McInnis asked to renew water fellowship, Hasans laughed him off

When Scott McInnis left Congress and came to the Hasan family looking for work, sympathetic Malik Hasan gave McInnis a $300,000 fellowship that he believed was a career maker. According to an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain published Sunday, Hasan had seen the dusty devastation that came of water grabs in the state and knew that water was perhaps the top long-term policy issue for residents of Colorado and beyond. The issue called out for a leader. In giving McInnis a grant to study water issues, Hasan thought he was giving his friend the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to do good for the people of the state and to reach a new level in his career as a public servant.

“If he had done what I asked him to do, people would be carrying him on their shoulders to the governor’s mansion,” Hasan said. “It was his chance to leave his mark as a true public leader on an issue that is a matter of life or death to the state. Of course, that didn’t happen. If any favor was involved it was to give him the opportunity to accomplish something everyone in the state could applaud.”

But McInnis wasn’t looking to lead or to solve problems. He took the fellowship. He also simultaneously took a job at a lobbyist law firm for $450,000 a year. He did little for the Hasan Foundation and then, when the fellowship was running out, McInnis sent in a series of plagiarized junk articles and asked that the Hasans re-up his grant.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” the Hasans told McInnis.

The Chieftain article convincingly presents McInnis as a grasping politician whose interest in the public good seems less than an afterthought:

Hasan said he was certain McInnis could afford to repay the [fellowship money for which he submitted the plagiarized articles] because of the $450,000-a-year job McInnis held at the Denver law firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) at the same time that he was a fellow with the foundation.

McInnis’ acceptance of the [Hogan] job, which was known to some — but apparently not the Hasan family — before he accepted the fellowship, fractured his friendship with Hasan.

“Our friendship eroded the day he called and said he had taken that job,” Hasan said.

McInnis assured Hasan that his work for the foundation wouldn’t suffer because of his attention to the other job, but Hasan said his wife, Seeme Hasan, recognized early on that McInnis’ work for the foundation was poorly done.

“She sent him a letter,” Hasan said. “It was a very polite way of saying, ‘What you’re doing is crap. Thanks for your effort, but here’s what I expect you to do.’ ”

Hasan said McInnis’ writings for the foundation were few until his fellowship neared its end, then he deluged the foundation with work.

“He was interested in an extension” of the fellowship, Hasan said. “So he submitted this flood of articles that I believe Rolly Fischer helped with. At that point, we said, ‘Scott, you have got to be kidding.’ ”

McInnis is now running for governor of Colorado. The GOP primary ends Tuesday. He is running chiefly on a platform that would roll back oil and gas regulations, which he says will bring Coloradans jobs. His law firm, Hogan, represents oil and gas interests in the state.

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