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State Sen. Joni Ernst waves to supporters at a primary election night rally after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. The 43-year-old Ernst won the nomination over five candidates.
Charlie Neibergall—ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Republican Senate candidate in Iowa copied-and-pasted large portions of her op-eds in local newspapers from other sources, according to a new report.

BuzzFeed, citing side-by-side comparisons of the offending articles and source material, reports that many of the op-eds Joni Ernst wrote for local papers as a state Senator contained large swaths of text from summaries sent to many state legislators. Some of Ernst’s work also reportedly contains lines from speeches and news releases by Gov. Terry Brandstand. BuzzFeed presents several of the passages containing nearly identical text for comparison.

The Ernst campaign told BuzzFeed these instances are taken from pieces created “for the express purpose of reproduction” and they are “no different than what virtually every state lawmaker in the nation does, including Iowa Democrats.”

“Despite BuzzFeed’s every effort, there is no scandal here,” the campaign said.

Ernst, who’s facing Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in a tight Senate race in the state, is just the latest politician to be caught up in allegations of plagiarism. In recent years at least three politicians have been accused of lifting other people’s words and calling them their own, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul. Earlier in October, Democratic Sen. John Walsh had his master’s degree revoked after the U.S. Army War College found he plagiarized an important academic paper.


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