MONDAY UPDATE: According to today’s story in the Colorado Springs daily paper, both Republican Owen Hill and Libertarian Doug Randall have turned over additional ‘evidence’ to support their respective claims. Randall forwarded emails to family members with draft versions of the copy in question, while Hill’s campaign sent a .PDF that appears to have begun life as a screenshot, showing a ‘publish date’ for his original issues pages in mid-January of this year.
But the ‘evidence’ submitted by both candidates to back up their claims has problems. Randall’s forwarded emails are purportedly from May and July (later than Hill asserts his issues pages were published), while Hill’s ‘screenshot’ doesn’t even show the actual copy alleged to have been plagiarized. In both cases, the Springs paper correctly notes that this soft-copy ‘evidence’ is easily doctored and not sufficient to prove the claims of either side: in the absence of that proof, the only thing you can be certain of is the subject line of our post (see above).
Either way, it doesn’t seem to be a “nonissue” anymore…
To be perfectly honest, it’s not something that we expected to need revisiting after former GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis went from ahead in the polls to totally irrelevant primary loser in less than a month, but apparently, some of you out there still haven’t gotten the message that plagiarism by a political candidate is a potentially career-ending mistake, and is never worth it. A story today in the major Colorado Springs newspaper could portend major problems for GOP state senate candidate Owen Hill, running against incumbent John Morse in SD-11.
Since the Colorado Springs daily paper is unfortunately on the list of papers who won’t let us quote them, we’ll summarize the nature of Mr. Hill’s problem this way. Here’s what Hill’s website says about, for example, education:
Pretty standard copy, nothing to get overly worked up about one way or another–unless you’re Hill’s Libertarian opponent Doug Randall. If you visit Randall’s website to read about education, you’ll find remarkably similar–as in functionally identical–copy:
And yes, it’s the same G.K. Chesterton quote too. The copy does diverge with some McInnis-style “variations,” substituting verbs and articles and so forth, but it’s obviously the same material. In short, somebody is definitely plagiarizing somebody else here. Hill’s spokesman claims it’s his original writing, and says Hill’s site has been “up forever;” but amazingly, then pronounces the whole affair a “nonissue” in true Sean Duffy style.
It’s the nonchalant reaction by Hill’s campaign that really sets off alarm bells. There is no question that significant plagiarism occurred–one of these candidates deliberately stole the verbatim words of the other. Randall says it wasn’t him and seems genuinely angry about the alleged theft. Now, if Hill’s campaign was certain they were in the clear, meaning they knew they had been victimized as opposed to having committed plagiarism…well, would you call it a “nonissue?” After watching the GOP gubernatorial frontrunner implode over plagiarism, would you be so casual about this?
Of course not. You’d be shouting from the rooftops that you had been defrauded by one of your own opponents. You’d be calling the newspapers and demanding an apology, and you’d be filing complaints with every oversight authority that remotely applies.
Meaning you’d be doing what Doug Randall is doing.