Researcher Says Scott McInnis Lied

Rolly Fischer: I Didn't Know He Was Making Money On Articles

The man Scott McInnis blamed for the plagiarized material in an article on water rights told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia the candidate for governor lied and he wants to set the record straight.

In an exclusive interview, Rolly Fischer told Ferrugia he did not know his research was going to be used for articles for which McInnis was paid $300,000 by a private foundation.

Ferrugia asked, "Rolly, is Scott McInnis lying to us?"

After some thought Fischer said, "Yes."

The 82-year-old said, "I never knew about the foundation or any foundation Scott was associated with."

"Did you know how he was using these?" Ferrugia asked, referring to the articles.

"No. I had this sophomoric assumption that he wanted them for his own inventory," said Fischer.

Fischer said he was paid a few hundred dollars per article and he believed the research was simply going to McInnis for education on water rights in Colorado in preparation for a 2008 U.S. Senate campaign.

"It was my impression Scott was looking for background information," said Fischer.

In 2007, McInnis was considered the frontrunner for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Wayne Allard.

"Did you know these were to be published somewhere?" Ferrugia asked.

Rolly Fischer, who is being blamed for plagiarizing an article, told Call7 Investigator John Ferrugia he feels angry and betrayed by longtime family friend Scott McInnis.

"Absolutely not. This was a private communication between Scott and me. I mean, I knew it was a private communication," said Fischer. "I did not know that he intended to submit that as his personal work."

He added, "I would not have had the expertise to do a proper job on preparing a document for publication."

"[McInnis] didn't ask you to do that?" asked Ferrugia.

"No. He asked me to go ahead and prepare individual articles for him," said Fischer.

Fischer explained that he was good friends with Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, the original author of the material.

"If you were going to publish a book or pamphlet and you were going to use Judge Hobbs' work, would you have said 'we have to attribute it?'" Ferrugia asked.

"I would go see Greg -- personally." said Fischer.

Fischer said he thought he was doing a favor for McInnis and was appalled when he said he received a letter this week from the McInnis campaign. The letter was for Fischer to sign, he said.

The letter reads,

    Dear Scott:

    I am writing to express my sincere apology for failing to provide appropriate attribution for the research I provided for the water articles we collaborated on. While my mistake was not intentional, it is nonetheless clear that this material needed footnotes.

    This mistake was solely my own and I recognize that my work fell short of the expectations you had when you included me in this project.

    Again, please accept my deep apology.

    Sincerely,

    Rolly Fischer

Fischer said he would never sign the letter.

Ferrugia asked, "He wants you to take full responsibility?"

"Oh, yeah," said Fischer.

"What do you think of that?" asked Ferrugia.

"I think it's wrong. It's absolutely wrong," replied Fischer.

McInnis has said that the plagiarism was a mistake by Fischer who thought the 1984 article written by Hobbs was in the public domain.

Fischer disputed that and said had he known it would be published, "I would have asked [Hobbs'] permission."

"Did you write the articles or did you edit them?" Ferrugia asked McInnis on Tuesday.

"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."

"So you never checked his work?" Ferrugia asked.

"Lesson learned," McInnis said. "You know, three or four decades, I've known [Rollie] all my life. He's a man of complete integrity, he's a credible guy, so, no, I didn't, that's where a mistake was made."

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 on Tuesday. "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's something that should be addressed?" Ferrugia asked.

"Obviously, it's being addressed," McInnis said on Tuesday. "I am telling you, I acknowledge the mistake. The research was faulty to the extent it was not properly footnoted."

Describing McInnis, Fischer told Ferrugia, "[He's] a long-time friend who has gotten himself into this kind of box. He's smarter than that. He's smarter than that."

"Do you believe he ought to pull out of the race?" Ferrugia asked.

"No. I think he ought to hang in there and rattle and I think that the primary will be very tough," said Fischer.

McInnis is currently an attorney at the Hogan Lovells US LLP and is running for the Republican nomination for governor.