The U.S. Army War College said on Thursday that it will investigate allegations that Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized at least a quarter of his master’s thesis in 2007.
The school told NBC Montana that it has convened an academic review board and, if Walsh is found to have intentionally copied others’ work, the college could revoke his graduation status.
Carol Kerr, the U.S. Army War College’s public affairs officer, said in a statement that the board will conduct a legal review, which will then be examined by the dean. The dean can then make a recommendation to take away Walsh’s diploma. That final decision will be made by the deputy commandant.
Walsh “will have the opportunity to submit material for the board’s consideration,” said Kerr.
The probe comes after a New York Times report that Walsh, 53, plagiarized his thesis on Middle East policy using whole sections from “academic papers, policy journal essays and books” without proper attribution.
The Montana senator, appointed to his seat in February after Sen. Max Baucus stepped down to become the U.S. ambassador to China, has said post-traumatic stress disorder may have played a role.
The Iraq war veteran told the Associated Press, “I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor. My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and academic environment.”
The accusations could affect his election bid in November against Republican Rep. Steve Daines. Walsh was already expected to face long odds against the Republican.