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.
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.
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.
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.
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.