Glenwood Springs engineer: McInnis is lying

By David O. Williams
Real AspenJuly 15, 2010
Rolland “Rolly” Fischer, the former head of the Colorado River Water Conservation District now at the heart of the Scott McInnis plagiarism scandal, told Denver’s Channel 7 Wednesday that McInnis is lying.

McInnis, a Republican gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. congressman, in a Denver Post story on Monday blamed Fischer for lifting sections of a paper on water issues by current Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs and passing them on to McInnis as original research.

McInnis then put his name on the work as part of a series of articles for the Hasan Family Foundation, but he said he did not know that the work was not Fischer’s original research.

Fischer told Channel 7 he never knew about McInnis’s fellowship for the foundation or the fact he was being paid $300,000 by them for articles on water issues in 2005 and 2006. Fischer said he was paid a few hundred dollars for each article he researched and believed it was for McInnis’s own education on water issues.

McInnis, a native of Glenwood Springs, left Congress in 2004 and faces a tough primary against Evergreen businessman Dan Maes next month, with the winner taking on Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in the race for the governor’s mansion.

Meanwhile, Colorado Ethics Watch on Wednesday asked the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation to open an investigation into the Denver Post report on Monday that former Congressman Scott McInnis, a Republican candidate for governor, plagiarized articles on water issues that were written by now Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs.

For the formal letter requesting the investigation, go to

One thing the plagiarism scandal has dredged up is a bit of not-so-ancient history revealing internal cat fighting in the Colorado Republican Party right before they were swept aside in the 2008 election.

That was the election in which McInnis told the Colorado Independent he would beaten Sen. Mark Udall if he had chosen to run instead of former Congressman Bob Schaffer.

Schaffer, as the Colorado Statesman pointed out Tuesday, tweeted a little jab at McInnis in the wake of revelations by the Denver Post that the gubernatorial candidate plagiarized chunks of his water articles for the Hasan Family Foundation.

“Family Foundation miffed it paid $300k to congressman for plagarized work & no-shows,” Schaffer’s message to followers on his Twitter account read Tuesday. He conveniently included a link to the Post story.

Statesman reporter Ernest Luning relived that blast from the past:

There’s little love lost between McInnis — who weighed entering the 2008 Senate race but stepped aside, leaving the field to the eventual nominee — and Schaffer, who served alongside McInnis in Congress for three terms and currently sits on the Colorado Board of Education.

A week before the election, with Schaffer down in the polls, McInnis boasted to the online news site The Colorado Independent that he ‘would have beat Udall,’ and said his ‘biggest threat was getting through the primary.’ He blamed ‘radical elements’ in his own party for thwarting his ambitions.”

Colorado Republican Party chair Dick Wadhams – presumably one of those radical elements – was none too happy with McInnis at the time but rushed to his defense Tuesday, blasting outgoing Colorado Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll for saying McInnis should withdraw and throwing some mud Democratic gubernatorial hopeful John Hickenlooper’s way in the process:

“I know it must be difficult for Terrance Carroll to understand how irrelevant he is as a lame duck state representative. But while he’s on his moral high horse today, maybe he can tell Coloradans if Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was lying in Copenhagen when he attacked skeptics of global warming or was Hickenlooper lying to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association when he said he himself was a skeptic of global warming,” Wadhams said.

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