McInnis to repay group $300,000
The Hasan Family Foundation that paid GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis $300,000 to write 23 articles on water issues told the former congressman Friday it wants the money back.
McInnis, smarting this week after admitting to plagiarizing at least part of the work he submitted to the Pueblo group, said he would pay it all back.
The foundation, which paid McInnis in 2005 and 2006 to write the articles and speak on the subject at events around the state, said it had investigated the matter after the Denver Post revealed earlier this week that some of the work was lifted from writings that Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs had written 25 years earlier.
“It is the finding of the Hasan Family Foundation board that the work congressman Scott McInnis performed under the senior fellowship was only a fraction of the work he was obligated to perform under the terms of his fellowship,” the foundation said in a release. “Of the little work that he did, he has admitted it was neither fully completed by him, nor fully original.”
Initially, McInnis blamed Rolly Fischer, the former head of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, whom he had hired to do the research. The foundation said it never knew McInnis was using someone else to do his work, nor did it authorize such help.
In a statement from the McInnis campaign a few hours later, it said the congressman would repay all $300,000.
“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,” McInnis said in the release. “I explained how this problem arose, and I accepted responsibility.”
Fischer told a Denver television station he didn’t know McInnis was putting his name on Fischer’s research, which he thought was to be used as background material for a potential U.S. Senate bid. Fischer told the TV station he was paid only a few hundred dollars per article.
McInnis went on to say he had apologized to the group for the mistake and would contact it “to make full payment arrangements.”
The incident has dogged McInnis all week and is expected to remain an issue through the Aug. 10 primaries, where he hopes to win the GOP nomination against Evergreen businessman Dan Maes.
McInnis has repeatedly said he will not drop out of the race despite numerous calls for him to do so.
“I look forward to continuing to speak on the campaign trail about the critical issues facing all of Colorado, including jobs and economic recovery,” he said.