Rand Paul Column Axed by Washington Times Amid Plagiarism Concerns

Tuesday, 05 Nov 2013 08:53 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Washington Times said Tuesday that it had pulled the plug on a weekly column by Sen. Rand Paul, and published a correction of his Sept. 20 column that hadn't attributed a passage that first appeared in Forbes.

Ending the Friday columns of the Kentucky Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate was a mutual decision, the newspaper said. The columns first began running this summer.

"We expect our columnists to submit original work and to properly attribute material, and we appreciate that the senator and his staff have taken responsibility for an oversight in one column," Times editor John Solomon said.

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"We also appreciate the original insights he has shared with our readers over the last few months and look forward to future contributions from Sen. Paul and any other members of Congress who take the time to help educate our readers with original-thought leadership pieces."

The decision came after a slew of allegations that Paul had lifted work without crediting sources, and on the same day Paul apologized for the lack of sourcing, promising to provide attributions in the future.

The website BuzzFeed first reported that Paul had copied sections of an opinion piece on mandatory sentencing — "The devastating effect of a drug-war weapon" — for The Washington Times, from an article in The Week, The Times noted.

In a statement to the Times, Paul spokesman Doug Stafford said the senator's ideas were all his own but that he'd relied on his staff to provide "supporting facts and anecdotes — some of which were clearly not sourced or vetted."

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