HELENA – Sen. John Walsh’s two opponents in the Democratic primary in June were critical Friday of Walsh’s plagiarism of a paper written at the U.S. Army War College.
The New York Times reported this week that Walsh plagiarized large portions of his final research paper for completion of a master’s degree from the college in 2007.
“It’s unfortunate,” said former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger of Helena. “I’m troubled by it. The people of Montana have placed their faith in John. I think that the discovery of plagiarism is going to damage his chances of winning the November contest. It brings into question one’s integrity.”
Bohlinger said he feels sorry for Walsh and also for the people of Montana, but added: “I think it’s terribly important that we maintain a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.”
Bohlinger said he doesn’t believe Walsh will resign from the Senate. He said he didn’t know how seriously the people of Montana would take Walsh’s plagiarism.
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Dirk Adams, a rancher from Wilsall, had a different take.
“Montana voters first need to hear Democrats speak plainly and honestly about John Walsh’s plagiarism,” Adams said. “John’s plagiarism is intellectual theft; it is dishonest. John should be ashamed and genuinely apologetic.
“As for Democratic senators who rushed to his defense, instead of speaking the truth, they hurt John. Maybe if John had heard the truth from his colleagues, he would have handled it properly when the issue was first raised.”
Adams concluded: “Notwithstanding all of that, John Walsh won the Democratic primary significantly and fairly. The voters have spoken, and I hope the Montana Democratic Party will respect their decision. I know I intend to do so.”
Walsh received 64 percent of the votes in the June Democratic primary for the Senate, while Bohlinger had 23 percent and Adams 13 percent.