Republican U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby’s campaign seems to have scrubbed parts of her campaign website and said blamed a former staffer after Buzzfeed reported that policy pages on the website appeared to have been plagiarized.
Buzzfeed recently reported that the health plan on the website for Wehby’s campaign seemed to have been plagiarized from a survey on healthcare reform conducted by Karl Rove’s Crossroads USA. Wehby, a physician, has repeatedly highlighted her medical experience to argue that it gives her a strong understanding of health care reform and Obamacare.
Separately, Buzzfeed reported that an economic plan released by the Wehby campaign seemed to have been “heavily plagiarized from multiple sources” including a section that word-for-word came from a plan produced by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
On Tuesday Wehby spokesman Dean Petrone told Buzzfeed the charges were “absurd.” But The Huffington Post pointed out that the Wehby campaign also appeared to have removed the plagiarized content in response to the report.
On Wednesday evening Wehby’s campaign released a statement saying that the staffers who wrote the content in question were no longer part of the team.
“These website pages were authored by staff who are no longer employed by the campaign and were immediately removed once brought to our attention,” Petrone said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “Dr. Wehby will continue to fight against [Democratic Sen.] Jeff Merkley’s attempts to distract voters from his failure to help middle and working class Oregon families.”
The Oregonian said the campaign was blaming a former staffer. The spotlight, according to the newspaper, had been placed on Wehby’s former campaign manager, Charlie Pearce. Pearce told the newspaper he did not write the policy or economic plans that were allegedly plagiarized.
“I did not author the health care policy or economic policy plans,” Pearce told The Oregonian in an interview.
The TPM Polltracker gives Merkley a 19 point lead over Wehby.
Correction: This post has been updated to show that the campaign blamed a former staffer for the alleged plagiarism but did not say it had fired someone over it.