Biden responds to claims his campaign plagiarized passages from environmental groups

Former Vice President Joe Biden met with Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden met with Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff/Globe staff

Former vice president Joe Biden responded Wednesday to claims that his campaign plagiarized passages from environmental groups in a document describing his $1.7 trillion climate change plan.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told reporters during a stop in Boston to meet with Mayor Marty Walsh on the city’s climate change initiatives that his campaign made “a mistake.”

“Look, they made a mistake, they corrected it, they acknowledged it,” Biden said.

Biden referred reporters to a statement from a campaign spokesperson on Tuesday night that said the issue arose from citations that were “inadvertently left out of the final version of the 22 page document.”


A Biden spokesperson told Politico that the issue was fixed “as soon as we were made aware of it.”

The similar passages were first flagged by a progressive activist on Twitter Tuesday. A Daily Caller report found additional examples of similar language between Biden’s plan and outside sources in a story published Tuesday afternoon.

The example cited by the activist, Josh Nelson, dealt with the issue of “carbon capture,” a process by which carbon emissions are stopped from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

Biden has dealt with accusations of plagiarism before. His 1988 presidential run was marred by accusations that he lifted campaign speech passages from a British politician and that he had plagiarized five pages of a 1965 Fordham Law Review article as a student in law school.

Asked for his thoughts on the plagiarism issue Wednesday, Walsh downplayed the issue but acknoweldged more diligence was needed.

“Obviously you have to proof read that, at that level. I’ve never run for office at that level, but you have to be super careful in what you put in documents, and you have to be sure, and staff has to be careful,” Walsh said.


Biden’s $1.7 trillion climate change plan proposes powering the US entirely with clean energy and transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.