Rocky falsely reported McInnis "honor[ed] a term-limit pledge"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In an article about former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis' move toward a 2008 U.S Senate bid, the Rocky Mountain News falsely reported that the Colorado Republican had honored a term-limits pledge by not running in the 2004 election. In fact, McInnis served six terms after promising to serve no more than four during his first campaign in 1992.

In a February 27 article by John C. Ensslin, the Rocky Mountain News reported that former Colorado 3rd Congressional District Rep. Scott McInnis (R), who reportedly is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Wayne Allard, was "honoring a term-limit pledge" when he "did not run for Congress in 2004." In fact, as Colorado Media Matters has noted, McInnis broke a pledge to serve no more than four terms when he ran for and won a fifth term in 2000. McInnis sought and won an additional term in 2002.

Prompting the News article was McInnis' announcement that he would form an exploratory committee to consider a bid to succeed Allard, who has announced that he will honor his pledge to serve only two terms in the Senate:

Former Colorado Rep. Scott McInnis took a first formal step Monday toward running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Loveland.

The Grand Junction Republican announced he is forming an exploratory committee and has filed necessary paperwork. He said he does not expect to make a formal announcement until later this year.

"We're at the very beginning of this," he said.

McInnis said he is starting to assemble a campaign and is approaching the threshold that requires a filing once a candidate raises or spends $5,000.

McInnis has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat since Allard announced in January that he would keep a term-limit pledge and step down in 2008. Other possible GOP candidates include former congressmen Bob Schaffer and Bob Beauprez, Attorney General John Suthers, and radio talk show host Dan Caplis.

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McInnis did not run for Congress in 2004, also honoring a term-limit pledge. He works as a lobbyist for Hogan & Hartson in Denver.

Additionally, the caption to a photo of McInnis that accompanied the article also misstated that "Scott McInnis kept term-limit pledge, left office in 2005."

According to an October 22, 1997, News editorial (accessed through the Nexis database), "McInnis has been a strong supporter of term limits, having voted for them at every opportunity. Furthermore, while campaigning for his first term in 1992, he said he would serve no more than four terms." A column (accessed through Nexis) by Clifford D. May that appeared in the News on January 7, 1996, noted that in response to then-Gov. Roy Romer's (D) request for possible slogans for Colorado's license plate, McInnis offered: "Home of Term Limits."

But, as the News reported in a February 25, 1998, article (accessed through Nexis), McInnis began to have second thoughts about term limits during his fourth -- and supposedly final -- congressional term:

U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis left the door open this week to a re-election bid in 2000, despite previously having vowed to call it quits after four terms. In answer to a question during his first congressional campaign, McInnis said he would not seek re-election to a fifth term. The position was consistent with his support for term limits.

And as recently as November 1994, McInnis was quoted as saying, ''After the year 2000, I will not be in the House of Representatives.'' But during a meeting with reporters Thursday in Grand Junction, McInnis signaled a change in his position.

On March 15, 1998, after McInnis did, in fact, decide to run for a fifth term, the News reported (accessed through Nexis), "When he sought his first term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis promised voters he would quit after eight years in office. That was in 1992. Now the Grand Junction lawmaker -- once an unabashed supporter of term limits -- has changed his mind. He says that retiring after four terms would hurt constituents, depriving them of a seasoned member of Congress."

McInnis was elected to a fifth term in 2000 and a sixth in 2002 before leaving office in 2005.

A tip from reader T.C. contributed to this item. Thanks, and keep them coming.

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