Sen. Scott Brown Accused of Plagiarizing His Message to Students

Oct 13, 2011 10:01am

Rather than sending an encouraging public service message, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s “student resources” Web page apparently illustrated the cardinal sin of academics: plagiarism.

The inspiring words on Browns “A Message From Scott” page of his official Senate website appear to have been copied verbatim from former North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s “A Message from Elizabeth” Web page, which was live while she was in office from 2003 to 2009.

“I was raised to believe that there are no limits to individual achievement and no excuses to justify indifference,” the message on Brown’s page said. “From an early age, I was taught that success is measured not in material accumulations, but in service to others. I was encouraged to join causes larger than myself, to pursue positive change through a sense of mission, and to stand up for what I believe.”

The Boston Globe first reported the alleged plagiarism Tuesday after it was brought to the newspaper’s attention by the Democratic super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century. Brown’s message was taken down Wednesday evening.

Brown spokesman John Donnelly told the Globe that the copied message was a staff error.

“Sen. Dole’s website served as one of the models for Sen. Brown’s website when he first took office,” Donnelly said. “During construction of the site, the content on this particular page was inadvertently transferred without being rewritten. It was a staff-level oversight which we regret and is being corrected.”

Brown’s page has now been updated with this statement:

“It has always been my belief that we can be who we want if we work hard enough. I work every day to be the best Senator I can, and to humbly serve you in the United States Senate. Public service is a wonderful calling, and I encourage all students and young people to strive to make a difference in our world.”

A screenshot of Brown’s page before the copied language was taken down and another of the same message on Dole’s website were obtained by POLITICO.

Brown, who is up for re-election in 2012, was mired in another dispute last week for comments he made about Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren.

After a debate moderator pointed out to Warren that Brown modeled shirtless to help pay for college, Warren joked that she chose to keep her clothes on.

“Thank God,” Brown said when asked in a radio interview to respond to Warren’s comments.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Brown’s comment showed he was “clueless” and showed his “disrespect for women.”

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