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Hulsey: Jobs plan plagiarism more ‘Mary Burke Amateur Hour Campaign’

By   /   September 19, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

AP file photo

PILFERED PLAN: Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke lifted passages of her jobs plan from three other Democratic candidates for governor in other states, according to a story in BuzzFeed.

 

By M.D. Kittle |Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. — In this week’s Marquette Law School poll, 48 percent of respondents said Madison millionaire Mary Burke, the Democrat’s candidate for governor, has not been clear enough about what she would do if elected.

Now it turns out Burke’s signature jobs plan, the one area in which she seemed clear about her intentions, was lifted from others.

Buzzfeed, which has had its own PR black eyes with plagiarism, reported late Thursday that Burke’s plan, “Invest for Success” pilfers entire passages from the jobs plans laid out by Delaware Democratic Gov. Jack Markell in 2008, and Democratic gubernatorial candidates Ward Cammack of Tennessee in 2009 and John Gregg of Indiana in 2012.

A spokesman for the Burke campaign told BuzzFeed News an “expert” named Eric Schnurer, “who also worked on the other campaigns(,) as responsible for the similar text, a case of self-plagiarism.” Schnurer is founder and president of Philadelphia-based consulting firm Public Works.

Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Schnurer was let go as soon the camp was made aware of the BuzzFeed report.

Zepecki defended the swiping, telling the newspaper the sections represented “fewer than 10 paragraphs of a 49-page plan.”

Republicans blasted Burke on Friday following the revelations.

“It’s a sad day for Wisconsin when the Democratic nominee for Governor misleads voters by offering a plagiarized jobs plan, in which she has staked her entire candidacy,” said Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign manager Stephan Thompson in a statement. “Wisconsin deserves better, and its (sic) clear that Mary Burke cannot be trusted to lead our state.”

Joe Fadness, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, quipped that Burke needs a lesson in business ethics “because even eighth-graders know that you shouldn’t copy the work of others.”

“This devastating revelation makes more apparent than ever that the Mary Burke behind plagiarized jobs plans, endless resume changes, and constant flip-flopping on the issues just doesn’t fit our Wisconsin values.”

Burke’s campaign did not immediately return Wisconsin Reporter’s requests for comment.

As of 9:30 a.m. Friday, “Burke’s” jobs plan still was prominently featured on her campaign website.

Burke was getting no love from the man who ran against her in last month’s Democratic primary.

State Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, called the plagiarism revelations “the latest feature of the Mary Burke Amateur Hour Campaign.”

“As these stories come to light, Democrats are going to realized what I’ve said all along, that she’s not ready for primetime.”

Hulsey was soundly defeated by Burke, a Madison school board member, former state Commerce secretary under Gov. Jim Doyle and the anointed candidate of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin – with all of the party’s blessing and backing early on.

During the campaign, Hulsey rolled out a jobs plan based on research from University of Wisconsin-Madison, including his Clean Energy Jobs Plan that he says would invest $700 million to make school, local and state buildings more energy-efficient and create 11,000 jobs.

Hulsey said Burke’s jobs plan is based on failed candidates for governor in Indiana and Tennessee.

“I’m not pretending to be perfect, but at least I have a real jobs plan supported by people who know,” Hulsey said.

BuzzFeed cited several passages in Burke’s plan pulled nearly verbatim from the work of others, including:

Ward Cammack’s plan:

Expanding intern programs to provide help to small farmers and also give students direct agricultural education and experience.

And here’s Burke:

Expanding intern programs to provide help to small farmers and also give students direct agricultural education and experience.

Here’s Gregg:

At the same time, small-and medium-sized businesses have been hiring new employees at a faster rate than large companies since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.

And here’s Burke:

And in the short-term, small-and medium-sized businesses have been hiring new employees at a faster rate than large companies since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.

The latest Marquette poll shows a statistical dead heat in Wisconsin’s race for governor, although Walker has a 3 percentage point lead among likely voters.

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M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.