DES MOINES, Iowa – On Monday, the New York Times pointed out that a recent op/ed about holding China accountable submitted by State Rep. Ashely Hinson, R-Marion, was plagiarized in part.

“The 642-word piece included 91 words, across three separate passages, that were identical to a March 11 New York Times story by Ana Swanson about the Trump administration’s efforts to encourage pharmaceutical companies to manufacture more of their products in the United States,” they wrote in Monday’s 2020 election guide

Her op/ed did not give Swanson credit nor included a link to the original article.

Caffeinated Thoughts published that particular op/ed and has since deleted it from our website. 

The New York Times also pointed to additional plagiarism. “Ms. Hinson’s website also borrowed exact passages from the Des Moines Register and from The Hill, an outlet that covers Washington; in op-eds, she has taken phrases from CNBC; and her platform on veterans issues uses near-identical language to Ms. Finkenauer, her Democratic opponent, among other instances,” they wrote.

Hinson tweeted on Monday, “I was unaware of the plagiarism when I reviewed drafts presented to me by staff. As a journalist I take this extremely seriously and am deeply sorry for the mistake. The staff responsible will be held accountable.”

“We’re currently doing a full audit to determine where we are. As a process, a consulting firm would come up with the background after Ashley gave direction on the policy and where she wanted to go, then making edits and go from there. One of the folks at the consulting firm plagiarized on multiple occasions,” Jimmy Peacock, Hinson’s campaign manager, told Caffeinated Thoughts

He said they had been fired. 

Hinson on Wednesday released a statement addressing the plagiarism:

“I spent more than a decade on the air building the trust of viewers. I strive to hold myself to a high level of integrity and the plagiarism that was brought to my attention from the New York Times reporting is unacceptable to me and to Iowans. I immediately took action when the mistakes were brought to my attention. I sincerely apologize and take full responsibility. 

“As a former journalist, it is my responsibility to perform the proper due diligence to ensure that what I release is original and is attributed properly. To be transparent, an employee of the consulting firm I used to help with background and some writing took word for word several informational statements from others and included it in many of the pieces that I later approved and published. I have ended my working relationship with that company. What happened was wrong and violated your trust.

“Let me be clear: the values and issue positions that were put out under my name are 100% my views. These are the views that I share with a majority of the voters here in eastern Iowa, and in that I do not waiver. We will be working to ensure that this never happens again.

“Congresswoman Finkenauer has copied and pasted Speaker Pelosi’s agenda, and that is not Iowa common sense. She has praised the Green New Deal, which would devastate Iowa agriculture. She supports raising taxes on Iowa families and small businesses, and Abby casts her vote with Nancy Pelosi 91% of the time.

“I value honesty and I know Iowans do too. There are too many politicians covering things up and not being honest with people– it’s what’s wrong with Washington. I’m running to change that so we can do better as a country. I will work every day from now until November showing voters that the leaders they send to Washington must uphold personal responsibility, and work transparently and honestly. I will take these core values and serve as a strong voice for Iowans in Congress.”

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