Carson's prepared testimony contained apparent plagiarism

Carson's prepared testimony contained apparent plagiarism
© Greg Nash

Remarks prepared for Dr. Ben Carson to deliver at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday appeared to include several portions of plagiarized text.

Carson, the former neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate who has been nominated to serve as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, did not actually deliver the remarks before the Senate Banking Committee. Instead, Carson quickly departed from the prepared text to discuss his life, background and political opinions.

But written testimony provided to the committee and made public had at least two instances where words were copied directly from outside works, with no reference or citation.

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An update to Carson’s remarks, which added citations and links to outside material in the text were later posted by the committee and will be entered into the official congressional record.

The transition team for President-Elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE said the omissions were made by accident.

The apparent plagiarism was first reported by The Washington Post, which noted that two paragraphs of Carson’s testimony appeared to be lifted word for word from a 2008 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation detailing health risks that can come with substandard housing.

“Deteriorating paint in older homes is the primary source of lead exposure for children, who ingest paint chips and inhale lead-contaminated dust. Between 1998 and 2000, a quarter of the nation’s housing—24 million homes—was estimated to have significant lead-based paint hazards,” read one portion of Carson’s prepared testimony, which is identical to the report’s language.

A review of Carson’s remarks by The Hill revealed a second instance of copied text without citation, this time from the Brookings Institution.

A section of Carson’s testimony detailing the connections between housing and health included a sentence lifted almost entirely from a 2016 report from the think tank.

Carson’s testimony read: “Substandard housing conditions such as pest infestation, the presence of lead paint, faulty plumbing, and overcrowding, which disproportionately affect low-income and minority families, lead to health problems such as asthma, lead poisoning, heart disease, and neurological disorders.”

The Brookings paper read: “Substandard housing conditions such as pest infestation, the presence of lead paint, faulty plumbing, and overcrowding disproportionately affect black families, and lead to health problems such as asthma, lead poisoning, heart disease, and neurological disorders.”

A spokesperson for President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition told the Post that the copied portions of the text should have included references and were left out in error.

“It was a written statement for the record — his oral testimony, as I am sure you’ve heard, is extemporaneous and planned that way,” said the spokeswoman. “The original written statement was sourced with hyperlinks and footnotes, but unfortunately that seems to have fallen off.”

Updated 2:25 p.m.