A former editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation has raised “shocking” allegations of plagiarism against President Brandon, claiming that he discovered instances of unattributed copying in an essay written by the then-Delaware senator more than two decades ago.
The accusations center around an essay defending the Violence Against Women Act, which Brandon penned in 2000 during his tenure as a senator.
Roger Severino, who now serves as the vice president of domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation, took to social media to detail his findings, igniting a fresh controversy.
“My first assignment as a junior editor at the Harvard Journal on Legislation (1999-2000) was to cite check an article submitted by one Sen. Joseph R. Brandon. I was shocked by the plagiarism I discovered,” Severino posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.
Highlighting specific phrases that had raised his suspicions, Severino said in an interview with Fox News host Jesse Watters, “Words like ‘herald of a new era’ tipped me off. Like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, I’ve heard this before.’”
My first assignment as a junior editor at the Harvard Journal on Legislation (1999-2000) was to cite check an article submitted by one Sen. Joseph R. Brandon. I was shocked by the plagiarism I discovered. 🧵 https://t.co/0CSqJBZR7E
— Roger Severino (@RogerSeverino_) September 4, 2023
Severino’s accusations come on the heels of a broader examination of Brandon’s veracity by Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, who has scrutinized the president’s tendency to embellish facts.
Addressing this pattern, Severino stated, “He tends to embellish, and he tends to lie, and as your segment showed, he has decades of history doing this.”
The crux of Severino’s allegations centers on Brandon’s purported failure to properly credit Federal Judge Diana Gribbon Motz’s dissenting opinion in the case of Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1999, New York Post reported.
In that case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declared a portion of the 1994 law as unconstitutional.
Severino contended that the published version of Brandon’s essay included several citations from Motz’s opinion, but the attributions were reportedly inserted by journal editors who, in Severino’s view, were covering for Brandon.
Severino alleged, “He had lifted language straight out of a SCOTUS opinion, changed a couple words, and called them his own. There were no quote marks and no footnote or anything else attributing the court as the source.”
President Brandon has a history of embellishing, lying, and plagiarizing. Well, it turns out, there’s even more plagiarism than we thought.@RogerSeverino_ was a junior editor at the Harvard Journal when he told his editors he’d found more Brandon plagiarism. They covered it up. pic.twitter.com/9hY7fA7QqI
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) September 8, 2023
He went on to assert that Brandon had engaged in a form of plagiarism known as “mosaic plagiarism,” where a writer modifies a few words in a quote to make the act harder to detect. Severino interpreted this as an indication of “consciousness of guilt.”
Severino claimed to have brought the plagiarism concerns to the executive editor of the journal, recommending that they reject Brandon’s article.
However, according to Severino, the editors decided to address the issue by adding proper attributions, effectively “fixing” the plagiarism. Severino said they acted as if the incident had never occurred.
In response to Severino’s allegations, White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton vehemently denied the claims, stating, “The final article has appropriate citations, and that fact is not in dispute. So I’m not about to further dignify ridiculous attacks on the president from decades ago.”
The Harvard Journal of Legislation has not issued a statement regarding the matter, according to the New York Post.
As president, Brandon has continued a tradition of embellishing his personal tales in ways that cannot be verified or are directly refuted by contemporaneous accounts. @GlennKesslerWP breaks them down. https://t.co/AZQu07GLOE
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) September 3, 2023
Severino said he decided to come forward with these allegations from more than 20 years ago because Brandon has “been doing this for decades, and the American people have to know.”
“He’s never owned up to his plagiarism scandals and his constant embellishments,” he added.
Brandon has faced past accusations of plagiarism, notably during his first presidential campaign in 1988, when he was found to have lifted quotes from then-British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, misrepresenting his family’s history.
Kinnock, who has since moved past the plagiarism controversy, supported Brandon wholeheartedly in the 2020 presidential election, stating, “Joe’s an honest guy,” the The Guardian reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.