Plagiarism Doesn’t Pay: John Walsh Resigns from Senatorial Race

Montana Democratic Senator John Walsh decided to stop pursuing hopes of another senatorial term yesterday, as he said that the plagiarism scandal he’s currently under has taken focus away from the campaign and the issues and placed them onto his past. “The 2007 research paper from my time at the U.S. Army War College as become a distraction from the debate you expect and deserve. I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling my responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator. You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will,” Walsh said in his statement to the public.

While John Walsh calls it a “research paper,” the truth is that it was his Master’s Thesis – more than just a research paper. There are many research papers that we are sure Walsh wrote during his Master’s degree, but the thesis was the one research paper that got him the Master’s degree – and, being a thesis, it is also likely that his Master’s thesis was published. So, the paper was a lot more than just a research paper; without it, John Walsh would not have received his Master’s degree from the Army War College seven years ago.

The plagiarism scandal was pointed out by the New York Times in a July 23rd article about how John Walsh used, for example, 560 words from a Harvard publication without giving any credit to the author who wrote them (or treating them as a quotation instead of his own summary of the author’s statements). In the starting sentence of his thesis, John Walsh uses words that are too similar to those used in a Thomas Carothers article titled “Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror.”

There are six recommendations at the end of John Walsh’s thesis that were practically thrown into his paper straight from the pages of a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document titled “Democratic Mirage in the Middle East.” John Walsh’s thesis conclusion was borrowed from “Building Democracy: Lessons from Iraq.” As of now, John Walsh is under investigation by the US Army War College and, if the investigation turns up any conclusive evidence (it is likely that it will), Walsh will have his Master’s degree revoked.