Wisconsin sheriff and outspoken Donald Trump supporter David Clark reportedly plagiarized parts of his college master’s thesis on U.S. security, according to evidence uncovered by CNN.
The sheriff used nearly identical language from sources without properly attributing passages 47 times in his thesis on security, CNN’s investigative KFile reported Saturday.
The controversial Milwaukee lawman, who labeled the Black Lives Matter movement a hate group, announced this week that he was joining the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an assistant secretary.
Clarke earned a master’s degree in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, in 2013. His thesis was titled, “Making U.S. Security and Privacy Rights Compatible.”
CNN listed sections of Clarke’s thesis alongside source material with virtually verbatim language that was not set off by quotes, as required by school guidelines. The sections were, however, footnoted, CNN reported.
Clarke reportedly used language from sources including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Pew Research Center, the 9/11 Commission, the Government Accountability Office, as well as sections from a textbook, a Washington Post article and George W. Bush’s book “Decision Points.”
A spokesman for the Naval Postgraduate School told CNN that “standard procedure” when a plagiarism accusation is made is to launch an investigation.
“In this particular case, we would be unable to determine any violation until the full investigation is complete,” the spokesman said in a statement to the network.
Clarke’s thesis was not available on the school’s website Saturday night.
Clarke has dismissed the story on Twitter saying that CNN’s ”MO” — method of operation — is to “accuse plagiarism. I’m next.” He also called reporter Andrew Kaczynski a “sleaze bag.”
Clarke is one of Trump’s most inflammatory backers. He said last year that Americans should take up “pitchforks and torches” to protest a “rigged” election system that seemed at the time to be going against Trump.
Clarke is under fire over four deaths in his Milwaukee County Jail. Earlier this month, jurors recommended felony charges against seven employees at the jail where a man died of dehydration after guards caged him without water for a week.
The Trump administration has a bad history of plagiarism accusations. In January, conservative commentator Monica Crowley backed out of a job as the National Security Council’s communications director after another CNN report. The network reported that dozens of passages in her 2012 book, “What the (Bleep) Just Happened,” were lifted from other sources without credit. Publisher HarperCollins later pulled the book.
Melania Trump was hit with plagiarism accusations last year when her address at the Republican National Convention included two paragraphs almost identical to language in a previous speech by Michelle Obama. The First Lady’s speechwriter took the blame for lifting the lines.