Brown camp accuses Egland campaign of plagiarizing Web site
In the age of the World Wide Web, where ethics about original content are being played out from Washington to main street to the classroom, there are those who remain watchers of the written word, even if they have their own agenda.
Case in point: A member of the Charlie Brown for Congress campaign said a Brown backer stumbled upon the Eric Egland for Congress Web page and alerted the Brown campaign committee about similar language used in the Brown and Egland campaign Web sites.
The Brown campaign has since called foul and has accused the Eric Egland for Congress campaign of plagiarizing from its Web site.
Brown is a Democrat running for California’s Fourth Congressional seat, which includes El Dorado County. He lost by three points to Congressman John Doolittle in last November’s election. Egland is a Republican and former Doolittle backer who will run against the veteran congressman in the Republican primary.
The Web page in question, since removed from the Egland for Congress committee, was under the header ‘Host a House Party’ in which the introduction section used the same direct verbiage, but instead of Brown’s name, Egland’s name was in its place.
Brown’s site says: “The ‘Charlie Brown Parties’ program is a fun and easy way to help generate resources for Charlie’s campaign, and introduce our next Congressman to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Here’s how it works:”
Egland’s site said: “The ‘Egland House Party’ program is a fun and easy way to help generate resources for Eric’s campaign, and introduce our next Congressman to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Here’s how it works:”
Brown campaign spokesman Todd Stenhouse told the Tahoe Daily Tribune that he was alerted to the similarities and looked at the Egland Web site himself. He said it struck him as odd since he remembers writing the exact words for the Brown site.
“This is a small thing compared to the big issues facing our nation. In the larger context of campaigning on ‘honesty and integrity,’ however, plagiarism flies in the face of the Honor Code practiced at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and would warrant expulsion,” Stenhouse said. “On issues like defending America, and exemplifying the honor and integrity that we should expect from our elected representatives, voters want leaders. And for over 30 years, Charlie Brown has led by example.”
Brown and Egland are both graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Brown is a retired Lt. Colonel who spent 26 years with the Air Force, according to the Brown Web site. Egland is a counter-terrorism consultant and military intelligence officer who has served around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Egland Web site.
Egland said he approves everything that goes on the Web site, but wasn’t aware of the duplication until contacted by the Tribune and he has since had the content removed and replaced with words that he himself wrote. Egland also said he would have the person responsible for the Web page contact Brown and apologize.
“It should be noted that house parties are an effective tool used by many campaigns. This was hardly an original idea to either of us,” Egland said. “Nonetheless it is now expressed in words that I wrote. I am flattered that Mr. Brown views me as more of a threat than his previous opponent.”
As far as the charge of plagiarism is concerned, Egland said: “It never occurred to me that someone else might have the same thing.”
Stenhouse said the verbiage for the Brown site was written months before Egland announced his candidacy.
Egland said he has hosted several parties since his Web site was launched “so the generic verbiage seemed perfectly normal, I thought. After it was brought to my attention, I immediately wrote new verbiage and had it changed and have asked the person responsible to apologize to Mr. Brown before the end of the day.”