Double-dipping and plagiarism on the campaign trail News added by Benefits Pro on May 14, 2014

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By Nick Thornton

Carl DeMaio, a Republican House candidate hoping to represent California’s San Diego area, is learning quickly about the perils of throwing political elbows.

DeMaio made a name for himself leading pension reform as a member of San Diego’s city council. According to his campaign’s website, DeMaio “authored and led the coalition to pass the landmark pension reform initiative that ends pension spiking abuses, caps pensionable payouts, and closes the city’s troubled pension system and gives new hires 401(k)-style retirement accounts instead.”

DeMaio is hoping to illuminate the pension issue at the federal level. Monday, his campaign issued a report detailing, by name, the number of congressmen in Washington drawing public pensions along with their annual salaries of $174,000. Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., the incumbent DeMaio hopes to unseat, made the list.

Titled “Congressional Pension Double-Dippers Club,” the report names 32 Republicans, 68 Democrats and two independents in Congress currently drawing public pensions.

DeMaio’s opponent is called “an egregious example of double dipping” who has drawn about $100,000 in pension payments since he turned 50.

The DeMaio campaign issued a press release characterizing the paper as “the first report on double dipping covering the current Congress.”

The problem is, it isn’t. The National Journal wrote a cover story last June detailing the extent of double-dipping in Congress. In a story published Monday on its website, it charged that DeMaio’s report “looks like little more than a copied-and-pasted version” from the National Journal’s database and that DeMaio “appears to be plagiarizing” to attack his opponent.

The National Journal published DeMaio’s reaction to the plagiarism claim late Monday, in which he said he was “mortified” and “terribly sorry.” He claimed to not know the extent to which his report mirrored that of the National Journal’s, and took full responsibility for the error in judgment.

Peters, meanwhile, continues to draw his pension and congressional salary, though he reportedly donates all of those pension dollars to San Diego libraries.

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