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Joe Walsh Bill Theft? Tea Party Rep's Veteran Hall Renovation Proposal Mirrors Democrat's Bill

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U.S. Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois' 8th district speaks at the CPAC Chicago's Conservative Political Action Conference at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont , Il. on Friday, June 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Mark Welsh)
U.S. Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois' 8th district speaks at the CPAC Chicago's Conservative Political Action Conference at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont , Il. on Friday, June 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Mark Welsh)

Tea Party-backed U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is back in hot water after being accused of filing a bill practically identical to one previously introduced by a Democrat -- without consulting or crediting them.

In May, Walsh introduced the Renovate and Enhance Veterans’ Meeting Halls and Posts (REVAMP) Act, which would establish a grant program with the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides funding for the refurbishment of veterans' facilities such as VFW halls.

Walsh's bill was practically identical to a separate bill introduced to bipartisan support by U.S. Rep Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) two years ago.

Oliver Longwell, Bishop's communications director, described Walsh's move as "really unprecedented" in an interview with Politico.

"Perhaps it’s just a rookie mistake, but it’s a reflection of the total collapse of collegiality that has characterized the House since it came under the influence of the Tea Party, even on what should be the most bipartisan of issues: assisting our veterans," Longwell continued.

A spokesman for Walsh's office described their failure to loop Bishop in as a "misstep" that was not intended to be a diss, Politico reports.

Walsh is being challenged in Illinois' 8th congressional district by Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee Iraq War veteran and former director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. Walsh previously stirred up a national controversy when he criticized how frequently Duckworth discusses her military service.

Duckworth's campaign last month announced it had brought in almost $900,000 in the latest fundraising quarter, her strongest fundraising period to date.

The National Journal last month identified Walsh's district as the third most likely to change parties this fall, surpassed only by districts currently represented by retiring representatives.

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