After being accused Tuesday of plagiarizing the “student resources” page of his official Senate website, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., blamed the mistake on a student.
“It was a summer intern that put together the site, we corrected it once we found out, and we’re working on trade agreements and jobs,” he said Thursday, according to the Boston Globe.
The senator added that the controversy over the passage, which was identical to one on former Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s web page, was “getting a little silly.”
The passage, which Brown’s staff took down Wednesday evening, was an inspirational message to students, urging them into public service and explaining how Brown’s childhood inspired him to “to stand up for what I believe.” The entire “Message from Scott” was identical to a “Message from Elizabeth” that appeared on Dole’s site while she was in office from 2003 to 2009, the Boston Globe first reported Wednesday.
Brown’s spokesman, John Donnelly, said the copied passage was a “staff-level oversight” and that Dole’s website “served as one of the models” when Brown was creating his site after first taking office in February of last year.
“During construction of the site, the content on this particular page was inadvertently transferred without being rewritten,” Donnelly said in a statement. “It was a staff-level oversight which we regret and has been corrected.”
Donnelly declined to comment on whether an intern was solely responsible for the error.
Brian Nick, Dole’s former chief of staff, said Dole’s staff was aware that Brown was using her site as a template and that the copied passage was a “human error.”
“We chalked up to an innocent mistake and that was that,” Nick said.
“With all the things that are going on in a Senate office, especially something as general as a template for a website, I can see something like that happen easily,” Nick added. “Someone could inadvertently copy and paste other language.”