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U.S. News

Senator Walsh of Montana stripped of degree for plagiarism

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh speaks to reporters shortly after Gov. Steve Bullock (L) announced he is nominating Walsh to fill the Senate seat vacated by Montana Senator Max Baucus, in Helena, Montana February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Dan Boyce

(Reuters) - The U.S. Army War College has revoked the master’s degree of U.S. Senator John Walsh of Montana, the result of a plagiarism scandal that prompted him in August to abandon his election bid, both Walsh and the college said on Friday.

“The board found that then-Colonel John Walsh did commit the offense of plagiarism and thus his master’s degree and status as a graduate of the U.S. Army War College should be revoked,” said Carol Kerr, a spokeswoman for the college, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Walsh, a Democrat, had been appointed to the Senate by Montana Governor Steve Bullock after U.S. Senator Max Baucus was named ambassador to China.

“Though I disagree with the findings made by the War College, I accept its decision,” Walsh said in a statement. “I apologize to all Montanans for the plagiarism in my 2007 paper and I am prepared to live with the consequences.”

The New York Times first reported in July that about a quarter of the material in Walsh’s 14-page thesis paper may have been lifted from other academic works.

Walsh is an Iraq War veteran and former commander of the Montana National Guard.

One-term state representative Amanda Curtis, the new Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat, is trailing some 20 percentage points behind Republican U.S. Representative Steve Daines in recent polls.

Reporting by Jeffrey B. Roth in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.; Writing by Scott Malone

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