July 24th, 2014
09:33 AM ET
9 years ago

Report: Montana Senator plagiarized grad school paper

updated at 3:25pm ET

(CNN) - A significant portion of a paper Montana Sen. John Walsh had to complete to obtain his Master’s degree was taken directly from two sources and given no attribution, according to the New York Times.

At least one-quarter of the 14-page paper, “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” from the United States Army War College was copied from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report and a 1998 Harvard scholar's essay, the Times reported.

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Walsh, an Iraq War veteran and former head of Montana’s National Guard, completed the paper in 2007. He was 46.

Nearly 24 hours after the story broke, his re-election campaign released a full-bore defense, laying out more than a dozen accomplishments and awards from his 33-year military career. The campaign didn’t deny the plagiarism but said it wasn’t deliberate.

"He acknowledges the citations were not all done correctly, but that it was an unintentional mistake," the statement said.

Walsh separately told the Associated Press that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress after his Iraq deployment. His office said he commanded an infantry battalion in 2004-05.

His office said the difficult period was not an excuse for the plagiarized portions of the paper.

The damning report could impact not only Walsh’s election chances this November, but also the Democrats’ odds of maintaining control of the Senate.

Walsh stepped down as Montana's lieutenant governor after he was appointed to the Senate in February to replace longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who was appointed Ambassador to China. Walsh is running in November's midterm election for a full six year term in Senate.

In the conservative state of Montana, Republicans pegged the race as winnable. The GOP must win six seats currently in Democratic hands to win back control of the Upper Chamber.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Even before the plagiarism allegations broke, two of the top non-partisan political handicappers gave the edge in the race to the GOP candidate, Rep. Steve Daines. The Cook Report listed the race as “lean Republican” and the Rothenberg Report rated the contest as “toss up/tilt Republican.”

In a statement, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee defended Walsh.

"John Walsh is a decorated war hero and it’s disgusting that Steve Daines and Washington Republicans are going to try denigrate John’s distinguished service after multiple polls show him gaining. Steve Daines should immediately denounce these latest smears and call for an end to all attacks on John Walsh’s record protecting Montana and serving his country," said DSCC press secretary Justin Barasky.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2014 • Montana
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Yes sonnie3, there is a mountain of something, but it seems to be generated by the Obama-hatred industry, and the only use for it is as a source of nitrates. Care to offer something useful for the discussion, or are you just attempting to divert this onto the usual monologues from the Right about how Obama has never told the truth, how he invented lying, etc?

    July 24, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Borderless

    John, um...no. Just no.

    July 24, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Rudy NYC


    At least we can see is grad papers. obamas are sealed from the public eye. That fact alone tell mountains of information.
    Grades are private records. It is unlawful for institutions to disclose them. Tell you what. You release your grades, and the president will release his grades. Better still, Donald Trump has already made that deal when he challenged to the president to release his birth certificate, and Trump would release his tax returns, or something. Trump has yet to ante up.

    July 24, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "You should care about his integrity, and not because he has a D after his name."

    To be fair, anyone from either party...or who, like me, tends to support one over the other without registering because they're the least worst option...should be MORE concerned with wrongdoing in their own camp than they are with it in the other. This guy makes me irritated precisely because it feeds the GOP/Teatrolls and provides them with excuses and distractions and allows them and the MSM to pretend his personal failings reflect on the party (or at least the liberal/progressive movement) as a whole. Traditionally, Dems do a much better job of it, such as joining in when Rangel needed to be censured, altho they have their moments of making excuses...whereas the GOP/Teatrolls are practiced experts at protecting their own and dismissing any wrongdoing whatsoever like it never happened.

    July 24, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Btw ladies, I had a great trip!!!😊😊😊"

    Oh, good. Thanks for the update. I have sooooo been trying hard to ask how it went for you ... !!!

    July 24, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    Gurgyl, this is a report from the New York Times, not the Daily Caller, so how could this be described as a GOP trick when he has basically dismissed this report by saying he did not do anything wrong? It goes to his character, and you would be the first person to scream he had to go if he were a GOP senator. You should care about his integrity, and not because he has a D after his name.
    Leave him/her alone... he/she is just trying to make some scraps posting pro 'D' propoganda.

    July 24, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine

    Rudy, ironic that you make the comparison with Robert Irvine, since he falsified his accomplishments as well, and almost saw his career go up in smoke as a result.
    Whoa, what? Are you saying that he never worked as executive chef on an aircraft carrier? That his Cockney accent is a fake?

    July 24, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. it must be said

    A dishonest and deceitful Democrat? And this is news? hahahaha... Let us know when you find one that isn't dishonest and deceitful because THAT would be news.

    July 24, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake Up!
    living with someone and barely has teeth had the mitigated gall to say our friend, the Attorney, wasn't anybody and he proceeded to attempt to knock him down with words. All I could think of was wow, he's exactly like the posters that can barely string two sentences together, when they attempt to do the same thing to President Obama.

    Btw ladies, I had a great trip!!!😊😊😊
    They are all over aren't they? Just as dumb and nonsensical as the day is long.
    Glad you had a good time my friend. Mini-vacays are highly underrated. I'm taking one in NYC this Saturday.
    BTW Lynda and I are in cnn lockdown....can you put some money in our commissary?!!!

    July 24, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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