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Bloomberg campaign plagiarized passages of its policy literature, report finds

Documentation copied material from news outlets and other groups, according to the Intercept, but the campaign has since added citations

Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign lifted portions of its policy literature from news outlets, not-for-profit organizations and policy groups, in some cases copying passages verbatim without attribution, according to the Intercept.

At least eight plans or fact sheets put out by the Bloomberg campaign copied material from news outlets including CNN, Time, and CBS, and organizations including the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the American Medical Association.

In a statement to the Guardian, the Bloomberg campaign described the literature that contained plagiarized passages as “several lines among hundreds of pages of background documents that provide context for reporters, not policy plans themselves”.

“Internal drafts of these fact sheets included footnotes, which should have, but didn’t, appear on the web versions or what was emailed to reporters,” according to the campaign, which has since updated the materials to include citations.

Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and billionaire businessman, is connected to some of the organizations from which his campaign pulled information. He co-founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group, and Building America’s Future Educational Fund, a not-for-profit focused on infrastructure investment.

In some cases, the Intercept pointed out his campaign appears to have cobbled together passages from several sources. His plan for green infrastructure, for example, pulled verbatim from Recode, Curbed New York and Governing magazine, as well as Building America’s Future and other sources.

After the Intercept approached the campaign, the entire fact sheet on “Smarter Faster Safer Greener: A Plan To Bring America’s Infrastructure Into the 21st Century” was taken down, and later reposted with citations.

This week, the Democratic National Committee changed debate qualification rules, removing a barrier that had barred Bloomberg’s self-financed campaign from participating in the Nevada debate on 19 February.

Bloomberg did not seek to compete in Iowa or New Hampshire, the first primary contests of the election. Still, he has surged to fourth place in the national polling average. He has earned the endorsements of several mayors across the country and several House Democrats.

  • This article was updated on 7 February 2020 to add comment from the Bloomberg campaign.

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