By the time they reach grade school, most students understand that plagiarism is unacceptable. But politicians seem to have a hard time remembering not to do it.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Senator John Walsh (D-MT) lifted at least a quarter of his War College thesis from other sources, without crediting them. His final paper, on American Middle East policy, had sections that were identical to other policy journals and academic papers.
His entire conclusion, which listed six recommendations for “The Case for Democracy as a Long-Term Strategy,” was copied from a Carnegie Endowment for National Peace document.
“In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote to it,” the Times reports.
At first, Walsh denied that he had plagiarized anything, saying, “I didn’t do anything intentional here.”
But later, Walsh said that he was on medication for PTSD when he was writing his paper, and suggested that it may have been a factor in his poor decision making.
This news won’t help Walsh, whose military record and foreign policy acumen were chief selling points in his Senate race against Republican Rep. Steve Daines. Walsh is already trailing by 12.5 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average.
But Walsh isn’t the only prominent politician who’s been caught plagiarizing. Here are four other political leaders who have come under scrutiny for their less-than-original work.