Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was accused of plagiarism last week by MSNBC host Rachael Maddow and it looks like the the Senator will have to continue to deal with allegations as they keep piling on.
During a broadcast of her show "The Rachael Maddow Show," Maddow noted that part of Rand Paul's speech during a rally for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, was actually a copy of the Wikipedia entry for the movie "Gattaca." Paul denied the claim, but now a new report has been released tying the Paul to another act of plagiarism.
First reported by Buzz Feed and than by multiple news outlets, Sen. Rand Paul allegedly plagiarized an op-ed he wrote in the Washington Times in September on mandatory minimum prison sentences. The report notes that Paul's op-ed was eerily similar and almost a direct copy of a piece written in The Week by their senior editor Dan Stewart.
Rand Paul's Washington Times op-ed (September 20th):
“By design, mandatory-sentencing laws take discretion away from prosecutors and judges so as to impose harsh sentences, regardless of circumstances. Since mandatory sentencing began in the 1970s in response to a growing drug-and-crime epidemic, America’s prison population has quadrupled, to 2.4 million. America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, including China and Iran, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year. Drug offenders in the United States spend more time under the criminal justice system’s formal control than drug offenders anywhere else in the world.
“Most public officials — liberals, conservatives and libertarians — have decided that mandatory-minimum sentencing is unnecessary. At least 20 states, both red and blue, have reformed their mandatory-sentencing laws in some way, and Congress is considering a bipartisan bill that would do the same for federal crimes.”
Dan Stewart’s The Week op-ed (September 14th):
“By design, mandatory sentencing laws take discretion away from prosecutors and judges so as to impose harsh sentences, regardless of circumstances. Mandatory sentencing began in the 1970s as a response to a growing drug-and-crime epidemic, and over the decades has put hundreds of thousands of people behind bars for drug possession and sale, and other non-violent crimes. Since mandatory sentencing began, America’s prison population has quadrupled, to 2.4 million. America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, including China and Iran, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.
“Most public officials — including liberals, conservatives, and libertarians — have decided that it’s not. At least 20 states, both red and blue, have reformed their mandatory sentencing laws in some way, and Congress is considering a bipartisan bill that would do the same for federal crimes.”
Following the original allegation against the Kentucky Senator, Paul's advisers told Politico that they would be “more cautious in presenting and attributing sources." During an interview with ABC's "The Week," Paul himself denied the allegations and defended himself, claiming he was essentially the victim of a witch-hunt.
“I think I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters."
Rand Paul is thought to be a top pick for a possible presidential run in 2016, but the plagiarism allegations could throw water on the fire. The Republican field for president is expected to be crowded and each candidate, Paul included, will need to minimize any negatives that could come back to haunt them in the future.