Sen. John Walsh Loses Army War College Degree Over Plagiarism Scandal
And this, kids, is why you never plagiarize: Army War College revoked Montana Sen. John Walsh's degree on Friday as a response to recent plagiarism allegations that greatly tarnished the Democrat's credibility. According to The New York Times, which first reported about the controversy in July, Walsh lifted words and ideas, without citations, from a number of authors in his 14-page thesis paper for his master's degree in strategic studies. The 53-year-old senator received the degree in 2007 with the completion of his thesis, titled "The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy."
According to The New York Times report from writer Jonathan Martin, Walsh took word-for-word material from papers from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He also tried passing off journal essays and text from academic books as his own.
At the time the plagiarism allegations broke, Walsh told reporters outside Capitol Hill that using the un-cited texts was mistake. "I didn’t do anything intentional here," Walsh said in July.
But the allegations triggered a nearly three-month-long investigation by the Army. On Friday, Walsh released a statement expressing disappointment over Army War College's decision to rescind his degree. However, he accepted the consequence:
Though I disagree with the findings made by the War College, I accept its decision with great humility and respect for the U.S. Military. I apologize to all Montanans for the plagiarism in my 2007 paper, and I am prepared to live with its consequences. I may not be a scholar but I am proud to have been a soldier who has served Montana and this great nation for 33 years in uniform.
Walsh, who assumed office in February 2014 to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus, announced in August that he's not running for reelection in November. The decorated military veteran previously served as Lieutenant Governor of Montana between 2013 and 2014.
The Democratic Party had faith in both Walsh and his military background, and hoped that his national profile would help bolster the party's image among the military, its members and its veterans. With Walsh pulling out of the race in August, the Montana senator race was shaken up a bit. State Rep. Amanda Curtis was chosen as Walsh's replacement, but she's currently trailing by at least 20 points in the polls to her Republican challenger, according to Real Clear Politics.
In the meantime, Walsh is making the most out of his brief Senate tenure:
As Montanans choose their next U.S. Senator over the next few weeks, I will continue proudly serving this state through the end of this term. I look forward to fighting for veterans and their families. I look forward to doing all we can for the small businesses that call our state home. I will keep fighting for the freedom of choice and equal pay for women, and for access to our public lands.