Rand Paul Faces Yet Another Plagiarism Accusation; Will Probably Have to Start Dueling

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty

After Sen. Rand Paul got caught last week plagiarizing Wikipedia for a recent speech, he tried out a bit of oddly conceived denial before promising to be "more cautious in presenting and attributing sources," and then finally wishing openly that he could challenge his accusers to a duel. But the plagiarism accusations are not over. On Monday, BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski presented yet another example of Paul coming awfully close to his source material without attribution. This time it's Paul's September 20 opinion piece in the Washington Times, which borrows heavily from a Sept. 14 article by Dan Stewart in The Week.

After the last round of plagiarism allegations, Paul told This Week Sunday, "I think the spoken word shouldn't be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you're giving a scientific paper. I've written scientific papers. I know how to footnote things." And indeed, Paul's piece cites sources such as the ACLU and the New York Times when it offers statistics about incarceration and its effects. But some of his phrasing mimics Stewart's exactly.

Stewart's introduction includes this passage (a short excerpt from BuzzFeed's longer example):

Since mandatory sentencing began, America's prison population has quadrupled, to 2.4 million. America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, including China and Iran, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year

The 14th paragraph of Paul's item includes this one:

Since mandatory sentencing began in the 1970s in response to a growing drug-and-crime epidemic, America’s prison population has quadrupled, to 2.4 million. America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, including China and Iran, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.

Paul also included an anecdote about John Horner, a 46-year-old unemployed Florida father convicted of selling pain pills. That story is no Stewart exclusive, but Paul's account of it mirrored Stewart's.

The passages Kaczynski uncovered aren't entirely word-for-word copies, but they're close enough that some attribution really was in order, per Paul's self-professed training. Or maybe Kaczynski is just a "hack and a hater?" Guess it's pistols at dawn.