After The New York Times reported that Sen. John Walsh plagiarized at least a quarter of his master’s thesis, the Montana Democrat is telling The Associated Press that post-traumatic stress disorder may have played a role.
“I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor,” the Iraq war veteran said. “My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment.”
Walsh told the AP that he was on medication at the time and was dealing with the suicide of a fellow veteran.
Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February, after Max Baucus resigned to become the U.S. ambassador to China.
On Wednesday, the Times published a report that combed through the 14-pages of “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” which Walsh submitted as his final paper to earn his Master of Strategic Studies degree from the United States Army War College.
The paper found that Walsh lifted whole sections from “academic papers, policy journal essays and books,” without providing proper attribution.
The six recommendations Walsh makes, the paper reports, “are taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic.”
These revelations are likely to have an impact in the fall elections, because Walsh is the Democratic nominee for a full term.
In recent memory, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, was the last prominent politician to be in hot water for plagiarism. As It’s All Politics reported, Paul was accused of lifting language from Wikipedia and news articles for several speeches.