Ethics Group Files Complaint Against McInnis
Plagiarism Controversy Sparks Complaint Against Candidate's Law License
Last Updated: 1041 days ago
Colorado Ethics Watch has filed a complaint against Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, saying that state attorney regulators should determine if McInnis violated the rules banning dishonesty and fraud for attorneys, CALL7 Investigators have learned.McInnis conceded that portions of articles he submitted to the Hasan Family Foundation, as part of a $300,000 fellowship, were copied from a 1984 article by now-Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs. He said a researcher made a mistake in copying the work."Even if it is true that Mr. McInnis did not know of the apparent plagiarism, he may still have engaged in conduct involving dishonesty or misrepresentation under Rule 8.4," the complaint said. "The Hasan Family appears to have been misled into believing that Mr. McInnis was going to perform all the work himself."Attorney rules say dishonesty, even outside the practice of law, could be grounds for attorneys to be disciplined, and Ethics Watch want regulators to look into the plagiarism allegations.Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch, said they wanted to make sure the allegations were investigated."We thought it was important for someone to step up and bring it to their attention just so it didn't slip between the cracks," he said. "The rules of professional conduct for lawyers says, when you have an assistant doing work for you, you need to supervise them to make sure they don't engage in dishonest conduct."A University of Denver Associate Law Professor Eli Wald said McInnis has a potential problem but it probably won't end his legal career."The reported facts suggests a pattern of either a mistaken or intentional plagiarism," Wald said. "The past practices of discipline in the State of Colorado would suggest to me that the likelihood that Mr. McInnis would be disbarred from the practice of law is quite slim."Toro said they are not trying to influence the election for governor, but said his job is to keep track of politicians."We're very interested in what do Congressman do when they leave office and trading on their reputations that are gained in office for financial gain," he said.McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy dismissed the complaint as a partisan attack."That a liberal special interest group with a history of being an activist advocate for Democrat goals and objectives would use this issue to further its partisan agenda isn't a surprise," he said.Toro said it was not a partisan issue.McInnis has said that the plagiarism was a mistake by a researcher who though Hobbs article was in the public domain. But he declined to say how much he paid the researcher or what portion of the articles he wrote or edited."Did you write the articles or did you edit them?" CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia asked."Hindsight being perfect, I would have," McInnis said. "No, I can, I mean, the articles were written with staff assistance. Just like when I do a bill in Congress or when I did the forest plan, I had a lot of staff assistance. I had a lot of economic experts."McInnis has charged that the reason the plagiarism allegations have come up was because he is running for office."The mistake is real and the mistake should not have occurred," he said. "The jabs, the reason you're sitting here and so on and so forth, of course it is driven by politics.""Do you believe questions about plagiarism ... is politics or do you think it something that should be addressed," Ferrugia asked."Obviously, it's being addressed," McInnis said. "I am telling you, I acknowledge the mistake. The research was faulty to the extent it was not properly footnoted."McInnis is currently an attorney at the Hogan Lovells US LLP and is running for the Republican nomination for governor.Attorney regulation officials could not be reached for comment.