BuzzFeed Uncovers Possible Plagiarism In Democratic Congressman’s Op-Ed

Alex Griswold Media Reporter
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Democratic California Rep. Ami Bera may have plagiarized as many as seven passages in a recent op-ed supporting giving President Barack Obama more power to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

The story by BuzzFeed reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro doesn’t come straight out and accuse Bera of “plagiarism” (even though BuzzFeed didn’t hesitate to throw that word at Rand Paul). Instead, he notes the op-ed in The Sacramento Bee “appears to crib from pro-trade talking points posted online by business groups and conservative Democrats.” (VIDEO: BuzzFeed Editor Reveals Facebook’s Favorite Politician)

For example, Bera’s op-ed reads that, “With more than 95 percent of the world’s population outside the United States, economic growth and jobs for the region and America will increasingly depend on expanding U.S. trade and investment opportunities in the global marketplace.” But McMorris-Santoro points out that passage’s striking similarity with another from a pro-business lobbying group:

“With 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of global purchasing power outside of the United States, America’s global competitiveness will increasingly depend on expanding U.S. trade and investment opportunities.”

Bera may have also swiped as many as four different statements from a news release put out by the centrist Democratic group Third Way, and another from the White House. (RELATED: BuzzFeed Cans Viral Politics Editor For Plagiarism)

The response from Bera’s staff was, well, kind of lame. “Rep. Bera made his decision to support giving the president the authority to negotiate a trade deal with strict requirements from Congress after many hours of research and deliberation, and based on what he believes will grow our economy, create good-paying American jobs, and protect workers and the environment,” his spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “His piece encapsulates his views on the issue.”

[h/t Buzzfeed]

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Alex Griswold