Scott McInnis: Hasan Foundation Critical of Plagiarism Response

Looks like it might be curtains for Scott McInnis who's been caught plagiarizing while serving as a $300,000 fellow in 2005 to 2006 for the Hasan Foundation. McInnis' explanation: he blames his research assistant.

McInnis said he paid Rolly Fischer, a Glenwood Springs engineer, to help him with the articles and Fischer was responsible for the content that was plagiarized.

The Hasan foundation responds, refuting his "rough draft" explanation and expressing surprise at the research assistant disclosure, since McInnis' wasn't supposed to be using one [More...]:

In light of the accusations against Scott McInnis regarding plagiarism of articles to the Hasan Family Foundation, I am shocked, angry and disappointed. Any work related to the fellowship that Mr. McInnis submitted was always represented as final. At no time, whatsoever, did Mr. McInnis communicate that any of the work were "rough drafts." Any representation that they were submitted to the Foundation as "rough drafts" is absolutely incorrect.

In addition, there were never discussions nor any knowledge by the Foundation that Mr. McInnis was working with a "research advisor." If indeed Mr. McInnis was working with a "research advisor," it was never brought to our attention, nor authorized. 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...[a]ll work was represented to be original and final. 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 by the Foundation.

McInnis' articles are online at the Hassan Foundation site here. The Denver Post has this interactive with comparisons.

The Hasan Foundation was not happy with his work, and declined to renew the fellowship.

However, after McInnis took an additional full-time job with Hogan & Hartson, Hasan said it became apparent he wasn’t doing the work the foundation had expected....In 2006, when it came time to consider renewing McInnis' fellowship, Hasan said the former congressman's job performance made the foundation's decision an easy one.

"The feeling was, if he did a good job, we would review it and extend it for another year or two," Hasan said. "After two years, Scott called and asked if it would be extended. I said, 'In good faith, I cannot recommend that to the foundation board.'" The fellowship terminated after running out its original period, Hasan said.

Back to Rolly Fischer. He's no research assistant, he headed up the Colorado River Water Conservation District for 28 years. Here he is commenting on water at a panel with President Jimmy Carter in 1977. President Carter says, "I might point out that Rolly Fischer is the secretary of engineering of the Colorado Water Conservation District and an acknowledged expert on Western Slope water."

What does Mr. Fischer have to say? Not much.

“Scott's responsible for it,” stated Fisher, an engineer who worked for the Colorado River Water Conservation for, when asked whether he was responsible for articles attributed to McInnis.
Beyond that, Fisher said flatly, “I have nothing to say.”

According to McInnis:

"This is a guy I've known all my life," McInnis told Fox 31 in Denver. "He…was head of the water district. I think a reasonable person would have relied on that; and I think Rollie felt, whatever, that he thought it was in the public domain, he wasn't required to footnote the thing."

"The fortunate thing is it's a mistake, we discovered it, nothing was ever published on it, and it can be corrected," McInnis continued. "It's serious, but this isn't the end of the world."

No, it's not the end of the world. But it could be the end of his run for Governor.

What really happened? If I had to speculate, I'd say McInnis called Fischer as an adviser, not a research assistant; Fischer sent him material that might be helpful, including Hobbs' article; and that was the end of his involvement. McInnis says Fischer is willing to accept responsibility. But for what? Sending him the Hobbs article to give him ideas for his own, or drafting a plagiarized article. I'll bet it's the former, and Fischer doesn't cop to plagiarizing. At most I'll bet he says he sent McIniss the article and may not have have written the author's name on it, so maybe McInnis thought Fischer had written it. But considering Fischer is an expert and not a research assistant, wouldn't McInniss still be a plagiarizer? Does it make a difference whether it was Fischer or Hobbs he plagiarized? He knew the article(s) wasn't his own.

What else will people start looking at? In 2005, the Pueblo Chieftain noted:

McInnis is the former chairman of the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health and wrote the Healthy Forest Restoration Act which President Bush signed last year. ...

McInnis seems pretty tone deaf for a politician, to say this is no big deal. That misjudgment may end up being a bigger problem for him than the plagiarism.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Questions of the Hasan Foundations... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:29:00 PM EST
    motivations for contracting Scooter to write these papers in the first place remain.  Why give him 300K to write on a subject that he has absolutely no expertise in?  Why contract for articles on a subject that the Foundation has no connection to?  

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven and reaks of the Hasan's trying to buy influence on behalf of their son's (Ali) political aspirations.  

    Ha! A student tried just this excuse (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:05:44 PM EST
    with me:  "But my frat brothers helped me with the research" -- and they didn't tell him it was word-for-word from some website.

    Ummm, the definition of plagiarism includes representing as your own work what is the work of others.

    I give McGinnis the same grade that the student got.  

    Major Spelling Alert, Jeralyn: (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 07:01:25 AM EST
    it's "Hasan" with one "s," not "Hassan," with two.

    And your tag misspells "McInnis" - you show it as "McIniss."

    It just keeps getting worse... (none / 0) (#3)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:40:30 AM EST
    ...for ole Scooter...

    To briefly summarize, McInnis published an op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News in December of 2004 that directly lifted the words of a Washington Post opinion piece about a month and a half prior. The following January, McInnis gave a speech on the floor of Congress that again lifted this text without attribution. This new incident can't be pinned on the 'researcher' McInnis is blaming the incidents of plagiarism from his "Musings on Water" articles for the Hasan Foundation--a shifting of blame that doesn't help McInnis anyway, since the Hasans insist that the essays were always represented as McInnis' sole work.


    Donald (none / 0) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:04:53 AM EST
    near-total lack of intellectual honesty in the GOP

    I think you are being generous.

    The Denver Post (none / 0) (#5)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:40:37 AM EST
    has a strong editorial today with the heading that McInnis "should throw in the towel." The editorial directly calls for him to withdraw from the race--bolstered with some early character alerts demonstrated by McInnis--and concludes that he is "not fit to be governor."

    Normally, I would agree (none / 0) (#6)
    by christinep on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:46:32 AM EST
    with the picture that you paint, Donald from Hawaii. I'll say it: This time looks to be different--not because of the Republicans (who are quite quiet or, as with Wadhams, blustering in trying to change the subject.  It is different because, lo and behold, the media (print, TV, and radio) are extremely critical of McInnis with this epsidoe; the media and related associates are piling on with a ferocity. All in the past 36 hours. The story has a kind of whirlwind quality at this point.

    What's Really Funny... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:00:52 PM EST
    ...is his fellowship wasn't extending, in other words his work was so bad that he couldn't even plagiarize himself into keeping his job.  

    It's like getting caught cheating on a test that you failed anyways.

    If you are going to plagiarize/cheat do it in a way that at least insures some sort of success, because failing and plagiarizing/cheating is beyond pathetic.