2010 Colorado elections: The Hasan Family Foundation wants Scott McInnis to reimburse the dough he was paid for his fellowship

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):

McInnis said he intends to repay the foundation [$300,000]. The demand followed an internal foundation review of articles submitted by McInnis that contained plagiarized material. A written statement released by the board Friday said McInnis’ output for the foundation “was only a fraction of the work he was obligated to perform . . . Of the little work that he did, he has admitted it was neither fully completed by him, nor fully original. In view of the public disclosure . . . it is clear that Mr. McInnis has not fulfilled the terms of our agreement . . . The foundation demands he repay all monies paid to him under the fellowship.”[…]

“The foundation board met and reviewed the facts of the case,” Hasan family spokesman Drew Dougherty said Friday. “With the admissions from Mr. McInnis and Mr. Fischer, no further investigation was necessary.”

Here’s what I’m sure the McInnis campaign hopes is the final word from them (from email):

Scott McInnis, Republican candidate for Governor, today issued the following statement in response to a news release issued by The Hasan Family Foundation:

“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. I explained how this problem arose, and I accepted responsibility.

“I apologized to the Hasans for this mistake, and I expressed my determination to make it right with my dear friends. I will be in contact with the Hasan family to make full payment arrangements. I agree with the Foundation that this brings this matter to a close, and I look forward to continuing to speak on the campaign trail about the critical issues facing all of Colorado, including jobs and economic recovery.”

Three staffers have resigned over the scandal from the McInnis campaign according to a report from Karen Crummy writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

“That says to me one of two things: Either they (the staffers) have lost confidence in the viability of the campaign or they’ve lost confidence in the candidate due to the incident,” said longtime political analyst Eric Sondermann.

McInnis on Friday also backed out of the second scheduled public appearance in as many days, this time an Arapahoe County Republicans event featuring former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a possible 2012 presidential candidate and vice president of the Republican Governors Association…

While those signs point to a foundering campaign, McInnis has reserved nearly $260,000 in television time in the Denver and Colorado Springs markets to run his first TV ads up to the Aug. 10 primary election…

The departing staffers — policy director Mac Zimmerman, political director Dustin Zvonek and regional director T.Q. Houlton — were all staffers of former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who garnered the most support for governor among registered Republican voters in a Denver Post poll released Friday. Zimmerman was also the chief of staff for former state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, and Zvonek worked for Penry as a policy analyst.

Here’s a guest commentary from Seeme Hasan writing in The Denver Post. She writes:

In building the Hasan School of Business of Pueblo — in addition to many donations to other causes, including the University of Colorado Foundation, Pueblo Community College and the Pueblo City Library — water education was to become one of the biggest contributions that the Hasan Family Foundation would give to our state. Unfortunately, these goals were not to be realized. While history will tell certain stories of this past week, the most terrible loss is that of Colorado’s — the missed opportunity of uniting to protect our water. To us, this will forever be Colorado’s greatest tragedy.

According to this report from Wyatt Haupt Jr. writing for the Grand Junction Free Press John Hickenlooper — who has wisely avoided too much public comment on the McInnis plagiarism scandal — has moved ahead in a Rasmussen poll. From the article:

The Rasmussen Reports survey showed Hickenlooper with 45 percent of voter support, while McInnis picked up 43 percent. A total 7 percent expressed support for a different candidate, while 5 percent indicated they were of undecided status. The poll has margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. A total of 750 likely voters were surveyed July 15. The poll represents a 7-percentage point switch in the last month for McInnis, whose campaign was rocked earlier this week by a plagiarism charge. The allegation surfaced in a Denver Post story, which delved into water articiles penned by McInnis in 2005 and 2006.

Here’s some of the back story about Rolly Fischer and Scott McInnis from Tim Hoover writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

Rolly Fischer developed a high profile as a water expert during a 28-year career with the Colorado River Water Conservation District but left after his own brushes with ethics questions were publicized. In 1996, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel published a series of articles examining how the river district, then headed by Fischer, had done business with companies operated by his wife. Fischer himself was an officer in the companies, which provided temporary employees and payroll services to the water district. The contracts for those services were not put out for competitive bids. Fischer also came under scrutiny for his $105,000 annual salary, perks that included a personal vehicle and executive airline club memberships and spending practices such as racking up $14,000 in travel expenses in one year. Fischer abruptly resigned from the water district after the Sentinel’s stories ran.

More coverage from Charles Ashby writing for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the 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.

Finally, Jason Salzman pokes some fun at Scott McInnis on the Huffington Post. He writes:

But even if you have to give some of the money back, you should know that you’ll definitely have the respect of the freelance writing community for breaking free from the normal rules that bind writers to their desks. You’ve allowed me and other freelancers to dream of a day when we can be freelance writers and not write at all. As a leader, you’re trying to head us in that direction by experimenting with new freelance ideas and techniques. Some will surely fail, but that’s to be expected as you work toward a world where freelance writers are paid more and work less. As I wrote before, “Honorable” Congressman, whether you’re elected or not, you have secured your spot as a rock star of the freelance writing community in Colorado. Please let us know at your earliest convenience when you will be able to meet with me and other writers to advise us on how we can be as successful as you at freelance writing.

More 2010 Colorado Elections coverage here.

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