Colorado Republican Scott McInnis is running for governor, and it turns out he plagiarized some stuff one time. And then people saw that and found some more stuff he plagiarized. So the story is that some oppo research people went and bought themselves a De-Luxe Plagiarism Detector Machine, and now voters will not elect this man, except for the fact that voters do not care about academic honesty probably.
Plagiarism is probably one of the most misunderstood elements of scholarship. While everyone recognizes the evil of copying the work of another word for word, the consensus readily dissolves when discussions turn towards less egregious forms of “borrowing.” One particularly problematic method of paperwriting that many students have used is what is sometimes called “cut and paste.” Writers who “cut and paste” take (cut) small chunks of material from several sources and assemble (paste) them into another document that does not acknowledge the original authors.
The real reason this initial plagiarism charge is funny, though, is how boring it is and how much money was paid for this plagiarism. The Hasan Family Foundation gave this guy money after he retired from Congress because he used to be in Congress, of course. The report in question was about water conservation issues. There are probably few new ideas about that, and nobody cares about it since it is boring, and this group probably only just now realized he wrote this plagiarized report because they never read it.