Sen. Rand Paul is instituting a new policy that will be familiar to any high school or college student who has ever written a research paper: Footnoting.
Paul’s move toward more transparency in his speeches and writings comes after multiple media outlets discovered that Paul, R-Ky., had lifted large portions of his verbal and written work from other sources without proper attribution.
“From here forward, quoting, footnoting and citing will be more complete,” Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to Paul, said in a statement today. “Adherence to a new approval process implemented by Sen. Paul will ensure proper citation and accountability in all collaborative works going forward.”
Though it’s not entirely clear who exactly was responsible for inserting the unattributed material, that same statement seemed to shift blame to Paul’s staff, rather than to Paul himself.
“In the thousands of speeches and op-eds Sen. Paul has produced, he has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions,” Stafford said. “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.”
Paul was first accused of plagiarism in a speech he gave at Liberty University in support of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Maddow said that Paul had taken exact and substantial sections of his speech from a Wikipedia entry on the 1997 movie “Gattaca.”
Not long after, BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski discovered that Paul had copied verbatim many lines from the Wikipedia entry on the movie “Stand and Deliver” into a speech he gave this past June on immigration.
As reporters dug further, they found more examples of plagiarism from throughout Paul’s Senate career.
Politico reported that on two separate occasions, Paul plagiarized parts of speeches he gave from a 2011 Associated Press report and from an article in CitizenLink magazine.
Additionally, Kaczynski reported that Paul copied much of a Washington Times op-ed he wrote from an article that first appeared in The Week magazine.
Paul told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “This Week” last Sunday that while he would try to be more careful in the future, he’s “being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters” and won’t “put up with people casting aspersions” on his character.
In an interview with the New York Times published today, Paul said that despite the embarrassing string of incidents, no members of his staff will be fired in response.