Attorney Regulators: McInnis Cleared In Ethics Plagiarism Complaint

CALL7 Investigation In July Found Large Portions Of McInnis' 'Musings On Water' Copied From Judge

State attorney regulators have determined that plagiarism allegations against former gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis do not warrant discipline.

“After a review of the evidence and interviews with various witnesses, we conclude there is not clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the disciplinary rules,” wrote Regulation Counsel John Gleason in the letter posted on a legal website.

Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint against McInnis after a CALL7 Investigation in July that showed portions of a paper on water law that McInnis submitted to the Hasan Foundation were copied from an article by a state Supreme Court judge.

Ethics Watch questioned whether the plagiarism allegations could violate the prohibition against dishonest behavior by attorneys, but Attorney Regulation Counsel investigators found there is no “clear and convincing evidence” McInnis knew Justice Greg Hobbs' work was in his paper.

Ethics Watch Executive Director Luis Toro said he was pleased that the attorney regulation counsel thoroughly investigated his complaint.

“They couldn't establish by clear and convincing evidence that there was any misrepresentation by Rep. McInnis,” Toro said. “Having done all this investigation, having looked at all these documents, we don't think we can prove misrepresentation. I accept that."

Despite accepting $300,000 from the foundation for “Musings on Water” and other fellowship work, McInnis said the paper was written by his research assistant Rollie Fischer, who used Hobbs' work because he believed it was in the public domain.

Fischer told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia that McInnis never told him he was going to publish the work, and the Hasans said they did not know McInnis used someone else’s work.

Attorney regulation found McInnis told Fischer that he was using the papers for his fellowship and directed him to properly footnote sources. Regulators also found McInnis informed the foundation that he was using Fischer as a research assistant.

McInnis returned the money after the controversy broke, and he lost the Republican primary for governor.

McInnis could not be reached for comment Monday.

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