Plagiarism Charges Lead Rand Paul To Announce Office Restructuring

Plagiarism charges are causing Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to announce an office restructuring. Paul acknowledged that his office had “made mistakes,” but he will put a new system in place to make sure all his materials are properly cited and footnoted.

The decision comes after Paul was accused of plagiarism by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who cited some of the senator’s speeches. BuzzFeed also questioned some passages from an opinion piece Paul published in the Washington Times.

However, The New York Times notes that Paul, who appeared shaken by the charges, but defiant, claimed he was being unfairly targeted. But the senator acknowledged there will be changes, explaining:

“What we are going to do from here forward, if it will make people leave me the hell alone, is we’re going to do them like college papers. We’re going to try to put out footnotes. We’re going to have them available. If people want to request the footnoted version, we’re going to have it available.”

NBC News notes that Rand Paul’s adviser Doug Stafford also suggested that some possible plagiarism instances came from staffers, not from the senator. Stafford explained that Paul “has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions” in the thousands of speeches and op-eds he has written.

While Paul was accused twice of using excerpts of Wikipedia entries in speeches, his most direct charge of plagiarism came from the Washington Times op-ed, which he wrote in September about mandatory minimum prison sentences. The article appeared to copy language taken from an essay that ran in the magazine The Week just days before.

Paul explained in the New York Times interview that the op-ed was adapted from a speech and wasn’t vetted before it was published. The senator’s office also acknowledged some mistakes, but attempted to downplay the plagiarism charges.

Do you think Sen. Rand Paul is guilty of plagiarism, or is he being unfairly targeted?

[Image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons]