Top Four Things To Know About John Walsh (D-MT)

Sen. John Walsh - 480x637

John Walsh is running for election as a U.S. Senator from Montana.

1. Walsh Plagiarized The Final Paper Of His Master’s Program At The U.S. Army War College

In July 2014, The New York Times revealed that Walsh had plagiarized at least a quarter of his final research paper for his master’s program at the U.S. Army War College. Walsh’s recommendations section in his paper was taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document. Significant portions of his paper also came from a 1998 article published by a scholar from Harvard, which Walsh did not footnote or cite anywhere in his paper. As The Times notes, both of those papers are easily accessible on the internet.

In responding to the evidence of his plagiarism, Walsh originally said he had done nothing intentional and did not believe he had committed plagiarism. However, his campaign eventually admitted that Walsh had in fact plagiarized. To explain it, Walsh suggested that PTSD and a fellow Iraq War veteran’s suicide, weeks before his paper was due, may have contributed to his carelessness. Walsh said he was being treated for PTSD at the time of the paper, although an aide told The Times that Walsh had never sought treatment for PTSD.

Walsh’s career benefited greatly from his master’s degree. A September 2008 military evaluation said Walsh’s prospects for the post of Adjutant General were “bolstered” in part by his master’s degree. It is hard to imagine Walsh would have ever been approached to run for Lieutenant Governor and then eventually the Senate had he not been Adjutant General.

2. Walsh Improperly Used His Position As Adjutant General In The Montana National Guard For His Own Personal Gain

In August 2010, the U.S. Army Inspector General issued a report, which found that Walsh had improperly used his position as Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard for his own private gain. The investigation into Walsh began after complaints surfaced that Walsh was coercing Guard members to join a private organization in which he was running for a leadership position. The report also found that Walsh was misusing government resources.

Walsh’s actions put him at odds with the Department of Defense’s ethics rules and regulations, which prohibit an employee from endorsing a non-federal entity and supporting, in one’s official capacity, fundraising and membership drives of non-federal organizations.

3. Walsh Is The Favorite Of Harry Reid, Barack Obama, And National Democrats

After former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination to the Senate in November 2013, national Democrats came running to Walsh’s aid. Harry Reid called Bohlinger the very next day in an attempt to get him to drop out of the race. Reid told Bohlinger, ” you’re a nice guy, but we’ve chosen Walsh.” The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also informed Bohlinger that they had already decided to support Walsh.

Walsh is also being supported by Montana Democratic leaders. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus have put on a fundraiser for Walsh in D.C., and encouraged Senate Democrats to help him.

4. Walsh Is The Only Adjutant General Of The Montana National Guard Who Has Not Been Promoted To A Federally Recognized Rank Of General Since The 1980s

In 2010, Walsh was reprimanded in a memo by the Army Vice Chief of Staff. The reprimand came after an Inspector General investigation, which found Walsh had improperly used his position for private gain. In the memo, General Peter W. Chiarelli stated that Walsh’s failure to adhere to Army values caused him to question Walsh’s ability to lead. Chiarelli went on to write that Walsh’s “actions were unacceptable, inconsistent with the conduct expected of our senior leaders.”

Walsh has admitted that the IG investigation, and subsequent reprimand from Chiarelli, blocked his promotion to the federally recognized rank of general. According to the Missoulian,since the late 1980s, all other Montana National Guard commanders have retired from the Guard as a major general or brigadier general, gaining federal promotion while head of the guard.