Several Republican candidates for state and federal offices appear to be mimicking -- and in some cases, word-for-word plagiarizing -- sections of Sen. Rand Paul's campaign and official websites.
The similarities to passages on the Kentucky Republican senator's sites were first flagged last week by Buzzfeed. A review by FoxNews.com finds that while some candidates are not always doing wholesale copy and paste, the similarities in language are obvious. While one candidate's campaign defended the practice by suggesting he and Paul were "like-minded," others did not offer a clear explanation.
One of the candidates is North Carolina Senate hopeful Greg Brannon, who like Paul in 2010 is a physician vying for his first seat in public office. The similarities in their bios extend to similarities in their websites. Many of Brannon's “Issues” pages are curiously similar to the pages from Paul’s website from his first Senate campaign.
Take, for example, this phrase from the candidates’ pages on the Second Amendment, which both feature them holding a gun:
Paul: “Politicians often give lip service to the 2nd Amendment but then go off to Washington and vote to restrict gun ownership.”
Brannon: “Too many politicians give public lip service to the Second Amendment but then turn around and vote to restrict gun ownership.”
Or their pages on immigration:
Paul: “Millions crossing our border without our knowledge constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security.”
Brannon: “Millions crossing our borders without documentation constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security.”
Or on abortion:
Paul: “In addition, I believe we may be able to save millions of lives in the near future by allowing states to pass their own anti-abortion laws. If states were able to do so, I sincerely believe many -- including Kentucky -- would do so tomorrow, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Brannon: “While we are working on the ultimate goal of ending human abortion, I believe that we may be able to save millions of lives in the near future by allowing states to pass their own anti-abortion laws. If states were able to do so, I sincerely believe many – including North Carolina — would do so tomorrow, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.”
When asked for comment, Brannon’s spokesman Reilly O’Neal provided the following statement from Brannon: "My website was created over a year ago, and while I agree with every word I was unaware until now of this problem. We have already fixed the passages."
Brannon is not alone. Oklahoma Senate candidate T.W. Shannon, who has received endorsements from Sen. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, also has the same phrase on his“Education” page as one on Paul’s current website.
Paul’s reads: “More money, more bureaucracy, and more government intervention have eroded educational standards.”
Shannon’s reads: “More money, more bureaucracy, and more government intervention have eroded educational standards.”
An adviser to Shannon, speaking with FoxNews.com, questioned Buzzfeed's description of these similarities as plagiarism. He said by that standard, critics also must accuse every Democratic lawmaker who repeated President Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” mantra of plagiarism.
"In the political world you get a lot of agreement among like-minded people. On many issues T.W. Shannon agrees with Rand Paul," Rick Tyler said.
Shannon is not the only Oklahoman who seems to have taken a page (perhaps literally) out of Paul’s playbook. Steve Kern, a Republican candidate for state Senate District 40, also apparently borrowed a phrase from Paul.
Kern’s version reads: “More money, more bureaucracy, and more government intervention are eroding this nation’s educational standards in spite of the false narrative.”
Kern's site also uses almost an entire paragraph that is on Paul's site:
Paul: “I recognize the great potential of local schools and parents who are allowed the freedom to manage their own children's educational needs, according to the community they live in, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all federal government approach that has been proven to not work for most kids.”
Kern: “I recognize the great potential of local schools and parents who are allowed the freedom to manage their own children’s educational needs, according to the community they live in, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all federal government approach.”
Paul did not respond to requests for comment from FoxNews.com.
The Kentucky Republican has faced his own plagiarism allegations in the past. Last year, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow accused Paul of lifting sentences from the Wikipedia pages of the movies “Gattaca” and “Stand and Deliver” for his speeches.
Paul dismissed the allegations with an interview with Fusion, saying he quoted and adequately sourced the movies, not Wikipedia.