Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke stumbled to squash additional charges of plagiarism today on the campaign trail.
Burke, who is running against incumbent Republican Scott Walker, was accused of plagiarizing her jobs plan and other policy initiatives last week. Buzzfeed charged she lifted full passages and comprehensive ideas from other Democratic candidates’ jobs plans. On Wednesday Buzzfeed identified three more cases of plagiarism in Burke’s jobs report, though these new violations were less severe.
Today on the campaign trail Burke deflected the allegations noting her jobs plan includes "the best ideas" and "the best practices," regardless of who wrote them.
"I don’t care where they’re coming from," Burke said. "I’ll be clear about this. As governor, I am going to welcome ideas from other places — the best ideas, the best practices."
When asked to define the term "plagiarism," Burke said, "This, this probably, using words, exact words, from a source that doesn't, that isn't cited and isn't attributable."
Burke explained she "cut ties" with a Philadelphia-based consultant who was responsible for drafting the plagiarized parts of the plan. She also said she edited the plagiarized passages to reflect proper attribution.
"Where cites are appropriate, they have been made," said Burke campaign spokesperson Joe Zepecki.
While Burke assured supporters her campaign values ethical practices, the Walker camp and other Republicans are capitalizing on the "cut and paste" allegations.
"I’m so tired of having to respond to Mary Burke’s plagiarism problems that I’m just going to copy and paste my earlier comment: ‘Mary Burke needs a lesson in business ethics because even 8th graders know that you shouldn't copy the work of others,'" said Joe Fadness, the executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party.
A recent poll by Pulse Opinion Research shows Walker is leading Burke by two points.