Dems Accused A Trump Nominee Of Plagiarism, But Are They Right?

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Senate Democrats claim President Donald Trump’s nominee for top environmental policy adviser “plagiarized” some of her written responses to lawmakers’ questions as part of the confirmation process.

Democrats on Committee on Environment and Public Works claim to have found 18 instances where Kathleen Hartnett-White “cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees,” lawmakers wrote to White on Tuesday.

Trump nominated White to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality. White resubmitted written answers to questions to Senate Democrats on Tuesday, a White House spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Democrats have opposed White’s nomination, like pretty much every other Trump nominee. Some GOP senators criticized White’s past opposition to the federal biofuels mandate.

At her confirmation hearing, White was assailed with questions about her pro-fossil fuels work at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, and her skepticism of man-made global warming.

Now, Democrats are claiming White “plagiarized” responses from other nominees, likely in the hopes of delaying her confirmation.

Democrats wrote White’s responses were the same as those “received from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum.” Democrats want her to submit “plagiarized” answers.

Democrats are referring some written responses nominees submit to lawmakers during the confirmation process, not any published works. Some nominees can get hundreds of questions from Senators on a whole range of topics.

For example, Pruitt responded to 144 questions from Senate Democrats during his confirmation process earlier this year. Pruitt’s responses spanned 242 pages. Obama administration nominees were also barraged with questions.

Nominees often work with the White House and other federal officials to answer questions in a way that reflects the administration’s policies. So, it’s not surprising parts of answers are shared between nominees. defines plagiarism as “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author.”

“Please list each response to a question for the record submitted to you by any Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee for which you either plagiarized someone else’s work or that you did not write part or all of the answer yourself,” Democrats wrote in their letter.

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