McInnis Says He's Going To Repay $300K To Foundation

Hasan Foundation Says McInnis Only Performed Fraction Of Work

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis said Friday he will repay the Hasan Family Foundation the $300,000 he was given for writing water essays that he later admitted were plagiarized.

"I have said since this matter was brought to my attention that the articles provided as part of the Hasan Family Foundation fellowship were faulty. I explained how this problem arose, and I accepted responsibility," McInnis said in a statement.

"I apologized to the Hasans for this mistake, and I expressed my determination to make it right with my dear friends. I will be in contact with the Hasan family to make full payment arrangements. I agree with the Foundation that this brings this matter to a close, and I look forward to continuing to speak on the campaign trail about the critical issues facing all of Colorado, including jobs and economic recovery."

The Hasan Family Foundation board issued a letter earlier in the day demanding that McInnis repay the money because he did only a fraction of the work he was obligated to do as a senior fellow of the foundation.

"Of the little work that he did, he has admitted it was neither fully completed by him, nor fully original. In view of the public disclosure by Mr. McInnis as well as by Mr. Rolly Fischer, it is clear that Mr. McInnis has not fulfilled the terms of our agreement, and there is no need for any further investigation by the Foundation. The Foundation demands he repay all monies paid to him under the Fellowship," the Foundation said in an earlier statement.

McInnis has apologized for lifting part of a judge's work for the essays. He blamed a researcher on his staff, Rolly Fischer, for the plagiarism. Fischer is a former engineer at the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Fischer told 7NEWS he did not know his research was going to be used for articles for which McInnis was paid $300,000. He thought the research was simply going to McInnis so he could get more background on water rights in Colorado in preparation for a 2008 U.S. Senate campaign.

"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," Fischer said. Fischer explained that he was good friends with Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, the original author of the material and if he had known the article was going to be published, he would have definitely attributed the source.

McInnis Refuses To Step Down As New Poll Released

McInnis has rejected demands that he quit the race. He faces Republican Dan Maes in the Aug. 10 primary.

He posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts on Thursday that he was "in it to win it."

"We will continue to fight for Colorado's businesses and families and will not leave this race. Stay strong!" the post read. He also unveiled a new TV ad on Thursday but has not been seen on TV since Tuesday, when he made several TV appearances to admit his mistake.

McInnis canceled a public appearance at a rally in Erie on Thursday afternoon.

Former congressman Tom Tancredo said Thursday that the GOP has a number of good candidates who could step in if McInnis bows out of the race, including former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown and University of Colorado president Bruce Benson.

Tancredo also said he would like to be a write-in candidate for governor because he doesn't believe McInnis or Maes can win a general election against Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Support for McInnis is eroding among Republicans but he remains a viable candidate, according to a new Denver Post poll. According to the poll, 20 percent of registered Republican voters who supported McInnis prior to this week said they will now back another candidate. Another 39 percent of those who originally supported McInnis said they will continue to stand behind him.

However, when given a list of other Republicans who could be the party's nominee, 64 percent of GOP voters picked another candidate over McInnis, the Denver Post reported. In order of preference the majority of the Republicans picked Tancredo, followed by McInnis, Maes, U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, Colorado Senate minority leader Josh Penry and then Benson as the GOP nominee for governor.