Congressional candidate and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio released a report (pdf) on Monday attacking 102 members of Congress, including the Democratic incumbent he is running against, for “double-dipping,” receiving a government pension while receiving a government salary.
He could have saved some time by simply directing interested folks to the National Journalstory that his staff plagiarized for its statistical content. It was lifted verbatim, typos and all, from a June 2013 story by Shane Goldmacher.
DeMaio sent an advanced copy of his handiwork to the Wall Street Journal, which noticed the similarity to Goldmacher's story and data and tipped off the reporter. Goldmacher was not amused, but by then DeMaio had scheduled an event in San Diego to induct his opponent, Scott Peters, and others into his “Hall of Shame.”
One of the few changes DeMaio made in his report was to insert Peters, who had not yet filed the Member Financial Interest Disclosure that Goldmacher used to write his story. The piece was based on a database that National Journal had put together based on the filings.
Another change was the apparent dropping of Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) from the list on the pretense that those receiving military pensions get a pass. McCain is the sole member of that club.
At first, a spokesman for DeMaio, Dave McCulloch, denied there had been any plagiarism. He said DeMaio had been working on the issue for years and simply expanded his own earlier material to incorporate new data. The double-dipping report, he said, was the first of its kind about the current Congress.
The denial barely survived a news cycle. Goldmacher put a top on his own story about what DeMaio had done that included an apology from the candidate for mistakes that were made—by his staff. But because he doesn't believe in throwing his staff “under the bus,” he took all the responsibility but, presumably, none of the blame.
DeMaio said he was “mortified.”
The report wrapped a rant by DeMaio about the evils of double-dipping around Goldmacher's data. It leads off with a blast at “The Mega-Rich Dipper Rep. Scott Peters,” who is taking a City of San Diego pension although he is the “6th wealthiest member of Congress.”
“A pension system is intended to support you at a time you are no longer working. When you are a member of Congress and already making a lavish salary, you should not be able to tap into both,” DeMaio wrote. He also thinks it unseemly for lawmakers to receive public pensions when so many pension funds are having financial problems.
DeMaio lost his last campaign for public office when now-disgraced Bob Filner defeated him in the 2012 race for mayor of San Diego. The Republican has been portrayed in friendly and ill-informed media as a moderate because he is openly gay. It is an image the marginalized GOP cherishes in a state where Democrats hold every statewide office and control both houses of the Legislature.
He is not a moderate. He is anti-labor, anti-immigration, fiscally conservative, opposed to women’s reproductive rights and, despite his sexual orientation, not embraced by the LGBT community. He is a Tea Party favorite.
And a plagiarist (or someone who employs an anonymous one).