Burke Plagiarizes, Where is the Accountability?

Burke Plagiarizes, Where is the Accountability?

Mary Burke, the democratic challenger to Governor Walker, plagiarized many portions of her “Invest for Success” jobs plan. Buzzfeed reported Burke copied a significant amount of her jobs plans from three Democratic candidates for governor in different states and election cycles, a White House press release, and a Harvard Report. At least 15 passages from Mary Burke’s jobs plan match nearly word for word from different sources with no citation whatsoever.

The Mary Burke campaign is shifting blame to a consultant named Eric Schnurer. This consultant is not listed as an advisor, and he is not in Burke’s finance report. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that he has been fired. In an MSNBC article, the communications director for Burke’s campaign was quoted saying, Burke’s vision for the economy “is entirely her own and stand unquestioned by anyone.” In that same article Burke says it is a mischaracterization to label it as plagiarism.

Well, Mary Burke, Wisconsin students think differently. This IS plagiarism. Your plan is full of other people’s ideas and almost word for word copy and pasted. College students take academic honesty very seriously. If I copied other people’s ideas and submitted them as my own here at UW-Madison, I would likely be expelled. If one of the students in the Madison Metropolitan School District plagiarized, they would be facing major punishment as well. What kind of example are you showing these students?

This also begs the question, are you thinking of ideas and policies that will benefit Wisconsin? How can young voters make an educated decision when voting if Burke’s “ideas” aren’t her own? To claim you were unaware of the plagiarism in your economic plan by a member of your staff begs the question, were you even involved in arguably one of the most important factors in this election?

Understandably, Burke fired the consultant who plagiarized her jobs plan. Firing the consultant reinforces the notion that Burke knows wrong has been done. However, Burke should be the one held accountable. Wisconsin deserves an honest Governor full of integrity; someone citizens can trust. Simply firing the person who Burke thinks is at fault skirts the issue. Even worse, Burke says she will not apologize for plagiarizing portions of the job plan. Burke says she stands behind the ideas outlined in her plan.

Burke STANDS behind the plagiarized work.

Personally, it’s rather disappointing. Plagiarism is wrong, and there are dire consequences in every case. Why is this not the case for Mary Burke?

Mary Burke has betrayed our trust, and shown that integrity, honesty, and character can be pushed to the side while trying to win an election. Mary Burke is traveling the state, working toward becoming a future leader, yet advocating for policies copied from and created for other states. That’s not a leader I can settle for and not a leader Wisconsin should settle for either.