Scott McInnis looked to have a clear path to the Republican gubernatorial nomination before word broke about plagiarism problems resulting from "musings on water" for which the Hasan Family Foundation paid him $300,000. Now, on the day of what looks to be a very close primary against Dan Maes, McInnis has returned the dough. Not that his campaign would like to dwell on it.
When asked via e-mail for details about the payment, the source of the money and the matter of whether the transaction closes the book on the controversy, McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy responded with two succinct sentences:
Hasan Foundation was paid in full yesterday from personal funds. All matters between the Foundation and Scott McInnis have been fully resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.
The timing's good for the Hasan Family Foundation, whose best known member, Ali Hasan, was profiled in the Westword feature "Is This Muslim Republican Mr. Right or the Big Cheese?" If McInnis loses to Maes tonight, which is entirely possible, the pressure would have been off him to pony up in a timely manner. And should he win, neither he nor Foundation members will have to answer any more questions about that promised repayment.
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Even so, a McInnis victory and the repayment won't eliminate the story as a potential (and potentially damaging) campaign issue.