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May 23, 2011 05:43 PM UTC

McInnis cleared of dishonest lawyer conduct, but slimy, mean politician conduct still a problem

  • by: Jason Salzman

( – promoted by Aristotle)

UPDATE: Seeme Hasan said on Caplis and Silverman today that she and others at the Hasan Foundation had no idea that Rollie Fischer was involved in writing the water articles.


Back in November, Scott McInnis told The Denver Post that he’d clear his name within a few short months. It wasn’t clear what he meant, but you had to assume something would show that he didn’t deserve the harsh treatment he got as he ran for governor in the last election.

He couldn’t show that he really did not commit plagiarism, could he? I mean, the exact words in McInnis’ water articles, written for the Hasan Family Foundation for $300,000, were lifted from another writer’s work. This was clear and irrefutable, right?

McInnis couldn’t blame the media? Or Dick Wadhams? Or even Dan Maes.

What could clear his name?

I waited impatiently, and no name-clearing happened. I was getting real desperate to know WTF was in McInnis’ mind, and today rolled around.

It turns out that an attorney connected to the Colorado Supreme Court conducted an investigation, at the behest of Colorado Ethics Watch, on whether McInnis’ behavior meets the lawyerly snuff test.

His investigation, indeed, cleans up McInnis a bit, but it doesn’t clear his name, unless you believe throwing people under buses is a good idea.

John Gleason, who conducted the investigation, aired his conclusion in documents quoted by the Grand Junction Sentinel (posted previously here)  this morning:

“Based on the sworn testimony of Mr. Fischer and his contemporaneous emails, personal notes and other documents produced by him, it is clear that in 2005, Mr. McInnis both disclosed to Mr. Fischer that his draft articles may be published by the Hasan Family Foundation and instructed Mr. Fischer (a water law expert but inexperienced author) that he must not plagiarize anyone’s work. …”

So Gleason clears McInnis of dishonest lawyerly conduct.

But does it clear him of slimy, squeezy, mean politican conduct? Does it make his conduct look, ah, gubernatorial, if I can use that word there?

Sorry, no.

No one but a lawyer would believe it means much, in the political name clearing business, if emails stated that Rollie Fischer was told not to plagiarize. And he apparently forgot or didn’t read the fine print.

That’s no reason for McInnis to go on TV and blame the plagiarism on Fischer. He should have taken responsibility himself. His name was on it. Fischer was confused, and so were the Hasans, according to the story in the Grand Junction Sentinel today.

Still, we don’t know if today’s news was, in fact, the name-clearing event that McInnis was referring to in November.

You have to guess that it was, or at least that he had found correspondence with Fischer and the Hasans that put the blame for the water plagiarism on Fischer.

If so, if McInnis thought this would Shyne up his image, McInnis still doesn’t get it.

His mistake was throwing his research assistant under the bus. He could have survived the plagiarism, probably. But his handling of it sunk his campaign.

He can’t clear his name of those mistakes. That was his problem then, and that’s what he’s going to have to live with.


14 thoughts on “McInnis cleared of dishonest lawyer conduct, but slimy, mean politician conduct still a problem

  1. McInnis disclosed to the Hassans that he would be using another writer.  According to the investigation, they fully acknowledged it and then forgot same.  Also forgot “same” in media interviews.

    Fisher claimed his “plagiarism” was actually of the public domain.

    According to the investigation, both Fisher and Hasan “forgot” the disclosures.

    No slime here, except from the obvious sources, including the oppositional politics nailing McInnis as a plagarist without proof.

    To be expected, of course.

  2. First, come up with an after-the-fact e-mail to tell you research assistant not to “plagarize” (It must be damn hard to find a good research assistant these days who wouldn’t know that already, huh?)  because you never know when some sneaky reporter creep with an axe to grind is going to make up a bunch of unsubstantiated and fallicious charges months after you cash that wholly deserved check?

    Then second, fail to check your dubious research assistant for that specific misdeed you warned him about.

    Then third, take full credit yourself for the cumulative misdeeds work of the research assisant you failed to check upon, so you get to keep your $300-large.

    I’m no lawyer, but yep — Scotty you’re 100% exonerated.  (I’d say you get your good name back unbesmirched, except that your name is McInnis.)

    1. Actually, and I’m assuming you were trying to reply to me, by “after the fact” I did not intend to imply an e-mail created after the fact the plagarism was discovered and reported.  I meant an e-mail that was not produced at the time of the broohaha when it would have actually been a bit more helpful to the McInsters case, but one that happened to turn up, that with apparently just enough of the right interpretive reading that it could be used as a quasi-alibi.  Poor choice of words on my part.

      But, on that note, has anyone seen the actual wording of this warning from McInnis to Fischer . . . I mean the long-form version?

  3. Then you should probably use a different assistant.

    Just because he didn’t do anything illegal doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything wrong.

      1. If the nickname is the standard by which you judge others, am I to assume that you are CU buffalo mascot?  Apparently, in your mind, the quantity of comments trumps the quality of them.  

        The question still stands… has this “liberal group” — defined as such by The Colorado Statesman — ever succeeded in one of their “ethics” complaints.  No political savvy  individual regards this group as being the least bit objective.

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