Michael Bloomberg greets a dog on the campaign trail.
  • Former New York City mayor and 2020 candidate Michael Bloomberg appears to have copied content word-for-word from several non-profit groups and media outlets for use on his campaign plans.
  • The Intercept compared Bloomberg's campaign plans to the websites of several non-profit, educational, and policy groups and found at least eight instances of plagiarism from other source material.
  • A spokesperson for Bloomberg's 2020 campaign said internal drafts of the documents mentioned by The Intercept included footnotes, which did not appear in the web or emailed versions of the same information.
  • Other presidential candidates have been called out for plagiarism on campaign websites.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Michael Bloomberg's 2020 campaign appears to have plagiarised policy plans from several non-profit groups and other websites.

The plans were on the website and in fact sheets emailed to reporters. They have since been corrected.

The Intercept compared Bloomberg's campaign plans to the websites of several non-profit, educational, and policy groups and found that several sections on Bloomberg's 2020 pledges were lifted word-for-word from other source material.

The Intercept found at least eight instances where Bloomberg's campaign plans or accompanying fact sheets - including plans for maternal health, LGBTQ equality, the economy, tax policy, infrastructure, and mental health - were lifted in part from other sites. According to the outlet, these source materials included articles on CNN, Time, and CBS, the American Medical Association, and an infrastructure fund co-founded by Bloomberg.

In a statement to Business Insider, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg's 2020 campaign said internal drafts of the fact sheets mentioned by The Intercept included footnotes, which did not appear in the web or emailed versions of the information.

"The Intercept story is about several lines among hundreds of pages of background documents that provide context for reporters, not policy plans themselves," spokesperson Julie Wood said in a statement. "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. We have since added citations and links to these documents. For sourcing, we often look to the organisations that Mike has led or worked with in the past, like the City of New York and Building America's Future."

Bloomberg's campaign shared the following statement with The Intercept:

"Much of what you flagged were fact sheets that went out via MailChimp, which doesn't support footnote formatting. When we announce policy platforms, we put together detailed fact sheets with context and supporting background, so that reporters understand the problem we're trying to solve with our policy. For sourcing, we often look to the organisations that Mike has led or worked with in the past, like the City of New York and Building America's Future. We have since added citations and links to these documents."

Other presidential candidates have been called out for plagiarising campaign pledges.

In 1987, then-US senator Joe Biden withdrew his presidential bid after admitting to plagiarism and embellishing his academic record. In June 2019, Biden's campaign admitted to lifting phrases from non-profits for its climate and education plans.

According to Politico, material on the 2020 campaign websites of Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders were lifted directly from academic papers, think tanks, and policy institutes.

First Lady Melania Trump also faced backlash for her speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which broadly resembled several sections of Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention address.

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