In the vetting process for Tea Party support, a questionnaire was given to anyone who wanted to participate in the process of picking a candidate to run against Lamar Alexander. The purpose? To compare orthodoxy and see if they passed the litmus test to get the all-important support and money from a coalition of Tea Party groups.
In the process of filling out the questionnaire, Joe Carr stole passages directly from stories and blog posts published by the Heritage Foundation.
Carr's defense? He was only copying and pasting because he believes it so much (right down to the word, apparently). He wasn't aware there were going to be standards of ethics applied to questions about what he believes. And besides, this was all supposed to be private.
His letter to the coalition after the jump ...
Dear Coalition Members,
Recently a member of the coalition levied a charge against me that some of my answers to the coalition's confidential and privately circulated questionnaire constituted instances of plagiarism.
This is unfortunate, since I provided my answers to the coalition for the purpose of articulating my world view, and was quite clear when I provided those answers that I reserved the right to amend my answers as conditions merit. My answers absolutely reflect my world view, and I stand by them.
In developing my answers in the fairly tight time frame the coalition requested to get a clear idea of my world view, I pulled from several sources.
It was my understanding that a questionnaire of this sort is not subject to the same standards of sourcing that apply to journalism as, say, would be proper for an article submitted to the Wall Street Journal. For that matter, a questionnaire is also not subject to the same sourcing standards as an academic paper submitted to a journal or to obtain a graduate degree.
I did not make the claim in my answers that the ideas and thoughts I shared were exclusively mine, or that they originated with me. I simply communicated that they accurately reflected my world view.
That said, it was not my intention to claim credit for either the thought or the words of others to express and idea contained in my answer. I do not regret using the appropriate words of others to express a similar thought.
If anyone incorrectly drew the conclusion that I was attempting to claim credit for the original work of others, they can be assured that they are mistaken in that conclusion. Any errors in my responses related to sources were unintentional.
As I told Eric when I gave him the questionnaire, I reserved the right to amend my answers, and am exercising that right now with regards to sources I used in developing my answers.