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A top aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been dealing with a series of plagiarism allegations in recent days, acknowledged Tuesday that Paul's staff in some cases failed to properly attribute and quote content pulled from other sources.
"In the thousands of speeches and op-eds Sen. Paul has produced, he has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions," senior adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement. "Sen. Paul also relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes—some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly."
That doesn’t even count as a faux apology, and I’m not sure how well the whole sorry if you could not see our invisible spoken footnotes routine works out for others caught lifting other people’s work. But Stafford promises—and this is real—that from now on footnotes to Paul’s speeches or op-eds will be available “on request.” And:
"Adherence to a new approval process implemented by Sen. Paul will ensure proper citation and accountability in all collaborative works going forward," he said.
So from here on in, America, if a Rand Paul op-ed contains entire passages lifted from an old Eddie Murphy movie, it’s because Rand Paul himself signed off on it. Good to know.
The belated acknowledgement of insufficient-footnote-gate comes after a particularly egregious pair of new examples. This weekend BuzzFeed identified three entire pages of Paul’s latest book that were lifted wholesale from a Heritage Foundation paper; that was soon followed by the discovery that portions of a September Rand Paul op-ed in the Washington Times were copied from an op-ed written by a The Week editor just one week earlier.
Now the word has come down; it’s the fault of unnamed staffers, and it’s more the fault of you, the reader, for not being able to magically discern when Rand Paul and his staff are speaking their own words and when they’re lifting entire pages of content from somewhere else because hey, that’s what faux-libertarian Republicanism is all about, baby. I somehow do not think this will satisfy Sen. Stickyfingers’s critics, and somehow I doubt we’re going to be hearing the name of the staffer responsible for those three full pages of lifted text in the book Paul “wrote.”