Things couldn’t look worse for Scott McInnis’ campaign for governor. Few headlines are breaking his way. Perhaps the most damaging have been inspired by statements from Rolly Fischer, the 82-year-old researcher who is adamant his work was plagiarized by the former congressman.

Asked by 7News if McInnis is lying about Fischer’s participation in the scandal, Fischer says “yes:” He was under the impression that his research on water, which included previously published material, was being used by McInnis as background information, not verbatim for publication.

However, Daryl Plunk, whose writing on North Korea has been cited by The Denver Post as a second example of plagiarism by McInnis, claims the Post has the story wrong. Plunk, a former analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation, says he wrote the passages for McInnis with the intention that he would use them for publication, despite some of the material’s similarities to a Washington Post op-ed.

“In the writing process, I offered to contribute, and they accepted,” Plunk, who lives in Virginia, tells the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I gave him text, which is nothing unusual,” he says, adding, “I was glad” McInnis used it.

In an e-mail to 9News, Post editor Greg Moore defends his newspaper’s reporting on the Plunk story, explaining, “We told Mr. McInnis that he could contact me directly last evening to discuss the story, and he never did. We would have been happy to publish whatever explanation they offered. We were unable to contact the authors of the original op-ed yesterday, but had we been able to we would have included their response in this morning’s article. None of that would have changed our decision to publish, however, or the general focus of the story.”

Meanwhile, the plagiarism scandal has left many politicos piling on the blows, including University of Colorado regents Michael Carrigan and Stephen Ludwig, two Democrats who supported the firing of professor Ward Churchill. In a statement, the two write that plagiarism is “no more permissible” for a candidate for governor than for a professor (via Westword).

Colorado Ethics Watch wants the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel to investigate the reports of plagiarism on the grounds that McInnis, a Colorado attorney, is prohibited from conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, or misrepresentation.

According to Politico, top state Republicans believe McInnis will stay in the race despite the charges. But at least one GOP source says some party officials are exploring contingency plans in the event McInnis needs to be replaced on the ballot–assuming he beats Dan Maes in the August 10 primary.