By Andrea Rael, STATE BILL COLORADO
DENVER — Who first noticed the similarities between Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis’ and now-Justice Greg Hobbs’ research papers on water?
It’s a mystery. But it probably wasn’t a reporter.
Three weeks after The Denver Post and 7News nearly simultaneously broke the plagiarism story, neither organization will say who made the connection between nearly identical portions of the two papers — Hobbs’ written 26 years ago.
McInnis was paid $300,000 by the Hasan Family Foundation in 2005 and 2006 to produce what became his now-controversial “Musings on Water” papers.
‘We don’t discuss that’
The Post’s Karen Crummy, who published her first online story at 4:47 p.m. July 12, would not reveal her source to State Bill Colorado. “It goes against everything we do in reporting,” she said. “We don’t discuss that.”
John Ferrugia, who co-wrote 7News’ online story appearing at 5:58 p.m. the same day, responded similarly. “I’m not going to go into that,” he said.
Neither took credit for making the discovery on their own, prompting others to guess that it was provided to them.
The people who had the most to benefit from such a disclosure insist it wasn’t them.
Asked if he knew where the suspicions came from, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes — McInnis’ primary election foe — said the same thing other gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates said: He didn’t know.
“Trust me we don’t have the time or the resources to play those kind of games,” Maes said. “So it didn’t come from us.”
Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper issued a similar response through his spokesman, George Merritt.
Roy Teicher, spokesman for Senate Democratic candidate Andrew Romanoff, said, “I’ve been reading the articles. We had no inside knowledge on this, and we became aware of it after reading media accounts.”
Post deserves credit
A Huffington Post blogger and the founder of Rocky Mountain Media Watch also didn’t know who leaked the information. The blogger, Jason Salzman, began following the story after the foundation’s big payment to McInnis was reported.
He credits The Denver Post with asking the hard questions that led to the news of the alleged plagiarism.
“The way I see it was The Denver Post asked McInnis to release his tax records, and he didn’t,” Salzman said. When McInnis finally did, Crummy looked through his records, saw the payments from the Hasan Family Foundation and inquired about the reason for the payments.
Ultimately, the foundation released the water articles written by McInnis, and finally the similarities were exposed.
“This story never would have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for The Denver Post,” Salzman said.
However, the person or people who tipped off The Post and 7News have so far managed to stay in the shadows.