Paul, DC newspaper end weekly op-ed

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will no longer pen weekly columns for The Washington Times after it was reported that he plagiarized a portion of one of his columns in September. 

The newspaper announced that it had mutually agreed with Paul to end the column. He had written a weekly column since the summer, according to the newspaper. 

“We expect our columnists to submit original work and to properly attribute material, and we appreciate that the senator and his staff have taken responsibility for an oversight in one column,” Times Editor John Solomon said in an article appearing in the Times on Tuesday night. 

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Nonetheless, Solomon said he looked forward to future contributions from Paul and other members of Congress. 

A string of plagiarism charges has come to light after MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow first found that a summary of the movie “Gattaca” Paul described in a speech resembled that movie’s Wikipedia entry. The Washington Times revelation from BuzzFeed prompted Paul’s staff on Tuesday to institute a policy to more closely vet all speeches and writings. 

The op-ed was written in September as Attorney General Eric Holder instructed U.S. attorneys to relax mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenders. A portion of Paul’s writing on Sept. 20 on the subject read similar to an article by Dan Stewart of The Week

In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, Paul admitted his staff has possibly taken on more than it can handle, and blamed some errors on his busy schedule. 

He said the op-ed did not go through the full vetting process before making it into the newspaper because portions of it had appeared earlier in one of his speeches. 

Paul’s office had partly blamed the citation errors on improper staff vetting, but he told CNN on Tuesday that responsibility is ultimately his. 

“Ultimately I am the boss and things go out under my name and so it is my fault,” he said. “But I would say that people need to also understand that I have never intentionally presented anyone’s ideas as my own.”