Ethics office: No discipline for McInnis

A state office that regulates Colorado attorneys has found “no clear and convincing evidence of dishonest conduct” by former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., in connection with allegations that he plagiarized a Colorado Supreme Court justice’s work in writing articles on water.

The attorney regulation counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court declined to pursue disciplinary action against McInnis, documents obtained by The Daily Sentinel said. Copies of the same documents also were posted on the http://www.scribd.com.

McInnis couldn’t be reached for comment on Sunday. A spokesperson for Colorado Ethics Watch, which filed a request that McInnis be investigated, also couldn’t be reached.

Letters signed by John S. Gleason, who heads the office of attorney regulation, said the incident that shattered McInnis’ attempt for the Republican nomination for governor, was the result of a series of forgotten conversations and emails among the principals, including officials of the Hasan Foundation, which demanded that McInnis repay $300,000 he had been paid for the articles.

Investigators spoke with officials of the foundation and Rollie Fischer, the former head of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, who McInnis engaged as a research assistant.

“Based on the sworn testimony of Mr. Fischer and his contemporaneous emails, personal notes and other documents produced by him, it is clear that in 2005, Mr. McInnis both disclosed to Mr. Fischer that his draft articles may be published by the Hasan Family Foundation and instructed Mr. Fischer (a water law expert but inexperienced author) that he must not plagiarize anyone’s work. ...” Gleason wrote.

Hasan Family Foundation officials were aware that Fischer had been retained as a research assistant, the letter noted.

While Fischer and the foundation provided contradictory accounts at the time the issue was raised, “a more thorough review of their archived materials demonstrates that both had forgotten several specific communications with Mr. McInnis that had occurred several years before,” Gleason wrote.

Gleason wrote that Ms. Saeem Hasan had been interviewed in the investigation. The foundation is named for Malik and Seeme Hasan.

Fischer and Sean Duffy, McInnis’ campaign manager, were deposed in the investigation, Gleason noted.

Once considered the likely Republican candidate for governor, McInnis lost the primary to Dan Maes of Evergreen, who came in third in the race, behind former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who dropped his membership from the Republican Party to run as a third-party candidate, and the victor, Democrat John Hickenlooper.



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