Denver Post Catches Republican Gov Candidate In Apparent Plagiarism

July 13, 2010 9:17 a.m.

Colorado Republican Scott McInnis might just be a copycat.

Tasked in 2005 and 2006 with producing a series of articles about water policy, the former congressman and current gubernatorial candidate turned in copy that appears to have been lifted from an earlier work by someone else, according to a report in The Denver Post.After leaving Congress, McInnis took a two-year fellowship with the Hasan Family Foundation (for which he was paid $300,000), and turned in a series of essays titled “Musings on Water.” According to The Denver Post, portions of those essays mirror passages in an essay written two decades ago by Gregory J. Hobbs, who’s now a Colorado Supreme Court Justice. According to the Post, one part of McInnis’ work contains a four-page section reprinted nearly exactly from Hobbs’.

For example, a passage in one of McInnis’ essays reads:

Green Mountain is the key to a complex interlock of legal and institutional arrangements which govern the operation of the Colorado and its tributaries above the Grand Valley Project diversion at the Cameo gauge near Palisade, Colorado.

The corresponding passage in the Hobbs work reads:

Green Mountain Reservoir is the key to a complex interlock of legal arrangements which presently govern the operation of the Colorado and its tributaries above the Grand Valley diversion structure near Palisade.

(You can read the Post’s side-by-side comparison of the two documents here (.pdf).)

“There are definite similarities,” Hobbs told the Post. “I would expect there would be some attribution.”

McInnis’ spokesperson Sean Duffy didn’t deny the claim, but blamed a researcher, Rolly Fischer, who Duffy said was the one who handled the passages in question.

“It should’ve been attributed properly and it was not,” Duffy said.

Duffy told the Post that McInnis had turned in the “musings” expecting to edit them again before they were published (they were put online only after media inquiries into McInnis’ fellowship). But emails obtained by the Post seem to contradict that statement. Furthermore, in a 2005 memo, McInnis told the foundation that “all the articles are original and not reprinted from any other source.”

The Post suggests that McInnis took a position at the law firm known now as Hogan Lovells shortly after starting his fellowship, leaving little time for the work the foundation considered at least a “substantial-time” commitment.

Dr. Malik Hasan of the the Hasan Family Foundation told the Post he had been disappointed by the quality of McInnis’ work at the time, and was now “doubly disappointed.” He said he was going to suggest McInnis return part of the money he was paid by the foundation.

Read the rest here.

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