A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado who is under pressure to drop his bid over plagiarism charges is blaming his predicament on an 82-year-old water expert he hired to help write his articles.
Scott McInnis' candidacy has faltered ever since The Denver Post discovered that essays he submitted for publication appeared to include passages that were plagiarized from another source without attribution.
McInnis received $300,000 from a local charity foundation to author a series of articles on water as part of a two-year fellowship from 2005-2006.
McInnis is now pointing the finger at water expert Rollie Fischer.
"This is a guy I've known all my life," McInnis told Fox 31 in Denver. "He…was head of the water district. I think a reasonable person would have relied on that; and I think Rollie felt, whatever, that he thought it was in the public domain, he wasn't required to footnote the thing."
"The fortunate thing is it's a mistake, we discovered it, nothing was ever published on it, and it can be corrected," McInnis continued. "It's serious, but this isn't the end of the world."
But Democrats disagree, calling on McInnis to drop out of the race.
"The people of Colorado should really question whether Scott McInnis has the trust and the integrity that they demand from their governor," state House Speaker Terrance Carroll told the Fox affiliate. "And I think when they ask that question, at the end of the day the answer is going to be no."