Oregon Republican Senate Candidate Has a Plagiarism Problem

Monica Wehby, an Oregon Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has been caught in plagiarism scandal. This week, BuzzFeed published two reports detailing examples of plagiarism on Wehby’s website, prompting the campaign—which is already trailing the incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley—to go on the defensive.

One BuzzFeed article, published on Wednesday, alleges that Wehby’s economic plan was partially cribbed from a few places, including a plan put out by Republican Sen. Rob Portman (OH) and an older plan by a 2012 congressional candidate.

Another article reports that parts of Wehby’s health plan come straight from a survey published by Crossroads GPS—the ultra conservative Super PAC founded by GOP operative Karl Rove.

Wehby is a rare pro-choice Republican candidate, and has described herself as staunchly anti-Obamacare. In 2009, she appeared in TV ads “warning people about the now proven deficiencies of the Affordable Care Act,” and has said that as senator she will “clean up the ACA mess.”

Wehby, once the president of the Oregon Medical Association, serves as the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at a hospital in Portland. According to her website, she was the first woman to graduate from UCLA’s neurosurgery program.

Here’s an example from Wehby’s health-care plan, as reported by BuzzFeed:

Crossroads survey: “Allow people to purchase health insurance coverage with pre-tax dollars, so that they can have an insurance policy they own and can keep if they change jobs.”

Wehby’s plan: “Allow EVERYONE to purchase health insurance with pre-tax dollars so they own the policy and can keep it if they change jobs.”

And from Wehby’s economic plan:

Senate Republican economic plan: Simplify and Reduce Business and Individual Tax Rates. High marginal tax rates discourage work, savings and investment, and reduce incentives for businesses – small and large – to grow and invest. The U.S. can’t be competitive with the highest business tax rate in the world. We should reform both the individual and corporate tax systems in a comprehensive manner to provide lower rates with fewer deductions and credits and transition towards a territorial system for international businesses. These changes would encourage growth and job creation. For example, reducing corporate and individual tax rates to 25% would create millions of private-sector jobs and increase wages for American workers.

Wehby economic plan: Simplify and Reduce Business and Individual Tax Rates. The U.S. is among the highest business tax rate in the world, severely hindering businesses’ ability to grow and invest.  We need to reform both the individual and corporate tax systems in a comprehensive manner to provide lower rates with fewer deductions and credits and transition towards a territorial system for international businesses.  These changes would encourage growth and job creation.  For example, reducing corporate and individual tax rates to 25% would create million of private sector jobs and increase wages for American workers.

A campaign spokesman initially dismissed the plagiarism allegations.

“The suggestions that a pediatric neurosurgeon needs to copy a health care plan from American Crossroads is absurd,” a Wehby spokesman told BuzzFeed. “Dr. Wehby is too busy performing brain surgery on sick children to respond, sorry.”

The plan has since been removed from her campaign website.

Following the second article, the campaign acknowledged the allegations but shifted blame away from Wehby.

“The website pages were authored by staff that are no longer employed by the campaign,” Wehby spokesman Dean Petrone said in a statement. According to the Oregonian, Petrone’s statement was in clear reference to Charlie Pearce, a former campaign manager. Pearce, who is now working to elect Dennis Richardson to the governorship, denied having written either the economic or health plan.

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