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Mass. candidate changes website after plagiarism allegations

Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., a Democrat who is running for Congress in Western Massachusetts, said Friday that he would make changes to his campaign website after a rival accused him of plagiarizing John Edwards and others.

Nuciforo, who is register of deeds for the Berkshire Middle District, rejected the accusations of plagiarism, but said he would be making changes to his website to ensure that he properly credits others.

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“Many of the ideas advanced by our campaign have been developed and advanced by likeminded Democrats over time and throughout the country,” Nuciforo said in a statement. “My staff and I did the best we could, in good faith, to reference our sources. And we’ve provided more than 100 sources for our material, from our 8-point blueprint through our Social Security proposals. If and where we failed to do so in our materials, we will provide the appropriate citations immediately.”

Patrick J. Tool, a Nuciforo spokesman, declined to indicate what had been changed, but said, “the changes were ­minor.”

“It was basically just a citation issue,” Tool said.

Nuciforo, a former state senator from Pittsfield, is one of two candidates challenging US Representative Richard E. Neal of Springfield in the Democratic primary next month. There is no Republican running for the seat.

The third Democrat in the race — Bill Shein, a writer who lives in Alford, near Great ­Barrington — leveled the ­plagiarism charge against ­Nuciforo Thursday.

He cited multiple passages from Nuciforo’s website that he said closely resembled statements from other Democrats, including Edwards, the former presidential candidate, and ­Alan Khazei, who ran for Senate in 2009 and again last year.

One passage addressed ­issues affecting seniors.

In a 2008 policy paper, ­Edwards wrote: “Our long-term care system is poorly equipped to give inde­pendence to older Americans and forces many families to juggle elder care, child care, and their jobs or spend themselves into poverty to pay for nursing homes. Edwards will reform Medicaid and Medicare to let people to choose home-based care in their communities and test ­innovations such as asset- and income-protection programs.”

In a policy paper that had been on his website, Nuciforo wrote: “Our long-term care system is poorly equipped to give independence to older Americans and forces many families to juggle elder care, child care, and their jobs — or pay for ­expensive nursing homes. ­Nuciforo supports Medicaid and Medicare reform to let people choose home-based care in their communities and test innovations such as asset and income protection programs.”

On Friday, that paper had been removed from Nuciforo’s website.

Asked about the changes Nuciforo was making, Shein said, “We’ll have to wait and see.”

“I believe candidates should advance ideas using their own words and, if they use the words of others, properly credit them,” Shein said.

He said he stood by a statement he issued Thursday that said Nuciforo’s “massive ­plagiarism represents an ongoing fraud against the people of the First Congressional ­District.”

Michael Levenson
can be reached at
mlevenson@globe.com
. Follow
him on Twitter @mlevenson.
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