Wehby accused of plagiarizing health plan again

AP News
Posted: Oct 03, 2014 7:22 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two weeks after she took down part of her website to scrub it of plagiarized material, Oregon Senate candidate Monica Wehby is in hot water again after a news organization discovered Friday that the website still contains sentences taken from others.

BuzzFeed reported that the health care section of Wehby's website included phrases from the website of her former rival in the Republican primary, state Rep. Jason Conger. BuzzFeed had previously reported that Wehby's original health care proposals were taken from a poll conducted by a super PAC led by Republican strategist Karl Rove, and that her economic policy included passages cribbed from Republican candidates in Ohio and California.

Wehby, a doctor, has run on her expertise on health care as she tries to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley. The revelation that her health proposals are not original has been damaging.

Wehby used sentences from Conger's health care plan in an oped that was published under her byline in the Eugene Register-Guard on July 31. Much of the language from the oped appeared days later in the health care section of her website, according to Internet archives.

Wehby removed the entire issues section of her website Sept. 17 after BuzzFeed's original plagiarism reports and only recently put it back online. Some phrases were changed, but several sentences still closely matched phrases from Conger's website as of Friday afternoon.

"The campaign has already addressed this issue and taken the necessary steps to correct it," Wehby spokesman Dean Petrone said in an emailed statement. "Dr. Wehby stands by the concepts and principles that are shared by a majority of Americans who recognize the need for reform of our broken health care system."

Wehby has maintained that she's expressing common Republican suggestions for fixing the health care system.

The persistent plagiarism stories have played into the hands of Merkley, who has tried hard to tie Wehby to the national Republican Party in a state dominated by Democrats.

"You would think a self-described health policy expert would bring something new to the table," Merkley spokeswoman Lindsey O'Brien said in a statement.