Nonprofit Newswire | GOP Candidate in Hot Water for Allegedly Plagiarizing Material Produced for a Foundation

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July 13, 2010; Source: Denver Post | A GOP candidate for governor in Colorado has landed himself in hot water after revelations that articles he wrote on water issues for a foundation apparently contain material lifted directly from an essay published over two decades ago. The Denver Post reports that a side-by-side comparison of Scott McInnis’ “Musings on Water” with a 1984 essay written by now-Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs shows the newer works are a “clear case of plagiarism of both words and ideas.”

McInnis, who served in Congress from 1993 until leaving office in 2004, was awarded a two-year fellowship in 2005 from the Hasan Family Foundation and paid $300,000 to give speeches and write monthly articles on water issues that were made available to the media and distributed over the internet. The Post says the examination of McInnis’ writings, purported to be original, show, among other things, that the articles “are devoid of footnotes, endnotes or other forms of attribution.”

Also, at least four articles, out of 23 installments from the series, “mirror an essay” written by Hobbs published by the Colorado Water Congress in 1984. In fact, one of his “musings” contains “four full pages that are nearly reprinted verbatim from Hobbs’ earlier work.” Although McInnis didn’t comment on the charges, a spokesman blamed a researcher for failing to cite the original material used in the articles and said they were submitted to the foundation only as drafts to be further edited before publication.

Seeme Hasan, chairwoman of the Hasan Family Foundation, released a statement saying that she was “shocked” by the allegations of plagiarism. She added that the work McInnis submitted to the foundation “was always represented as final. At no time, whatsoever, did Mr. McInnis communicate that any of the works were ‘rough drafts.’ Any representation that they were submitted to the Foundation as ‘rough drafts’ is absolutely incorrect.”

Dr. Malik Hasan, a member of the foundation board who hired McInnis to write the articles also expressed disappointment. Saying he was only speaking for himself, and not the board, Hasan said, “I’m going to suggest (McInnis) return a substantial amount of the money to the foundation.”—Bruce Trachtenberg