The National Journal on Monday accused Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio of appearing to plagiarize one of its investigative reports, submitting it to The Wall Street Journal under his own name and then touting it to as a ground-breaking "expose" to local reporters.
Although the vast majority of DeMaio's report apparently came from a National Journal investigation conducted nearly a year ago, the magazine -- which specializes in legal and political reporting -- was not credited anywhere as the source of the material.
Shane Goldmacher, the National Journal's chief Congressional correspondent, said the report appears to be "little more than a copied-and-pasted version" of charts from a lengthy story that he wrote last June, detailing how more than 100 Congressmembers take public pensions while in offices -- chiefly from former jobs in state and local government.
When Goldmacher's chart was reposted on The Wall Street Journal's online pubic resources site Monday, it was touted as "a report by Carl DeMaio" providing "the first report on double-dipping" – or working while receiving a pension – covering the current Congress.
David McCollough, DeMaio's public spokesman, defended the report, saying it was based on publicly available databases just like the National Journal. But Goldmacher said it appeared to be a direct copy, using the magazine's distinctive color schemes as well as unique punctuation and abbreviations. Both reports, for instance, mistakenly use equal signs several times in the exact same locations, even though they correctly use dashes in other areas.
The only sustentative changes that DeMaio apparently made to the list were to delete a reference to Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., because his $70,000 pension comes from the military, and to add his opponent, Rep. Scott Peters, D.-San Diego, who did not appear in the National Journal list last June because he had filed an extension for his financial report.
DeMaio's report singled out three legislators as belonging to the "Hall of Shame" for double-dipping: Rep. Joyce Beatty, D.-Ohio, who appears in fourth place on the list; Rep. John Garamendi, D.-Davis, in eighth place; and Peters, in 65th place with a $20,298 from his days on the San Diego City Council.
"Despite the fact that the City of San Diego’s Pension System is billions in debt, Peters took his pension early -- and has received over $100,000 since he turned 50," DeMaio said.
But Peters has long said he has not kept a penny of his pension but instead donates all of the money to local libraries. As long ago as his last campaign in 2012, he accused incumbent Brian Bilbray of "playing fast and loose with the truth," since he knew the facts but continued to criticize him over it.
By press time, the DeMaio campaign did not say whether it knew of Peters' donation practices.