already being screamed out by the Right! This is just another example of how the Republican candidates view integrity.

    July 14, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. doug

    McInnis maybe has big dreams, like one day being Vice President.

    It is a fact that one qualification at least for BARAK OBAMA in choosing a Vice President is someone who has engaged in plagiarism.

    Once again lib libs are asking a Republican to quit a race for doing something that they take pride in when their own Vice President Joe Biden did the exact same thing.

    Lies, hate and hypocrasy, there is nothing else the Democrat party stands for, and if you vote that way then those three words sum up your life as well.

    July 14, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Will South Dakota

    Yeah right...he was caught is all.

    July 14, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. David in Houston

    The GOP...void of ideas.

    July 14, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Dennis

    Well, it seemed to work for Joe Biden. Can't see this being a real neagative.

    July 14, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Keith in Austin

    I can hardly wait to read the hypocritical comments sure to come from the liberal weasels on here!

    Pleasing to know that their days are truly numbered in Washington though.

    July 14, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Tom in Delaware

    Hmmm....maybe he'll be Vice-President one day.

    July 14, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    What is it about the people whos last names begin with Mc?Could it be they are the missing link?Lets look at the genetic line of these people,they seem to need help.

    July 14, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. gt

    this is not news... we lost 5 more americans in afganistan... no jobs.. more and more deaths and wounded soldiers... this is the problem... get our troops home now mr president... no more widows and heart broken parents.....get this economy going !!!!!!!!

    July 14, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. tim

    300k to write essays which he plagarized.

    At any university he would be expelled immediately.

    Now he runs for governor. He'll probably win.

    I think i need to throw up.

    i wrote this all by myself.

    July 14, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. A. Goodwin

    Wow, a republican unable to come up with his own talking points. Priceless. If you in CO vote for this bafoon, then you have everything coming to your state and more.

    July 14, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Alan

    Yes - and these are the bums you want to run a state? He's a CHEATER. He just CHEATED to earn $300,000. And says it's a "non-story." Man - definitely elect this guy for the best leadership you could find.

    July 14, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Ron in california

    A Dem running for Senate in Rhode Island lied about his militray servce n Viet Nam and for the Dems that was Ok. Dispicable.

    July 14, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    Isn't this against the law?

    July 14, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. For Keith in Austin

    you out do yourself for the trash you spew

    how about you find something, anything to do with your life besides HATE

    doesn't matter, your GOPers have done so much damage, it would be hard to imagine the voters would put such ineptitude in office again

    unless the voters are trying to get to the third world faster

    Obama has done a wonderful job thus far at starting a recovery from Cheney/Bush; unbelievable how much damage they wrought

    you need to do something, anything else

    get out of your mom's basement would be a great start

    July 14, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Cindy

    Humm, a layer who didn't cite the source of his prose? There's no excuse for that one.

    July 14, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Rush Limbaugh marries ambulance chaser,and were still laughing

    This guy is a moron,just like the clown kid that sits in his cellar all day and pretends hes a CEO of some company in Austin.hahaha

    July 14, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Brian

    Republican candidates just say whatever they're told to say anyways, so how is this any different?

    July 14, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "Once again lib libs are asking a Republican to quit a race for doing something that they take pride in when their own Vice President Joe Biden did the exact same thing."

    Aside from your hypoerbole, it should be noted that Biden DID drop out of that race...then went on to continue to serve honorably as Senator for 20+ years. McInnis, on the other hand, took ALOT of money for plagiarized work (which makes it far worse) only 4 years ago and has done absolutely nothing to justify any redemption in the eyes of the public. Nothing.

    July 14, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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