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Friday, October 28, 2016
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Carl Oscar Isaacson

    The article begins with a questionable assumption: that students are cognizant of what plagiarism is and how important it is to give proper credit. In fact, most of the college aged students I teach are not aware of what plagiarism is – they’ve been told not to, but don’t know how to avoid. European students, we regularly host students from the former Soviet Union, are even worse.

    That said, there seems to be almost no consequences for the powerful. Did Doris Kearns Godwin loose even a single booking after her serial plagiarism was disclosed? Did any of the four politicians named in the posting suffer any consequences?

  • charles king

    Do not “quotation marks” solve this problem or is it in the eyes of the beholder, What? should the writer do, “say nothing”. I now do alot of Critical Thinking because I do not want to step on anyones toes. Smile I am an old man Who? is new at this game of writing my point of view. I take my Democracy very seriously and I feel that MONIES are creating a big mis-understanding about Who? is in charge of our governments, States and Federal. Why? corporations and banks are causing distress in the Peoples lives. I feel the People’s VOTE is still Supreme and if used properly and correct, MONIES “Don’t mean a thing”, if it don’t Feel Right then VOTE their sorry A**** OUT OUT OUT. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  • Maggie De Vore

    Oh, come on. Only 4? What is lying if not a form of plagiarism or maybe ‘the’ form of plagiarism. A writing professor said to me one time when I suggested that ‘everything’s been said’ — Yes, but not in your voice. And it’s true. We all have taken and re-vised and used others words.
    Trying to sound intelligent when it just ain’t there is one of the reasons I think all politicians should be IQ tested and be able to give examples of experience in the field. All the rest of us are when we apply for a job.
    So? I would multiply the 4 by about 4000 and then would be a bit short.