Tea Party Thief: Rand Paul Uses Plagiarized Content Against Obama

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Rand Paul, a well-known Tea Party member and Republican senator from Kentucky, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against President Barack Obama and heads of government agencies connected with the National Security Agency’s publicized bulk collection program, seeking to have it declared unconstitutional. While not the sole lawsuit being filed on the issue, it is one of the more pulbic ones. This made what came next — his second plagiarization scandal in as many years — that much more unfortunate for the senator.

Paul’s lawyer, Ken Cuccinelli, worked with Bruce Fein, an ex-Reagan administration lawyer, in writing up the suit. Now, both Fein and his spokeswoman — a role filled by his ex-wife — are insisting that not only has Fein not been fully paid for his work but that the suit — filed under Cuccinelli’s name — has stolen credit for his work without giving proper recognition for his work and writing.

“I am aghast and shocked by Ken Cuccinelli’s behavior and his absolute knowledge that this entire complaint was the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein. Ken Cuccinelli stole the suit,” said Mattie Fein, Fein’s spokeswoman, to the Washington Post. She also pointed out that Paul has “already had one plagiarism issue,” and “now has a lawyer who just takes another lawyer’s work product.”

Dana Milbank, an opinion writer for thePost, listed multiple examples of Fein’s filed suit compared to the original version written by Cuccinelli. For example, Cuccinelli’s version says: ”Since the MATP was publicly disclosed, public opinion polls showed widespread opposition to the dragnet collection, storage, retention, and search of telephone metadata collected on every domestic or international phone call made or received by citizens or permanent resident aliens in the United States.”

Fein’s version reads: “When the MATP was disclosed by Edward Snowden, public opinion polls showed widespread opposition to the dragnet collection, storage, retention, and search of telephone metadata collected on every domestic or international phone call made or received by citizens or permanent resident aliens in the United States.” The other example given followed a similar train, with only the beginning of the sentence showing slight rearrangement. Cuccinelli wrote to Fein in an email that “our clients don’t want the lawyers to become the story,” according to the Washington Post.

As for the lawsuit itself, many are behind a public examination of the legality of the program, unsatisfied with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s opaque consideration of the issue. “Today we ask the question for every phone user in America: can a single warrant allow the government to collect all your records, all the time?” said Paul on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. “I don’t think so.”

The Obama administration, for its part, is standing by the legality of the program, despite having made its own efforts toward curtailing the surveillance of the NSA in recent months. According to the Times, a 1979 Supreme Court case decision held that “metadata,” meaning information about call history but not content of the calls themselves, are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. “We remain confident that the program is legal, as at least 15 judges have previously found,” said Peter Carr, a Department of Justice spokesman, according to the New York Times.

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