Carl DeMaio Apologizes for Lifted Pension Report

After plagiarizing a National Journal investigative project to make a case against his opponent, the California Republican says he’s “mortified.”

UNITED STATES - JULY 18: Candidate Carl DeMaio, R-Calif., is interviewed in CQ Roll Call offices. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
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Shane Goldmacher
May 12, 2014, 8:24 a.m.

[UP­DATE: Carl De­Maio called late Monday to say he was “mor­ti­fied” by the situ­ation and that Na­tion­al Journ­al should have been cred­ited as the ori­gin­al source of his re­port on con­gres­sion­al pen­sions. “I’m ter­ribly sorry,” he said.

De­Maio said his staff had pro­duced the pen­sions re­port at his dir­ec­tion but he did not know the full ex­tent to which its con­tents had been lif­ted from Na­tion­al Journ­al un­til Monday morn­ing. Still, he took full re­spons­ib­il­ity. “I don’t throw my staff un­der the bus,” he said.

He said he still hoped to change the sys­tem of mem­bers of Con­gress re­ceiv­ing pub­lic pen­sions, cit­ing past suc­cess at the loc­al level when “we’ve been able to shame” un­will­ing politi­cians in­to such re­forms.

The ori­gin­al story ap­pears be­low.]

Re­pub­lic­an con­gres­sion­al can­did­ate Carl De­Maio is at­tack­ing his op­pon­ent for pen­sion double-dip­ping but he ap­pears to be pla­gi­ar­iz­ing Na­tion­al Journ­al to do it.

De­Maio has claimed to have au­thored a “re­port” find­ing that 102 mem­bers of Con­gress are draw­ing a gov­ern­ment pen­sion atop their con­gres­sion­al salar­ies. He leaked an ad­vanced copy to The Wall Street Journ­al on Monday and is fol­low­ing up with an event in San Diego this morn­ing to in­duct some law­makers, most not­ably his op­pon­ent, Rep. Scott Peters, D-Cal­if., in­to a “Hall of Shame.”

But his “re­port” looks like little more than a copied-and-pas­ted ver­sion of a Na­tion­al Journ­al data­base that ac­com­pan­ied a cov­er story last June on con­gres­sion­al double-dip­ping. Na­tion­al Journ­al re­viewed the fin­an­cial dis­clos­ure forms of every mem­ber of the House and Sen­ate to cre­ate the data­base and re­veal that nearly one in five mem­bers of Con­gress are col­lect­ing tax­pay­er-fun­ded re­tire­ments atop their $174,000 salar­ies.

The data in De­Maio’s ver­sion, which is touted as a “Re­port by Carl De­Maio” on its first page, matches the Na­tion­al Journ­al data­base, down to the text, col­ors, and ab­bre­vi­ations.

Among the few dif­fer­ences, De­Maio put a “$” and com­mas in the field de­tail­ing the amount of law­makers’ pub­lic pen­sions.

Also, Peters did not ap­pear in the ori­gin­al Na­tion­al Journ­al data­base be­cause he filed an ex­ten­sion on his fin­an­cial dis­clos­ure form in 2013. He ap­pears to have been in­ser­ted in­to De­Maio’s copied list, which can be seen be­cause the col­ors of law­makers’ entries vary with each per­son, with the ex­cep­tion of Peters.

“De­Maio Re­veal­ing 102 Mem­bers of Con­gress Get Paid Twice,” his cam­paign ad­vert­ised in a press re­lease on Monday, pre­view­ing the event at his cam­paign of­fice and link­ing to The Wall Street Journ­al piece.

De­Maio spokes­man Dave Mc­Cul­loch de­fen­ded the re­port, ar­guing that De­Maio had been “tar­get­ing state and loc­al politi­cians” for pen­sions since 2004.

“As Carl takes his pen­sion-re­form ef­forts na­tion­al, the cam­paign ex­pan­ded his list to in­clude mem­bers of Con­gress, us­ing pub­licly avail­able data in­clud­ing Mem­ber Fin­an­cial In­terest Dis­clos­ures and the pre­vi­ous re­port­ing done by Na­tion­al Journ­al,” Mc­Cul­loch said.

He claimed the cam­paign doc­u­ment is “the first re­port on Double Dip­ping cov­er­ing the cur­rent Con­gress,” though no new fin­an­cial dis­clos­ures have been re­leased since the Na­tion­al Journ­al data­base was pub­lished last June, ex­cept for law­makers who filed ex­ten­sions.

Mean­while, Peters’ of­fice told The Wall Street Journ­al that the con­gress­man donates his pen­sion to loc­al lib­rar­ies.

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