Joe Carr accused of plagiarism in questionnaire

In an effort to rally behind a challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tea Party activists in Tennessee have held a series of forums designed to pick that opponent. So-called "constitutional conservatives" reasoned that their best bet at picking off Alexander is to support a single person.

In August, State Rep. Joe Carr began actively soliciting Tea Party endorsements as he switched from a 4th District congressional race against Jim Tracy and Scott DesJarlais to a senate campaign against Alexander. His entry gave Alexander a potential opponent with a high profile in state GOP circles as well as someone popular among conservative activists.

But in at least four instances, Carr (pictured) appears to have plagiarized answers on a questionnaire sent to prospective Tea Party candidates, in some cases cutting and pasting directly from material published by the Heritage Foundation. An email from Tea Party activist James Gann began circulating Wednesday morning to members of the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate and BEAT LAMAR that detailed similar passages.

In an email to coalition members (read the full message here), Carr said it didn't matter.

"In developing my answers in the fairly tight time frame the coalition requested to get a clear idea of my world view, I pulled from several sources," Carr wrote. "I did not make the claim in my answers that the ideas and thoughts I shared were exclusively mine, or that they originated with me. I simply communicated that they accurately reflected my world view."

Michael Patrick Leahy of BEAT LAMAR declined to characterize the plagiarism charges leveled against Carr.

"It's not an issue I'm involved in. The issues you are referencing should be addressed directly with the candidate," Leahy said.

 
Below are the sections in question, with exactly worded passages in bold.

Question 11. What criteria would you use to decide whether to vote for, against, or actively try to block a presidential appointment to the federal judiciary?

From Carr's questionnaire:

….The purpose of dividing the act of nomination from that of appointment also refutes the permissibility of any statutory restriction on the individuals the President may nominate. The principal concern of the Framers regarding the Appointments Clause, as in many of the other separation of powers provisions of the Constitution, was to ensure accountability while avoiding tyranny….

From a Heritage Foundation essay by Prof. John O. McGinnis:

The purpose of dividing the act of nomination from that of appointment also refutes the permissibility of any statutory restriction on the individuals the President may nominate. The principal concern of the Framers regarding the Appointments Clause, as in many of the other separation of powers provisions of the Constitution, was to ensure accountability while avoiding tyranny.

 
Question 18.c


From Carr's questionnaire:

One major example of the abuses of the FCC can be seen back in 2011 when the FCC passed and enacted a policy known as “net neutrality,” an unfortunately vague code word for government regulation of the Internet. The FCC didn’t even have the legal authority to enact these regulations. Like any other federal agency, the FCC can only issue regulations if Congress delegates the power to do so. Though the FCC has the power to regulate telecommunications, it hasn’t been granted the power to regulate the Internet. In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC’s attempt to regulate the Internet was outside the scope of its authority, yet the FCC went ahead and issued new regulations anyways.”

From a Heritage Foundation blog post by Mike Brownfield:

The policy the FCC is trying to enact is known as “net neutrality,” an unfortunately vague code word for government regulation of the Internet.

The need for regulation of the Internet aside, the FCC doesn’t even have the legal authority to enact these regulations. Like any federal agency, the FCC can only issue regulations if Congress delegates it the power to do so. Though the FCC has the power to regulate telecommunications, it hasn’t been granted the power to regulate the Internet. Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC’s attempt to regulate the Internet was outside the scope of its authority.  That didn’t stop the FCC, though. It went ahead and issued new regulations anyhow.

 
Question 24. What is your understanding of Agenda 21? How do you believe it has affected or will affect the United States?

From Carr's questionnaire:

Agenda 21 that was adopted during a 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development and calls on governments to intervene and regulate nearly every potential impact that human activity could have on the environment. Because Agenda 21 is non-binding it will depend on local and state governments for implementation. It undermines quality of life, personal choice, and property rights.

The special interest environmental groups working to impose Agenda 21 will impose land regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements, curtail freedom of choice in housing, discriminate against lower-income Americans, and compel people to pay more for their houses and give up their cars in favor of subways, trolleys, buses, and bicycles as we have seen recently within the cities often described as “New Urbanism,” “sustainable development,” or “open land preservation.”

From a Heritage Foundation report by Wendell Cox, Ronald Utt and Brett Schaefer:

Agenda 21, a voluntary plan adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, unabashedly calls on governments to intervene and regulate nearly every potential impact that human activity could have on the environment. However, Agenda 21 is non-binding; it depends on governments for implementation. If opponents focus excessively on Agenda 21, it is much more likely that homegrown smart-growth policies that undermine the quality of life, personal choice, and property rights in American communities will be implemented by local, state, and federal authorities at the behest of environmental groups and other vested interests. Preventing American implementation of Agenda 21 should therefore be viewed as only one part of a broader effort to convince U.S. government officials to repeal destructive smart-growth programs and prevent the enactment of new ones.

Radical environmentalists, local business groups, and the ever-present Not in My Backyard crowd have been trying for decades to reshape American communities to conform to their preferred “smart growth” policies. These advocates work to impose land use regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements, curtail freedom of choice in housing, discriminate against lower-income Americans, and compel people to pay more for their houses and give up their cars in favor of subways, trolleys, buses, and bicycles.

These efforts—often described as “New Urbanism,” “sustainable development,” or “open land preservation”—have long been resisted by some members of the community due to their negative impact on economic growth, competitiveness, and the nation’s standard of living.

 
Question 34. What do you believe should be the foreign policy objectives of the United States as they relate to the following entities: a. Afghanistan.

From Carr's questionnaire:

It is essential that we focus on reducing terrorist threats to U.S. national security. We have been combating terrorism in Afghanistan to keep it from reverting to a safe haven for terrorists like those who struck on September 11, 2001.  Unfortunately with regard to Afghanistan the United States has moved from dealing with a terrorist nation to nation building which seldom if ever works. It should be noted that in the 12 years we have been at war with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, two thirds of the casualties the U.S. have occurred since Barak Obama became President.

From a Heritage Foundation blog post by Mike Brownfield:

The United States is combating terrorism in Afghanistan to keep it from reverting to a safe haven for terrorists like those who struck on September 11, 2001.