Ethics Watch asks for probe of McInnis plagiarism reports

Colorado Ethics Watch Wednesday asked the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation to open an investigation into the Denver Post report on Monday that former Congressman Scott McInnis, a Republican candidate for governor, plagiarized articles on water issues that were written by now Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs.

For the formal letter requesting the investigation, go to www.coloradoforethics.org. Here’s the Ethics Watch release on the request:

“Today, Colorado Ethics Watch asked the Office of Attorney Regulation to investigate reports that former Congressman Scott McInnis, a licensed Colorado attorney, earned $300,000 from the Hasan Family Foundation for original writings on water issues but delivered to the foundation reports that were partially written by a non-lawyer assistant and which contained material allegedly plagiarized from an article written by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs when Hobbs was an attorney in private practice.

“Rule 8.4 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits attorneys from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation. Rule 5.3 requires attorneys to supervise non-lawyer assistants to insure that the assistants do not engage in conduct on the lawyer’s behalf that would violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. The application of these rules has been called into question by reports that Congressman McInnis submitted as his own work articles that were partially written by a water engineer, without knowledge or approval from the Hasan Family Foundation, which contained sections that appear to have been copied from a 1984 article written by Justice Hobbs.

“Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch, issued the following statement: ‘News reports alleging that Congressman McInnis’ fellowship work was largely outsourced to a water engineer and contained plagiarized material raise serious ethics questions under the Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to all Colorado lawyers. Today’s filing will ensure that the matter is not overlooked by the Office of Regulatory Counsel simply because no one formally brought it to the office’s attention.’”

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