According to a new report from Akela Lacy of The intercept, 2020 candidate Michael Bloomberg plagiarized parts of at least eight of his plans.
Late January, The WSJ reported Michael Bloomberg put a whopping $200 Million into his Presidential bid in just the first give weeks.
MIKE BLOOMBERG’S PRESIDENTIAL campaign plagiarized portions of its plans for maternal health, LGBTQ equality, the economy, tax policy, infrastructure, and mental health from research publications, media outlets, and a number of nonprofit, educational, and policy groups.
The Intercept found that exact passages from at least eight Bloomberg plans or accompanying fact sheets were direct copies of material from media outlets including CNN, Time, and CBS, a research center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the American Medical Association, Everytown for Gun Safety, Building America’s Future Educational Fund, and other organizations.
Bloomberg co-founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a political organization focused on gun control, and Building America’s Future Educational Fund, a nonprofit working on infrastructure investment and reform, and has chaired them in the past, and he was listed as a co-author on the educational fund’s reports. He is not clearly affiliated with the other sources. The plagiarized sections ranged in length from entire paragraphs to individual sentences and fragments in documents that were between five and 174 pages long.
On Wednesday afternoon, The Intercept sent a detailed query to the Bloomberg campaign. By Thursday morning, one of the plans was completely taken down, while others were changed. The campaign reposted the plan that had been removed on Thursday evening, after this story was published.
The Bloomberg campaign did not deny the plagiarism. In a statement, the campaign said, “Much of what you flagged were fact sheets that went out via MailChimp” — an online newsletter service — “which doesn’t support footnote formatting. When we announce policy platforms, we put together detailed fact sheets with context and supporting background, so that reporters understand the problem we’re trying to solve with our policy. For sourcing, we often look to the organizations that Mike has led or worked with in the past, like the City of New York and Building America’s Future. We have since added citations and links to these documents.”
Bloomberg’s own media entity, Bloomberg News, takes a hard line against plagiarism in its style guide, “The Bloomberg Way.” “Plagiarism—the unattributed copying of others’ work—is inexcusable,” the style guide, which was updated in 2017, reads. “Plagiarism is theft. Be prepared to lose your job if you plagiarize. Always credit original reporting to those who did the legwork, and never reproduce quotes made to others if we heard them ourselves. Press summaries must cite the publication that did the reporting and explain the attribution used in the original story.”
Bloomberg, an American oligarch who jumped into the presidential race in late November and has spent more than $300 million of his own money on campaign ads so far, is expected to qualify for his first presidential debate this month, following a late January rule change from the Democratic National Committee.
The DNC doubled the polling threshold and eliminated a requirement that a candidate had to hit 225,000 individual donors to make the debate stage, drawing criticisms that the rules were changed for Bloomberg’s benefit (Bloomberg is completely self-funding his campaign). Asked during Monday’s Iowa caucus about backlash to the rule change in relation to Bloomberg, DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said, “He has not qualified for the debate.”
Accusations of plagiarism have tanked past political campaigns. In 1987, during his first presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden was caught plagiarizing campaign speeches, and was also exposed for an incident during law school where he plagiarized a law review journal in a paper. At the time, Biden apologized, saying, “I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody.” But days of negative press effectively pushed him out of the race.
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