“McPlagiarism” Parlor Games Go On–McInnis Still Done

UPDATE #4: Owner of the Denver paper Dean Singleton, on Caplis and Silverman this afternoon, asserts that emails between McInnis, research assistant Rolly Fischer, and/or the Hasan Foundation revealed in today’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel report could be false–principally based on the fact that they were never produced last summer when the plagiarism controversy derailed McInnis’ campaign.

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UPDATE #3: In an interview on the Caplis and Silverman Show today, Seeme Hasan of the Hasan Family Foundation disputes key findings made in the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel’s report on Scott McInnis’ alleged plagiarism. Hasan does say that McInnis informally notified them of Rolly Fischer’s “assistance,” but also insists that the “Musings on Water” articles were represented by McInnis to be “original and not reprinted from any other source.” Hasan is very clear that she had no idea Fischer was responsible for any content of essays submitted to her foundation under McInnis’ name, or the nature of Fischer’s assistance.

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UPDATE #2: There seems to be a strategy to attack the Denver newspaper’s credibility over this. As our readers know, this particular blog may not really be the best choice to defend the Denver Post–but none of those interested in avenging Scott McInnis today seem to recall that he also “forgot” these mitigating emails last summer when he was defending himself from the allegation. In other words, he forgot key details at the moment when they would have done him the most good, maybe even saved his nomination. Which is kind of strange, don’t you think?

And then there’s this 2005 note from McInnis to the Hasan Foundation that evidently wasn’t so hard to recall, printed again today by the same Denver paper:

All the articles are original and not reprinted from any other source.

We’re thinking McInnis should have, um, verified that? In any event, the Denver paper can’t be blamed for reporting what was plain for all to see, and they aren’t mind-readers–certainly not when the players involved couldn’t remember their own alibis until months after the fact.

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UPDATE: Via a reader, the wingnut version up at Townhall.com:

Media, Muslim Family Sabotaged GOP in Colorado in 2010

Media malpractice combined with disgruntled Muslim Republican family- who later defected to the Democrats- caused the GOP to lose the governor’s race in Colorado in 2010.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s Attorney Regulation Counsel issued a report last week clearing the top Republican candidate of unsubstantiated charges made by the Denver Post and the Hasan family at the end of the campaign. The charges influenced the outcome of the election…

The case is almost a treatise on why the public no longer trusts their newspapers and local TV stations to be fair and accurate. If there were any more red flags on the case, they would have had to include the hammer and sickle.

They don’t mince words at Townhall.com, folks.

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As Jason Salzman writes this morning below, following the Grand Junction Sentinel’s original report, ex-GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis has indeed accomplished something we would not have predicted–according to the state Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, McInnis will face no legal sanction over allegations that he plagiarized large sections of articles on water law by Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs as part of an education contract for the Hasan Foundation. The Sentinel’s Gary Harmon:

Letters signed by John S. Gleason, who heads the office of attorney regulation, said the incident that shattered McInnis’ attempt for the Republican nomination for governor, was the result of a series of forgotten conversations and emails among the principals, including officials of the Hasan Foundation, which demanded that McInnis repay $300,000 he had been paid for the articles.

Investigators spoke with officials of the foundation and Rollie Fischer, the former head of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, who McInnis engaged as a research assistant.

“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. …” Gleason wrote.

Hasan Family Foundation officials were aware that Fischer had been retained as a research assistant, the letter noted.

The way the attorney regulator’s office tells the story, The Hasan Foundation erred by claiming they never knew about “research assistant” Rolly Fischer. Fischer, in turn, allegedly thought the water articles from Hobbs were “in the public domain,” which somehow made them available to be thinly reworded and republished as articles by Scott McInnis–presumably you could do the same thing with Shakespeare or Tolstoy too! But apparently McInnis had included sometime in his correspondence with Fischer a note that plagiarism is wrong and to please avoid it.

So everything’s settled then–Fischer goes under the bus after all, McInnis walks away? Uh, no.

The biggest problem with this explanation for McInnis is the extent of the plagiarism now pinned on Fischer. More than an isolated incident, McInnis–or Fischer–copied page after page of Hobbs’ material. Fischer’s silly claim that Hobbs’ work was “public domain” breaks down either at the length of the copying or the telltale token edits made to the copy, and either way the sheer volume of this finished prose is well beyond the scope of a “research assistant.” Regardless of whether the existence of such an assistant was disclosed to the Hasan Foundation, the volume of Fischer’s “contributed” writing raises its own questions. How much of these essays did McInnis himself write at all? Just the awful “Water! Hooah!” introductions?

In short, it looks to us like the attorney regulation office has answered one question: whether McInnis’ plagiarism scandal was enough to cost him his law license in addition to his political career. Apparently it wasn’t enough to disbar McInnis based on the office’s standards, but the political damage, from declaring massive plagiarism committed by somebody a “non-issue” to instantly throwing an old man under the wheels, and revealing his “expertise” on water policy to be an artifice of note cards and “research assistants”–let’s not forget about the damage here that can’t be undone, folks. McInnis may run for office again someday, being endlessly ambitious and feisty and tone-deaf like that. But he’ll never be a viable contender again.

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48 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    n/t 20th Maine

  2. davebarnes says:

    http://finance.townhall.com/co

    “Media, Muslim Family Sabotaged GOP in Colorado in 2010”

    • BlueCat says:

      McInnis is totally vindicated and…wouldn’t you know…it’s one more thing that’s all the fault of the Muslims and the Muslim loving librul media.  Basically it’s all Ali’s fault, right? Gee and we always liked Ali!  But we should have known better.  you can’t trust any of those people.

      When are we going to be erecting that statue?  The one with Mcinnis in the role of Christ on the cross?  

      • Aristotle says:

        getting on Ali Hasan’s case for switching parties and labeling the GOP as “racist.” I bet most of them would write the author of this piece off, and also ignore all the other Republicans who say and write stuff like this too.

        • Go Raiders* says:

          He is a blithering idiot who never should have gotten a job there publishing the drivel that he passes off as commentary.

          As much as I disagree with Ali’s choice to leave the GOP, he has always been honest and upfront with his opinions, and for that I respect him.

          • Aristotle says:

            I don’t know much about Townhall.com, but when I clicked on the link, the page included a prominent ad that offered a free Ann Coulter book with Townhall magazine. I’m guessing that this is a pretty good indication of where the editors and writers are coming from.

    • Echo chamber ad absurdum.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      allegation being made–that Hasan’s family fed the Denver Post all of the information.

      I love how they blast the DP for going after McInnis without proof and then immediately turn around and do the same thing themselves.

      Clearly irony is a foreign concept to John Ransom.  

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        They’re Muslims.

        • Middle of the Road says:

          When Ransom puts it as part of his title, it’s pretty difficult for me to come to any other conclusion, other than he’s a bigot and racist and that negates everything else he has to say, in my opinion. And I don’t throw those terms around lightly.  

          • TobiasFunke says:

            I used to work with him.

            He is very much all of those things you listed. When our publisher pulled the plug on our publication, prior to having published a single page, he cursed a blue streak and said some VERY unflattering things about the publisher’s number 2…

            All in all, just a very unpleasant man to be around. All bluster, no substance, and that’s the best I can say about him.

  3. BlueCat says:

    because he had nothing to do with writing the articles.  All he did was get somebody else to do it and take the money.  And he did issue a warning that plagiarism is bad. Guess signing your name and taking the pay for someone else’s articles is OK.  Good deal.  Lots of students will be happy to hear it, substituting grade for pay.  

    Mainester ought to feel completely vindicated and McInnis should now be our hero. Not any kind of authority on water issues and maybe not capable of stringing words together coherently but a sterling character in every other way. Got it.  Where do we sign up to work on his next campaign? Hey, I hear there are still openings for 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls.

  4. Vote Republican! I see the vindication paying dividends in the message department.

  5. Ignatius O'Reilly says:

    Lance Armstrong didn’t dope!

    Bill Clinton never had sex with that woman!

    And the tooth fairy is stopping by my house tonight.

  6. Aristotle says:

    Those of you crowing about McInnis’ “vindication” should explain how that’s so, given these particulars. (I’m speaking politically, not legally here.)

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      He was so shocked at being accused of something so awful as plagiarism, he forgot all the mountains of obvious proof he had that it wasn’t true! Because that’s what you do when you’re accused of stuff–completely forget the proof of your innocence!

      Personally, it smells like shit to me and I’m not sure I buy a word of it. I can sit down with Notepad and make you all the fake emails you want, complete with very realistic looking headers, dates, and times. Did the Supremes check the server logs? Were these printouts of the suddenly produced exonerating emails, or digital copies?

      It would really suck if the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel got snookered, wouldn’t it?

  7. Diogenesdemar says:

    some water articles for a gruntled Muslim family?

  8. pistol says:

    the price paid was very dear.  As previously posted, opposition politics ran with it, without any proof, or citation.

    The memories of Fischer and Hasan certainly are suspect, particularly with the timing of the paper’s release during the primary, along with McInnis not endorsing Hasan’s ill-fated state treasurer campaign.

    McInnis’s political future is questionable, but Hasan’s?

    • RedGreen says:

      He won’t be disbarred over this, but that’s far from an exoneration.

    • I personally do not want to speak on the matter, as I do not sit on the Hasan Family Foundation board and I don’t know whether the Foundation is considering a response or not

      That said – in regarding to Pistol’s post, I NEVER asked Scott McInnis for his endorsement when I ran for State Treasurer in 2010

      I did ask McInnis for his endorsement when I ran for HD56 in 2008, as the only Republican in the race (when I ran against Christine Scanlan, the Democrat) and he refused to endorse me – at that point, my personal friendship with Scott McInnis ended and I had no desire to even ask for his endorsement in 2010

      Just wanted to make that clear

      Love and peace to you all! ALI

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        has to be more than tiring, and I’m often one who recommends against dignifying a load of crap with any response, but in this case I do hope that the Foundation will consider releasing an appropriate response.

        Best wishes.

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        I’d like to know if the emails McInnis is using to exonerate himself between himself and Seeme were produced by McInnis, or by Seeme. Can you confirm that the emails in question were found on BOTH McInnis and Seeme Hasan’s computers? Or just McInnis? If you don’t know, that’s cool too, I won’t press you. But I think this is a potentially very important detail.

      • Canines says:

        “McInnis Assists Democrat in Statehouse Campaign.”

      • pistol says:

        My posting of McInnis’s lack of support for Mr. Hasan’s 2010 treasurer run was obviously inaccurate.  It appears my memory is also impaired.

    • As for the “proof,” there was the steady drip, drip, drip of getting paid $300K for doing apparently little to no work which was based to a significant extent on lifting whole chunks of copy from the state’s preeminent water expert. All of this appeared under McInnis’ name. None of that is contested. McInnis defenders are arguing that a newspaper should look the other way when the candidate in question asserts there’s nothing to see here.

      Consider it this way, Doris Kearns-Goodwin would’ve lost her race for governor too, even with her nearly identical excuse of blaming research assistants.  And the funny thing is, it was the Weekly Standard that accused her of plagiarism. Guess that was oppositional politics too?

      http://www.forbes.com/2002/02/

  9. Friends – my mother, Seeme Hasan, Hasan Family Foundation Chair, should be on radio today responding

    Caplis and Silverman have asked her to come on today and she is planning on appearing – this is not fully confirmed, but I think she’ll be on

    Lastly, she has spoken to the Denver Post, thus, there will be some type of Foundation response, to my best knowledge  

  10. Gilpin Guy says:

    about McInnis submitting his work with a claim that it was all his writing and original.

    So the schmuck turns in a paper without bothering to proof it in any way and being an expert on water issues totally misses that it is plagiarized from one of the most well known experts in the field.

    How is he not at fault?

    • Middle of the Road says:

      I can’t find the link but he said it in a radio interview with Craig Silverman, I believe.  

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        http://www.coloradopols.com/sh

        . . .

        To win a fraud case against McInnis, according to lawyers I spoke with, the foundation would have to prove four general elements, which hinge on  whether McInnis knew his articles were plagiarized.

        Asked by Craig Silverman yesterday whether he had signed a form stating that his work was “original,” McInnis said no.  

        But as has been widely reported, 2005 memo submitted to “Seeme Hasan, Chairwoman; Hasan Foundation” under the name of “Scott McInnis, Senior Fellow” states, “All the Articles are original and not reprinted from any other source.”  

        • Middle of the Road says:

          I wish I had the time to track down the interview.

          It was right after McInnis got the gig with the Foundation and he talks about how excited he is to write about something he “knows a little about” and how much he was being paid, what a sweet gig it was, et al. I’ll look around a bit tomorrow for it, if somebody smarter doesn’t beat me to it. The biggest thing in that interview is that he talks about writing this himself.  

          • droll says:

            http://www.khow.com/cc-common/

            21:15. He doesn’t say it’s original, but he does say that it was “in depth” writing on his part. Can plagiarism be in depth? And aren’t we all each other?

            Anyway, keep listening and he says he’s “thrilled” and “got paid.” Something else, too. Couldn’t stand to listen to it again.

  11. CompleteColorado says:

    Is the Colorado Independent involved in this strategy?  From Tomasic’s article:

    “The Counsel’s report on the investigation released Friday fingers the Denver Post, which broke the plagiarism story, as the guilty party in the scandal, saying the paper’s reporting was riddled with errors.”

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      have a long record of being fully half right half the time, doesn’t mean THIS story was riddled with errors.

      (Past performance is no guarantee of future results . . .)

  12. JeffcoBlue says:

    On Caplis, which I’m sorry to admit I am listening to now, Dinky Singleton is openly speculating that the “evidence” McInnis was “exonerated” on could easily be fabricated.

    Never thought I’d say this but go Dinky Singleton? (shudder)

    • Aristotle says:

      If it simply had been a case of “there’s insufficient evidence of wrongdoing,” it would likely have no life after today. But I’ve already wondered to myself about whether there was cronyism involved in the decision – it’s just flying in the face of so much that was already revealed, such as the memo which was part of the discussion last summer. Now we have a heavyweight going public with suspicions of fabricated evidence?

      No wonder there were spinners at work today.

    • One: McInnis cronies involved with the investigation leaked the report to friendly reporters and went to work spinning it as vindication. State Republicans start lighting their hair on fire when they realize that plagiarism is going to be in the news again.

      Two: State Republicans push the ‘vindication’ story from within their uncritical laugh factory this morning, and now start realizing that it might not work out well for them.

  13. sxp151 says:

    Fischer wrote the articles, McInnis put his name on them, case closed. How is that a defense?

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      and McInnis signed off on it without nary a correction.  You have to wonder if McInnis ever actually read any of the material that he submitted as original and authentic.  And he got paid $300,000 for signing his name an amateur writing project.

      How the hell do you consider that exonerated?

  14. gertie97 says:

    So far several skunks have shown up at the picnic: Singleton, Hasan and McInnis’ lackeys, with Rolly lurking in the background hoping it will all go away.

    The spray is flying, folks. I advise standing back.

  15. Gilpin Guy says:

    A practitioner of confidence tricks

    A con man. Someone who pulls confidence games.

    Seems to fit no matter how exonerated McInnis is.

  16. Gray in the mountains says:

    of the frequency with which lawyers discipline themselves. Are they a little more scrupulous than physicians?

    I hope we some day know how Jason and then the Post tracked down Scooter’s plagiarism. I do remember making a broad recommendation that someone could go to Ft Lewis and look through his “papers”.

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