Researcher: CO gov. campaign trying to pass blame
Thursday, July 15, 2010; 1:44 AM
DENVER -- A researcher whom Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis blamed for plagiarism allegations said Wednesday he won't sign a letter from the campaign owning up to what happened because he claims McInnis is lying.
The claim by 82-year-old Rolly Fischer is the latest to plague McInnis after the plagiarism allegations against him surfaced this week. Fischer told KMGH-TV that McInnis' campaign sent him a letter to sign in which Fischer would say the alleged plagiarism was his fault.
"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," read the letter Fischer provided to KMGH. A McInnis spokesman didn't immediately return calls for comment.
The work Fischer was referring to was a series of allegedly plagiarized essays on water rights that McInnis passed off as his own in 2005. Fischer said he provided work to McInnis but claimed he didn't know McInnis planned to submit the work as his own.
McInnis has spent the week brushing off the plagiarism allegations as a minor issue, even as calls escalated for him to own up to his mistakes and pay back $300,000 he received to write the essays. McInnis said he takes the allegations seriously, but doesn't believe voters will hold it against him.
"The issue most people are concerned about now is family, jobs, the economy. That's going to be the issue," McInnis said.
The Denver Post and KMGH-TV first reported the plagiarism allegations on the water essays on Monday. Then on Wednesday, The Denver Post reported that a 1994 column McInnis wrote for the now-closed Rocky Mountain News in Denver resembled an Op-Ed published in The Washington Post by Richard V. Allen and Daryl M. Plunk. Allen and Plunk's piece was published Nov. 9, 1994. McInnis' was published Dec. 21, 1994, when he was a Colorado congressman.
The revelations sparked demands from Democrats that McInnis drop out of the race, and The Post called the candidate's actions "intellectual thievery" and said he should end his candidacy.
Dan Maes, McInnis' opponent in the August primary, stopped short of asking McInnis to bow out - though he said if plagiarism appears to be chronic, that's another matter.
"He's trying to put the blame on others. If you don't take responsibility on your watch, it says something about your character," Maes said.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper did not respond to a request for comment. The Denver mayor has no primary competition.
McInnis said he relied on others for his materials in both cases, but he should have reviewed them more carefully.