When Andrew Kaczynski caught Monica Wehby’s Republican Senate campaign in a fairly blatant instance of plagiarism, the candidate’s team didn’t handle it especially well. Despite clear evidence that the Oregon candidate’s health plan had been copied and pasted from materials published by Karl Rove’s Crossroads operation, Wehby’s spokesperson got a little snippy.
“The suggestion that a pediatric neurosurgeon needs to copy a health care plan from American Crossroads is absurd,” a Wehby aide told BuzzFeed. “Dr. Wehby is too busy performing brain surgery on sick children to respond, sorry.”
As best as I can tell, Wehby was not actually performing brain surgery on sick children at the time.
In any case, Kaczynski dug further and found that Wehby’s economic plan had also been plagiarized, prompting the Republican candidate to drop the too-busy-performing-brain-surgery defense and acknowledge the problem.
Monica Wehby’s campaign on Wednesday acknowledged problems with plagiarism in some of her issue documents and removed them from her website.Her campaign blamed a former staffer, and it was clear from the context that Wehby and her aides were referring to her former campaign manager, Charlie Pearce, who is now running Dennis Richardson’s campaign for governor.Pearce, who was clearly irked, denied having anything to do with the problem. “I did not author the health care policy or economic policy plans,” he said in an interview.
It’s safe to say this isn’t what Team Wehby needed right now.
The Oregon Republican trails Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) in the polls, and the Koch brothers recently scrapped their investments in Wehby’s race.
As of this morning, the candidate’s website no longer has a section devoted to Wehby’s position on the issues.
The GOP candidate is the third notable political figure over the last year to get caught up in a plagiarism controversy, following incidents involving Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and John Walsh (D-Mont.).
Of the three, only Paul tried to redefine the word “plagiarism” and suggested he wanted to “duel” journalists who dared to point out his misdeeds.
Then again, at least the Kentucky Republican’s office didn’t say he was too busy performing eye surgery on sick children to respond.