Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did not plagiarize portions of his lawsuit against the National Security Agency, according to the lawyer he was accused of copying without attribution.
“I was working on a legal team, and have been paid for my work,” Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration lawyer, said in an email forwarded to TheBlaze by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
The plagiarism accusation came from a Washington Post columnist who this week claimed that Paul and Cuccinelli failed to credit or compensate Fein for his role in drafting the NSA complaint.
A “draft of the complaint written by Fein has long passages that are nearly identical to those in the complaint Cuccinelli filed Wednesday,” the Washington Post noted. “Except for some cuts and minor wording changes, they are clearly the same documents.”
Cuccinelli, who is the lead attorney in Paul’s suit, plans to push back on the story.
“I’m talking to [the Washington Post's] legal department right now,” he said in a phone interview with TheBlaze.
Liberal-leaning media outlets, including Talking Points Memo, MSNBC and Salon, were quick to pick up the story and characterize the situation as one where Paul directly plagiarized Fein.
But here’s the thing: The Post report was based on claims made by Mattie Lolavar, Fein’s ex-wife.
“I am aghast and shocked by Ken Cuccinelli’s behavior and his absolute knowledge that this entire complaint was the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein,” Lolavar, who also serves as Fein’s spokeswoman, told the Post.
“Ken Cuccinelli stole the suit,” she said, adding that the Kentucky senator, who “already has one plagiarism issue, now has a lawyer who just takes another lawyer’s work product.”
Fein maintains that the accusations against Cuccinelli, and the subsequent insinuations against Paul, are bogus.
“Mattie Lolavar was not speaking for me,” Fein said in the email forwarded to TheBlaze. “Her quotes were her own and did not represent my views.”
A spokesman for Paul’s political action committee, RANDPAC, told TheBlaze “the senator won’t be commenting on a false story.”
As of this writing, the Washington Post columnist responsible for the plagiarism story has yet to respond to Fein’s comments on the report.
The Kentucky senator has in the past come under fire for allegedly lifting passages without attribution in his book “Government Bullies.” He has also been accused of plagiarizing passages in several op-eds.
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This post has been updated.