Democrats are refusing to address accusations that an Arizona lawmaker plagiarized a conspiracy theory website in a speech opposing right-to-try legislation, according to a report Thursday from a right-leaning website.
Arizona Sen. Juan Mendez used language from a website known for calling the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a “hoax” to write a speech in 2014 about legislation he opposed. Democrats are distancing themselves from Mendez as he faces multiple allegations of plagiarism.
The reports come from Arizona Democrats Exposed, a partisan research site operated by GOP operative Brian Anderson. He found that substantial portions of Mendez’s testimony addressing right to try legislation was lifted verbatim from Natural News, a website that once suggested Sandy Hook was a false flag designed to generate support for gun control.
Mendez, a Democrat, gave a testimonial in 2014 explaining his opposition to HCR2005, which would have given terminally ill patients access to experimental medications. Mendez, who was a state representative at the time, said he consulted with experts with knowledge about the bill.
The quoted portions below highlight subtle differences between Mendez’s testimony and a Feb. 2008 article in Natural News by David Gutierrez titled, “FDA Wants Big Pharma To Use Terminally Ill Patients As Guinea Pigs For Unapproved Drugs.” The first section is from Mendez.
Cancer doctor Dean Gesme of the Minnesota Oncology Hematology Professional Association has charged efforts like this bill as attempts to generate false hope in patients when the reality is that less than 10 percent of drugs beginning Phase I safety trials are eventually adopted as viable treatments. Among these, most provide only incremental benefits. Very few are life-savers.
The next quote is from the Gutierrez article, which differs only slightly from Mendez’s testimony. The bold portions are intended to highlight subtle changes Mendez made to the article.
Cancer doctor Dean Gesme, of the Minnesota Oncology Hematology Professional Association, charged that the rules will engender false hope in patients, when less than 10 percent of drugs beginning phase I safety trials are eventually adopted as viable treatments. Among these, most provide only incremental benefits; few are life-savers.
Arizona Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, who leads the Democratic caucus, has not responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about the accusation. And Drew Anderson, the communications director for the Arizona Democratic Party, told TheDCNF that the party does not wish to comment about the issue
The Thursday report was one of two being leveled against the Arizona Democrat. Mendez also plagiarized answers to a candidate questionnaire while he was campaigning in 2016 for his current position in the senate, according to a report Arizona Democrats Exposed published Tuesday. He submitted answers to the questionnaire that were copied-and-pasted from The Washington Post, among other sources.
Mendez reportedly plagiarized conservative WaPo writer Kathleen Parker, for instance, while answering questions about his position on legalizing marijuana.
“Nor, after decades of common use, has cannabis been proved to be the evil weed of ‘Reefer Madness,'” he wrote. “We would all be better off had we dedicated our resources to education and treatment rather than, through prohibition, to empowering criminals and cartels, not to mention ruining our youth’s lives, systematically creating second class citizens with results that put Jim Crow Laws to shame.”
That paragraph was copied from a Parker editorial two years earlier.
“Nor, after decades of common use, has it been proved to be the evil weed of ‘Reefer Madness,'” she wrote in 2014. “How much better to have dedicated our resources to education and treatment rather than, through prohibition, to empowering criminals and cartels, not to mention ruining young lives with ‘criminal’ records.”
Mendez has not directly responded to questions about the incident, but he did tell his followers on Twitter late Thursday night that he will work more diligently to use his own words to communicate ideas.
“Anything I’ve said truly represents my viewpoints. However, I will put forth a greater effort to put ideas I support into my own words. While I am often in a rush, that is no excuse to not properly cite my sources. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in due diligence & judgement,” he wrote.
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