Over the weekend, BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski noticed that Rand Paul doesn't just plagiarize descriptions of movies from Wikipedia entries. He also apparently cuts-and-pastes passages from think tank documents directly into his books:
An entire section of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2013 book Government Bullies was copied wholesale from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation, BuzzFeed has learned. The copied section, 1,318 words, is by far the most significant instance reported so far of Paul borrowing language from other published material.
The new cut-and-paste job follows reports by BuzzFeed, Politico, and MSNBC that Paul had plagiarized speeches either from Wikipedia or news reports...In this case, Paul included a link to the Heritage case study in the book’s footnotes, though he made no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from Heritage.
How's Paul handling all these charges? By passive-aggressively challenging his accusers to an imaginary duel:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fired back Sunday against accusations that he plagiarized portions of his speeches from Wikipedia articles, musing "if dueling were legal in Kentucky" he could "challenge" the charges.
Plagiarism in politics is a pretty serious deal. The whiff of plagiarism can linger on a candidate for years—reporters are people who take plagiarism very seriously—but it's not insurmountable. It just takes about twenty years or so for the stink to go away.