(Reuters) - U.S. Senator John Walsh of Montana may have lifted at least a quarter of his master’s thesis from works by other authors, the New York Times reported on Wednesday in an examination of the 14-page paper the Democrat submitted to obtain his degree in 2007.
The accusation comes as Walsh, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate in February to fill the Senate seat vacated by Max Baucus, is up for election in November to retain his seat while Democrats fight to maintain control of the U.S. Senate.
The New York Times report, in an examination of possible plagiarism published on the newspaper’s website on Wednesday, pointed to six recommendations made by Walsh in his United States Army War College master’s thesis titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy.”
The recommendations in the thesis are taken almost word-for-word from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document, which Walsh did not cite, the newspaper reported.
A Walsh campaign spokeswoman said on Wednesday the issues with the thesis were the result of a mistake by Walsh, an Iraq War veteran and former commander of the Montana National Guard.
“There were areas that should have been cited differently but it was completely unintentional,” Walsh campaign spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua said in a statement.
The newspaper also pointed to similarities between Walsh’s thesis and a 1998 essay by Sean M. Lynn-Jones, a scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard.
Walsh is campaigning against U.S. Representative Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, in the race for the contested U.S. Senate seat from the state.
Democratic Montana Governor Steve Bullock in February appointed Walsh, who at the time was the Montana lieutenant governor, to the U.S. Senate, giving Democrats what was seen as a slight boost in their attempt to retain a Senate seat in the vast, rural Western state that leans conservative.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh