Panel asks for probe of McInnis

Regulators seek info on plagiarism charge

Scott McInnis

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis has until Sept. 3 to respond to a request for an investigation in an attorney-discipline case filed against him that could affect his license to practice law.

Denver attorney Luis Toro, executive director of the progressive group Colorado Ethics Watch, filed the request with the state’s Attorney Regulation Counsel against McInnis soon after the former congressman admitted last month to plagiarizing material in articles about water for which a Pueblo foundation paid him $300,000.

McInnis, a partner in the Denver office of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Hogan Lovells, said he hired a Glenwood Springs researcher to do the work, but that person, Rolly Fischer, used 20-year-old writings from now Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs without giving him credit.

Fischer has said he would have cited the work had McInnis told him how the material was to be used.

Toro said he filed the investigation request because McInnis may be in violation of two provisions of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, which practicing attorneys in the state are required to follow. Those rules center on an attorney’s duty not to engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and whether McInnis failed to properly supervise a nonlawyer in his employ.

“We’re just asking for an investigation because we don’t know ... but if we didn’t do it, maybe nobody would,” Toro said. “This is not a simple, straightforward plagiarism case. It’s a lot more complicated than that.”

He said the investigation is at its beginning stages and may not go anywhere.

“I am unable to determine whether further proceedings ... are appropriate,” Matthew Samuelson, assistant regulation counsel, wrote in a July 15 letter to McInnis about the request. “Therefore, please give me your position in this matter.”

McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy said the congressman is “answering any questions” in response to the matter, but he added Toro’s group has a track record of partisanship in the complaints it files.

In a matter related to the fallout from McInnis’ plagiarism scandal, the congressman’s one-time campaign manager has asked for and received a refund from the McInnis campaign.

George Culpepper, who left the campaign in December after starting work for McInnis three months earlier, asked for a refund of the $230 he and his wife, Nicole, donated to the campaign last year.

That comes on the heels of three top campaign staff members leaving the McInnis camp soon after the plagiarism scandal surfaced.

Culpepper wouldn’t offer details as to why he wanted the money back.

In an e-mail message to The Daily Sentinel, he said: “Speaking for my wife and I, we felt it was more important to focus on our family rather than supporting candidates. Our voice in this election came to us a few weeks ago and we had our say. It is now up to the people of Colorado to determine the outcome on Aug. 10.”


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