A candidate for Massachusetts’ newly drawn first congressional district removed several documents from his web site Friday, after a rival alleged that much of the language had been plagiarized. Bill Shein, a Democratic activist from Great Barrington, says he first noticed a problem with opponent Andrea Nuciforo‘s website materials a few weeks ago.
“Unfortunately I noticed some similarities between things that had been shared by Mr. Nuciforo – particularly the statement of his values that was copied from Alan Khazei, a progressive who had been active in the Commonwealth a few years ago, and from there we found some other examples.”
And a side-by-side comparison on Shein’s website shows that Nuciforo’s campaign lifted paragraphs and even pages of material verbatim or nearly verbatim from the campaign web sites of now-disgraced Democrat John Edwards, and from California Democrat Stacey Lawson, who recently lost a primary bid for Congress. Shein calls it plagiarism.
“We’re talking not just about advancing similar ideas, which candidates do all the time, but cobbling together many papers and statements from other candidates, claiming them as your own and I believe that’s wrong.”
Nuciforo calls Shein’s accusation the desperate act of a desperate campaign. But by this morning Nuciforo’s campaign had taken the relevant material down from its web site. Asked whether the Lawson and Edwards material had been properly sourced or footnoted, Nuciforo did not answer directly, but he defended its use.
“I stand on the shoulders of giants,” Nuciforo said. “And many of the ideas that are advanced by this campaign had been developed and advanced by like-minded Democrats. Progressive Democrats from around the country. And that’s everybody from Kucinich to Capuano. I think my staff did the best we could, in good faith, to reference all these sources.”
Both Shein and Nuciforo face an uphill battle against Congressman Richard Neal, who has represented most of the newly configured district for more than two decades. Neal had no comment on the plagiarism question.