Why politicians' plagiarism matters

The campaign fired the “expert” who wrote the report. But this plagiarism isn’t unique to Mary Burke’s campaign. The Republican nominee for Senate in Oregon did the same thing with her health plan. A Republican Senate candidate in Oklahoma copied parts of his issues pages from others, and a Democrat in Florida running for Congress copied parts of her issues page. Eight Republicans plagiarized from Sen. Rand Paul’s issues page. And Paul plagiarized three pages of his recent book and in a number of newspaper columns.

In a particularly bizarre example, the Democrat running for South Dakota’s governorship actually copied a biographical sentence from Burke. Apparently, both Burke and South Dakota’s Susan Wismer know “how to make responsible decisions that keep a balance sheet in the black while creating jobs because she’s spent her career doing it.” It’s a generic sentence, but it’s also about, you know, her life.

The campaign took down the page. But the candidate dismissed the plagiarism: “This isn’t academia. This is politics,” she told the Argus Leader. “We all do what we can to save time.”