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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen


10.02.2006

 

Policy re-statements

Martha Rainville has fired staff member Chris Stewart for plagiarizing material for her policy statements from other candidates.

"I’m just incredibly disappointed," Rainville said.

The plagiarized statements were uncovered by a Westminster woman who said she was researching the race between Republican Rainville and Democrat Peter Welch. She said she saw reference to one policy’s similarities with a White House statement and became curious about others. By Googling phrases she soon found several more examples of work copied from a variety of politicians.

Rainville’s energy policy, for instance, used the same phrase as U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton used in a speech. A Rainville statement about putting the federal budget online carried the same phrasing, with a grammatical error intact, as Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat.

Rainville’s campaign has taken its Web site down and is rewriting the policy statements, Rainville said. The thrust of those statements won’t change, she said, but the exact wording will.

She said she is investigating whether any other staff members took statements from elsewhere or knew that Stewart had.

We'll have more in Tuesday's Free Press.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Comments:
Forgive my naivety, but isn't a candidate for Congress supposed to write their own policy positions? Or at least have a pow-wow with staff who will write out what she says?

This incident shows that Rainville not only plagiarized, but tasked a staffer with developing her public policy positions. If I were opening my life and views to the world, my positions would be something I'd be 100% sure reflected my views.
 
Martha Rainville doesn't have her own policy positions beyond the clean campaign pledge - she thinks that workers can't keep their health insurance when they change jobs. Of course she had to steal them!
 
No, actually a candidate would lay out the substantive policy in discussions with staff, and a staffer would then be tasked with drafting language consistent with that. The candidate certainly wouldn't spend her time researching researching the precise phrasing to ensure it wasn't taken from somewhere else.

In truth, Rainville acted promptly and authoritatively as soon as she learned about this, as she should have. Expecting anything more, under the circumstances, is just more political posturing.
 
She lacks integrity.

Her staff lacks integrity.

She got caught.

She blamed it on a low level staffer.

No wonder she's lagging in the polls.
 
BarreBoy brings up good questions to ask Rainville at her next press event. Did she lay out a rough policy outline to staffers? Did she task it to Chris Stewart (or someone upstream from him) to put it into writing? How has Welch approached the same matter (or are his positions plagiarized too)? Why the difference between Welch and Rainville on such a cornerstone matter?

Let's see if BFP seeks answers for the inquiring public.
 
I'm was considering voting for Rainville way back in the beginning of the campaign season. But she ahs let me down. I do believe that the Democrats would be better with control of the House. I do believe that Republicans should stay in control of the Senate. The White House is up for grabs as far as I am concerned. Rainville has lost my vote completely. Barreboy is correct in stating that allowing for her staffers to write positions for her, to form her positions, means that she is a Republican candidate, and will go by what the Republican Party says.

Welch, I wish you luck. Don't let me down like Sanders did.
 
"This incident shows that Rainville not only plagiarized, but tasked a staffer with developing her public policy positions."

Both statements are obviously untrue.

Ever signed an affidavit? If so, did you write it? Ever wonder why nearly all politicians have a completely different voice when they speak off the cuff than they do when they read speeches? Hmmmm
 
Ever signed an affidavit? If so, did you write it?

I didn't write it, but I sure as hell did read it before I put my name on it.
 
"I sure as hell did read it before I put my name on it."

Of course you did. Did you google every phrase to make sure it didn't come from somewhere else? Of course not. Starting to understand why this isn't the big deal you hoped it would be?
 
She's a hollow shell. We knew this before the plagiarism scandal.
 
Shouldn't her Web site - as of right now - say something other than "under construction"?

How about, "under re-construction"?
 
How does it happen that the individual involved, Chris Stewart is a paid member of Rich Tarrant's staff? Does he work for both campaigns? Did he leave Tarrant's staff? There might be more to this story.
 
"There might be more to this story."

No, it was just a serious lapse of judgement by her staff. It just points to the absurdity of MR's belief that some how she is the ethical standard-bearer that will fix a broken Republican-led congress.

The plagiarism thing is somewhat minor at the end of the day. It's this ridiculous war (and whatever it is we seem to be doing in Afghanistan) that should be on the front page of the Free Press, say nothing of WCAX.

What a sad world.
 
"Did you google every phrase to make sure it didn't come from somewhere else?"

I made sure that the document was not plagarized.

It wasn't hard.
 
Chris Stewart was actually FIRED from the Tarrant campaign.
 
"I made sure that the document was not plagarized."

Really? How did you do that exactly - and why would you care if an affidavit was "plagiarized?" Language is recycled between affidavits all the time.
 
Anonymous said:

"Chris Stewart was actually FIRED from the Tarrant campaign."

So, how did Martha Rainville end up hiring him? Didn't she check references with her buddy Rich?

There is something more to this story.
 
would you care if an affidavit was "plagiarized?"

A) Because plagarism is WRONG.

B) We aren't talking about an affadavit. This is far more serious.

This isn't brain science. This is wrong.

The Republicans have lost all sense of personal responsibility. (see the Folly / Hastart scandal for more prof of that.)
 
This back and forth between partisan Rainville and partisan Welch supporters gets a little tiresome. Can't anyone on either side EVER admit that a particular event that has occured could possibly be beneficial to the other side? As a strong democrat myself, I can at least acknowledge the long uphill battle that Parker and Dunne have ahead of them (although they are making gains, it seems) I also can say as much as I passionately back certain candidates, like Bernie, I also admit they have their faults too (enough bones thrown to the gun lobby, Bernie!)
With that said, although this plagiarizing "incident' involving Martha is obviously not something she would have personally condoned, I would think even her ardent supporters-while not the end of the world or even her campaign- would at least admit it shows a tad bit of unawareness with your own campaign. When a website exists titled "martharainville.com", and your name is Martha Rainville, wouldn't you think you would know info is on that site, and where it came from? She had to see those policy statements and know they weren't her words, and perhaps wonder how they came about? She already has admitted, several times, to not knowing that the RNC had pledged money and ads for her, and now we find she's unaware of her web site statements. Hmmmm. She's probably a very nice, and maybe even very smart woman, who seems in over her head on this campaign. She should have started with a lower office, maybe. Anyway, for her supporters to try and claim that this really means nothing, is disingenious to say the least. If Peter had done this, you'd be all over it. In a close race, even just a few turned off voters can matter.
 
"We aren't talking about an affadavit. This is far more serious."

...and the person wholly responsible for it has been fired, end of story. Claiming that that Rainville was directly involved in this (not to mention idiotic attempts to link her with "Hastart" and "Folly") just make you, and Welch supporters in general by association, look ridiculous.
 
Rainville knew EXACTLY where the language came from -- from the staffer whom she had tasked with wordsmithing the policy language to be used on the website. Unless you are saying a proper organization operates on the assumption that no one can be trusted to do their job properly (wouldn't that be a fun place to work??), it was completely appropriate for Rainville to delegate this task to a staffer and assume that plagiarism was not occurring. When she found out it was, she acted quick;ly and forthrightly. I honestly don't see the big issue here.
 
Rainville should not be held to account for her staff or their actions.

It isn't like she pays them and oversees their work.

This is someone else's fault.

The buck stops someplace else.
 
How exactly would you have her "held to account"? The issue is getting full media play, she has to respond to the issue (and has), and she has acted promptly and decisively. Do you advocate tar and feathering, perhaps? Twenty lashes in the town square?
 
Well, just as I said Boy -- she shouldn't be held to account for the actions of her staff.

She doesn't oversee their work.

I agree with you.

It's someone else's fault.
 
Huh?! Clever, like your pseudonym.
 
Seriously, it takes a mountain of integrity to say that someone else did something wrong.

(BTW -- that's my real name.)
 
Apparently, Chris Stewart was fired by the Tarrant campaign. Didn't Martha check references before she hired him? It would be a simple matter for Martha (or her campaign manager) to call her friend Rich Tarrant or Tim Lennon to get a reference.

Martha should have checked a reference to find out that Chris Stewart had been fired once before. She blew it.
 
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