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Plagiarism claims pile up

An adviser for Sen. Rand Paul finally has a defense against the growing pile of plagiarism accusations: blame the staffers.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

An adviser for Sen. Rand Paul finally has a defense against the growing pile of plagiarism accusations: blame the staffers.

An adviser to Rand Paul finally has a defense to the growing pile of plagiarism accusations against the Kentucky senator: Blame his staffers. 

In a statement to the press Tuesday morning, Paul's senior adviser Doug Stafford admitted that not every fact or anecdote the top Republican has publicly used was properly cited. "In the thousands of speeches and op-eds Sen. Paul has produced, he has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions," Stafford said. "Sen. Paul also relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes--some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly."

He added, "Going forward, footnotes will be available on request."

Paul's latest offense, first reported by BuzzFeed, shows that a recent op-ed penned by the Kentucky senator was taken from an article that appeared in The Week a week before his op-ed was printed in The Washington Times. 

Revelation of Paul's plagiarism first came to light when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported last week that he had copied and pasted portions of speeches he's given from movie summaries on Wikipedia. Since then, multiple instances of plagiarism have come to the surface, including the discovery that portions of his 2013 book Government Bullies borrowed full sections from a 2003 Heritage Foundation study.

Before his staffers fessed up to the sourcing oversight, Paul had previously defended his work by blaming his accusers for unfairly targeting him.

"Can a speaker not tell stories without always remembering the exact citation?" Paul said to Fox's Sean Hannity Monday night. "I think it's a standard that no one else is being held to and I think it's politically motivated."

MORE: Rand Paul: 'If dueling were legal in Kentucky...'

Paul first responded to the accusations on Fusion the day after Maddow's segment, arguing that when referencing the film Gattaca, he "gave credit to the people who wrote the movie" and compared his language borrowing to footnotes on a written page. "People are making a mountain out of a molehill," Paul told host Jorge Ramos. Paul's website was later updated to include footnotes on one of his speeches. 

Paul outlined how he planned to avoid similar errors in an interview with the New York Times.

“What we are going to do from here forward, if it will make people leave me the hell alone, is we’re going to do them like college papers,” he said.