Radio host Craig Silverman Tuesday drilled into former Congressman Scott McInnis for his apparent plagiarism of now Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs’s writing on water issues in Colorado. Contrary to Denver Post reports, McInnis claimed he did not sign a form saying that the writing was his original work and said his uncredited assistant, Roland “Rolly” Fischer was responsible for much of the report.
However, according to the Denver Post, the Hasan Family Foundation says there was no talk of assistants and that McInnis wrote in an email that the work was original and not copied from other sources.
McInnis, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial ticket, told Silverman on the Caplis and Silverman show:
“I hired some research assistants because I wanted some expertise on that and the material provided by the research assistant was apparently – well, not apparently – but was material amongst others of Judge Hobbs. His thought was that it was public domain. But regardless I made a mistake by not checking the material when it was sent to me. I took that research on its face value. That was a mistake. I have reached out to both the Hasan Foundation and judge Hobbs and hope to meet with them in the not-too-distant future. You make mistakes, I make mistakes too, and that is what I did. I should have edited …
I had a research assistant and he was 29 or 30 years as the head of Colorado Water Conservation District. He was an expert in water. Great guy. He feels very remorseful about this. He is sick about this, but the fact is that when it came in I should have edited it or verified it or whatever.”
Telling Silverman that Fischer’s research played a substantial role in the development of the articles, McInnis said Fischer had thought that the work was public domain. As that was apparently not the case, McInnis said he “assum[ed] that all the articles are going to need to be vetted. That is just my assumption.”
McInnis further said Fisher was sorry for failing to cite sources, but McInnis accepted responsibility for not editing the work. Fischer, however, did not indicate any remorse Tuesday to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, instead saying that “Scott’s responsible for it.”
Asked by Silverman if McInnis signed a form that said the material he submitted to the Hasan Family Foundation was his individual, original work, as has been reported, McInnis said, “No.”
The Denver Post wrote in its breaking story on Monday: “In 2005, McInnis wrote a memo to Seeme Hasan, the chairwoman of the foundation, updating her on his fellowship program. Noting his series of articles, McInnis said: ‘All the articles are original and not reprinted from any other source.'”
McInnis said he needed a research assistant who was knowledgeable in water issues in the state in much the same way that he needed one for his comment to the U.S. Forest Service on the White River National Forest plan. “It went under my name, but of course I had an assistant.”
“I am not that smart. I can’t do all that. I made a mistake in not verifying the material by the water expert,” said McInnis, who previously has called himself the only water expert in the race.