July 24th, 2014
09:33 AM ET
7 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. salty dog

    Probably the least of the dirty things his gop opponent has in his closet.

    July 24, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Walsh told the Times he “didn’t do anything intentional” and that he doesn’t think he plagiarized."

    Sad. Just very sad. Joe Biden. Rand Paul. And now this guy.

    July 24, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Not smart. It really takes very little effort to properly attribute sources.

    July 24, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    @ salty dog, I hope you actually have something other than partisan disgust to offer up here. The man cheated, for all intents and purposes, and he was not a kid. Attributing sources is easy, and deflecting attention from Walsh's dishonesty by saying his opponent has worse things in his background without being able to cite anything is as lazy as Walsh not attributing his sources in his paper. I won't support this guy simply because he's a Democrat, he has to explain himself.

    July 24, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    This guy kind of looks like celebrity chef Robert Irvine. Irvine is the guy with the really big arms, and who used to be the head chef on British aircraft carriers, cooking 3 meals a day for thousands of men.

    July 24, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Malory Archer

    When I went back for my Master's degree in 2005 we were warned by our professors that plagiarism detection software would be checking our documents, and students caught plagiarizing would be expelled. How is it possible it took 7 years to catch up with this guy?

    July 24, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Thanks a lot John, now that's one more Senate seat we'll probably lose thanks to your dishonesty.

    July 24, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And saying that he didn't think he was plagiarizing speaks volumes as to his intelligence but more importantly what he thinks of ours.

    July 24, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. MICK

    Typical corrupt demorat

    July 24, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    --this happened long, long time ago. Do I care? Absolutely no. Republican trick. Nonsense. He is not on school board, he is in senate. Better get educated on it.

    July 24, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Sniffit

    Idiot. And his new excuse that "PTSD might have played a role" is just insulting.

    "Typical corrupt demorat"

    Would you like to address Rand Paul's recent proven incidents of plagiarism?

    July 24, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Most Democrats are frauds, it seems.

    July 24, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. 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.

    July 24, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Rick McDaniel, so are all Republicans. Did you get upset with Rand Paul when he did it? I'll bet you were very silent on the Ticker that day.

    July 24, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |

    Hopefully he loses but he can receive some excellent treatment for the PTSD and move on with some peace.

    July 24, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Thomas

    Typical corrupt demorat
    Sen. Rand Paul lashed out at the media Wednesday for its coverage of the plagiarism allegations that have rocked the Kentucky Republican over the last week.

    July 24, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Gurgyl, with all due respect, 7 years is not that long ago. As for a republican trick, you're wrong. He wrote the paper not the GOP. Now when it comes to him being exposed, sure it was probably the GOP, but you can't blame them for this. What a disappointment.

    July 24, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. sonnie3

    Just another fake from the liberal left! Go Figure.

    July 24, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. sonnie3

    At least we can see is grad papers. obamas are sealed from the public eye. That fact alone tell mountains of information.

    July 24, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. rs

    Yeah, gosh, that writing thing gets politicians all the time- why just look at his Republican counterpart Mr. Paul- cribbing from Pokémon.

    July 24, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. rs


    At least we can see is grad papers. obamas are sealed from the public eye. That fact alone tell mountains of information.
    Google FERPA and learn.

    July 24, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    Most Democrats are frauds, it seems.
    At least they show up to work unlike the welfare queens of the House TEA Party.

    July 24, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    sonnie3 says:
    July 24, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am
    At least we can see is grad papers. obamas are sealed from the public eye. That fact alone tell mountains of information.

    Did you know that no President's transcripts are sealed but they are confidential? Stop listening to Rush and klan they're filling your head with lies.

    July 24, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. 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.

    July 24, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    sonnie3 says:
    July 24, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am
    At least we can see is grad papers. obamas are sealed from the public eye. That fact alone tell mountains of information.

    People like sonnie3 here crack me up. I ran into a sonnie3 on my little mini vacation last weekend. One of my good friends from childhood has a few brothers that are kind of messed up to put it mildly. Any who another of our friends is an Attorney turning Prosecutor. He overcame many obstacles to get where he is today and he's still a good and regular guy. He doesn't think he's better than anyone simply because he made it. Well I was saying how proud of him I was and my friends brother, who is unemployed, broke, 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!!!😊😊😊

    July 24, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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