Exclusive: Despite ‘apology’ for serial plagiarism, Juan Mendez continued to plagiarize

PHOENIX — Only two months after admitting to serial plagiarism and pledging to stop, Democratic State Senator Juan Mendez continued to plagiarize from third-party sources on several occasions and attribute the language to himself.

In March 2018, this website first reported that Mendez had extensively plagiarized his answers to the 2016 candidate questionnaire provided to him while campaigning for the state senate. We also found that Mendez plagiarized a 2014 committee speech from a conspiracy theory website that called the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 innocent children died, a “hoax.”

Members of the Democratic Party — including Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs and representatives for the state party — largely abandoned Mendez after being approached for comment about his plagiarism, and the Democrat himself “did not respond to multiple messages left on his cellphone,” the Arizona Republic reported in a follow-up article.

Mendez eventually admitted to the plagiarism and claimed that he was simply “in a rush” at the time.

But this website revealed afterward that, contrary to Mendez’s claim, his plagiarism was not limited to those two instances. The Democrat had been serial plagiarizing for five full years (if not longer), including everything from floor speeches and committee testimony to online commentary and more.

We can now report exclusively that Mendez continued to copy-and-paste language from third-party sources, attributing it to himself — even after his apology and pledge not to do so.

In May 2018, Mendez spoke on the floor of the state legislature about why he supported Senate Bill 1525. The Democrat said that, “in the 46 years since the passage of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, maybe as a country we’ve made some progress” but stressed the need to protect our “shared resources.” Mendez also said that “minority, low-income, and indigenous communities” have “suffered disproportionate harm” from environmental problems.

If that sounds familiar, you might be thinking of the press release that U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s office sent out several months earlier.

Booker’s press release, quoting one of his colleagues, similarly states that, “in the forty years since the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act became law, the country has made great strides to protect our shared resources.” Like Mendez’s speech, Booker’s press release adds that “minority, low-income, and indigenous communities … suffer disproportionate harm” from environmental problems.

Mendez says that we “won’t be able to undo generations of environmental injustice without addressing the social and economic injustices,” while Booker’s press release — this time a quote attributed to himself — says that we “cannot have social justice or economic justice without environmental justice.”

Elsewhere in the speech, Mendez claims that various rules have led to “nearly absolute residential, employment, health care and educational segregated society.” This language is stolen from a 2005 academic paper about Phoenix, Arizona, that cites social rules having led to “near absolute residential, employment, health care, and educational segregation.”

Elsewhere in the speech — again, still from the same speech — Mendez says that some people have been “denied the privileges of … a clean environment” because of their race, which, he adds, has “forced our communities to live, instead, in less-desirable locations.”

That echoes a media advisory distributed by a liberal activist group in Rochester several months earlier. The media advisory says that some people “have been denied access to the privileges” of others, “forcing them to live instead in less desirable locations.”

While Mendez’s speech talks about areas “subjected to industrial noise, pollution, waste, and neglect” that “often result in health problems that are not typically seen by” others, the activist group’s advisory talks about areas “subject to industrial noise, pollution, and waste, often resulting in health problems not typically seen by those in other areas.”

Senate Bill 1520 is another example of the Democrat’s plagiarism from May 2018. Mendez spoke about the bill on the floor of the state legislature.

“The people served by Arizona’s human services and non-profits deserve to have an easy access to information about how to get help when facing a crisis or following a disaster,” Mendez said.

This portion of the speech was virtually identical to the Public Policy Agenda distributed the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits two years earlier: “The people served by Arizona’s nonprofits deserve to have easy access to information about how to get help when facing a crisis or following a disaster,” it read.

The only difference between the two is that the state senator added three words (“human services and”) at the beginning and a stray indefinite article (“an”) in the middle. Both also promised that the bill would help people “learn more about services to meet their basic human needs.” (Mendez deleted the word “more” in his speech, possibly an attempt to evade plagiarism detectors — a behavior he exhibited in the past.)

The Democrat plagiarized 2-1-1 Arizona, another nonprofit, in the same speech.

“Many people on our state services cycle in and out of our state safety net,” Mendez continued. “People with access to a whole spectrum of services, not just those that the state provides, are more likely to be successful and eventually self-sufficient.”

Likewise, the nonprofit’s website read in 2017: “Many people on state support cycle in and out of the state’s safety net. People with access to a whole spectrum of services, not just those that the state provides, are more likely to be become self-sufficient.”

Again, the state senator added the word “our”; replaced the phrase “state support cycle” with “state services cycle”; and subtly altered the last clause.

Another example of plagiarism that came months after Mendez’s ‘apology’ for plagiarizing? House Bill 2663.

“It’s about the more than $1 billion taken from our students and the fact that the budget still leaves out school support staff like school counselors, bus drivers, librarians, and many more who are vital to the success of our students,” the Democrat said about the budget bill.

But the words, attributed to himself, weren’t his own.

They were stolen from an Arizona Republic article published earlier that day. The quote was originally attributed to Joe Thomas, a local union boss, who claimed that the bill did not restore “more than $1 billion taken from our students and it leaves out school support staff like counselors, bus drivers, librarians, and many more who are vital to the success of our students.”

It is unknown how many other legislative speeches and public commentaries Mendez has continued to plagiarize despite his ‘apology’ in March 2018.

You can view the substantiating research at Arizona Democrats Exposed.

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Unearthed: In racist posts online, Juan Mendez celebrated “white flight” from public schools, compared Arizona to Jim Crow South

PHOENIX — State Senator Juan Mendez published racially charged posts on social forums in 2016, celebrating what he called “white flight” from public schools and deriding those Arizonans as “evil.”

Mendez, a Democrat, retweeted several Twitter posts this month calling on a colleague to resign for making other racially charged comments at a fundraiser about the number of white children in public schools. However, the Democrat made similar comments online celebrating “white flight from the public schools” just months before entering his position in the state legislature.

His comments, reported on for the first time today, were quietly published by the Democrat on the social forum website Reddit in 2016.

Responding to a user who asked what it was like in Arizona, Mendez wrote that the state is “pretty bad” and that living here “takes it’s [sic] toll” on him.

“People who supported Jim Crow laws of our racist past would be proud with how we’ve pretty much instituted and brought about the effects that they were hoping for,” Mendez wrote under his username.

The Democrat added that the only reason some areas were “not so bad” is “because of the economic segregation and the white flight from the public schools — the evil and ignorant people pretty much keep to themselves.”

In another forum post, Mendez again derided Arizona, saying that “if it wasn’t for this racist state and it’s [sic] backwards politics I would [sic] be as liberal as I am today.”

“I think everyone should come to AZ like people did with the South,” the Democrat added, another reference comparing his home state to the Jim Crow South.

Mendez faced significant scrutiny earlier this year after admitting that he had plagiarized a candidate questionnaire while running for office. However, his serial plagiarism went on for at least five years, something for which the state senator — who works as a co-instructor at Phoenix College — still has not provided an answer.

Mendez is running for re-election in November 2018. He is scheduled to debate his primary opponent, Debbie Manuel, on June 27.

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Exclusive: State Senator Juan Mendez’s plagiarism went on for 5 years

PHOENIX — For five full years, if not longer, Democratic State Senator Juan Mendez repeatedly plagiarized his floor speeches, committee speeches, and online commentary in his capacity as an elected official, Arizona Democrats Exposed can now reveal for the first time.

Last Tuesday, this website reported that Mendez, while serving as a state representative for Arizona’s 26th legislative district, plagiarized a significant portion of a candidate questionnaire in 2016 while campaigning for his current position in the state senate. The candidate copied and pasted blocks of text from already-published sources, ranging from Planned Parenthood to media outlets across the state, and claimed them as his own words.

This website then reported on Thursday that Mendez additionally plagiarized several paragraphs of a committee speech that he delivered in opposition to Arizona’s “right to try” health care legislation. The Democratic lawmaker, whose district includes the academic institutions of Tempe, told his colleagues that he had “consulted experts” before arriving at his ‘no’ vote.

In reality, he did not. His speech, along with the name of the “expert” whom he allegedly consulted, was derived in part from a conspiracy theory website — which once implied that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax — and in part from an Internet post published by a Wikipedia user named “WhatamIdoing” in 2008.

Today, Arizona Democrats Exposed can reveal exclusively that Mendez’s plagiarism did not start during that committee hearing in 2014, nor did it end with his candidate questionnaire in 2016.

According to transcripts and videos of several years’ worth of committee hearings and speeches on the floor of the Arizona state legislature, Mendez repeatedly plagiarized already-published sources — claiming them as his own before colleagues — from at least early 2014 through 2018, the current legislative session.

In February 2014, Mendez attended a hearing of the House Reform and Human Services Committee regarding House Bill 2234.

“I would hate for staff to take responsibility for my typos and bad grammar,” Mendez told members of the committee in his opening line. “These are my explanations.”

What followed was praise from the state representative about the Medicaid expansion signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer in 2013. He touted the “end to lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits” and said that it was “now illegal for health insurance companies to arbitrarily cancel your health insurance just because you get sick.”

Those words — along with others from his committee speech — were pulled without attribution from an archived page on the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website promoting the Affordable Care Act. The website highlighted that the law “ends lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits” and makes it “illegal for health insurance companies to arbitrarily cancel your health insurance just because you get sick.”

Mendez merely re-ordered the bullet points to give the speech the false appearance of originality.

That same month, this time on the House floor, Mendez spoke about his opposition to House Bill 2153.

“This bill allows individuals and businesses in our state to discriminate against people they do not agree with in the name of the religious freedom, resulting in increased vulnerabilities for non-believers, the LGBTQ community, and others on the targeted list of religionists,” Mendez said into the microphone.

A group called the Secular Coalition for Arizona published the same words — one year earlier. About a different bill.

The bill “expands the ability of individuals in our state to discriminate against people they don’t agree with in the name of religious belief–resulting in increased vulnerability for nonbelievers, the LGBT community, and others on the target list of religionists,” the website wrote in 2013.

Much like in the Democratic lawmaker’s candidate questionnaire and other speeches, Mendez subtly altered words and phrases, perhaps as a way of evading detection by plagiarism-checking services. In the example above, Mendez simply added the phrase “and businesses” after “individuals,” broke up the compound word “don’t” into “do not,” and turned the singular word “vulnerability” into the plural form.

About 180 words from this committee speech, in addition to the quotation above, were pulled nearly verbatim from the group’s website. Somewhere in the middle of those excerpts, Mendez added two sentences that do not appear on the website.

“This legislation will grant for-profit corporations with a powerful affirmative defense to not have to acknowledge any state law which the corporation deems religiously offensive,” the lawmaker said. “In an effort to allow economic power to dictate the free exercise of religion, Chik-fil-A and Hobby Lobby were just the most brazen before this law.”

However, while those two sentences don’t appear on the aforementioned website, they do appear in a letter written by the Anti-Defamation League weeks earlier. The letter criticized the legislation for providing companies “a powerful affirmative defense to the enforcement of any state law” (“enforcement,” compared to Mendez’s “acknowledgement”) and said that it could have the unintended consequence of “allowing economic power to dictate the free exercise of religion.”

Mendez merely tacked on his own commentary at the end of the sentence about Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby.

That same month, Mendez spoke at another committee hearing regarding House Bill 2367.

“Health care must be respected as a public good for all, financed publicly and equitably,” Mendez told members of the committee, adding that health care “must be accessible, available, acceptable, and of good quality for everyone on an equitable basis where and when needed.”

That, too, was published by a group called the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative in 2013, the year before this hearing took place. Mendez substituted “respected” in place of the group’s original word, “provided.” And not only did Mendez plagiarize the group’s website for his committee speech, he recycled the committee speech itself during the next legislative session, using it again — including the plagiarized portions — while reviewing a different bill one year later.

“Health care in Arizona must be respected as a public good for all, financed publicly and equitably,” Mendez repeated in 2015, adding that health care services “must be accessible, available, acceptable, and of good quality for everyone on an equitable basis where and when they need it, not just for five years.”

This time, Mendez made more minor alternations: He added the phrase “in Arizona” to the beginning of the sentence, changed “when needed” to “when they need it,” and tacked five words of his own commentary onto the end. The following 80 or so words also are recycled from that 2014 committee speech.

This wasn’t the only instance that Mendez plagiarized in 2015, either.

In March of that year, Mendez delivered a floor speech about Senate Bill 1047, which increased confidentiality protections for individuals who win the lottery.

“I will be supporting this bill, but I would like to come out and share with everybody that I believe lotteries are the single most insidious way that our state government raises money,” Mendez said on the Senate floor. “Many of the people who buy lottery tickets are not financially well-off, and the odds against winning a big jackpot are astronomically poor, far worse than the odds of a Vegas slot machine. All of this makes the get-rich-quick marketing by our government mean and offensive.”

Again, this text was plagiarized almost word-for-word from a column published by Joe Nocera, a writer at the New York Times, in 2012.

Nocera referred to “state governments,” while Mendez changed it to “our state government.” Nocera characterized the odds against winning the lottery as “astronomical,” while Mendez changed it “astronomically poor.” Nocera compared the odds to “an Atlantic City slot machine,” while Mendez changed it to “a Vegas slot machine.”

Mendez’s stolen paragraphs would not have been detected by most plagiarism-checking services because of his decision to intentionally manipulate portions of the text.

The behavior did not stop after the lawmaker plagiarized his candidate questionnaire in 2016.

In April 2017, as state legislators debated expanding school choice through Arizona’s empowerment scholarship account program, Mendez voiced his opposition to the legislation — ultimately signed by Governor Doug Ducey — on the Senate floor.

“ESAs allow students to re-arrange themselves within, across, and entirely outside districts in ways that courts would never have allowed a district to do so,” Mendez said.

An op-ed that appeared in the Arizona Daily Star two years earlier made a very similar criticism: Families are “re-arranging themselves within, across and entirely outside districts in ways that some government agency or the court never would have permitted of TUSD,” the original author wrote in August 2015.

In Mendez’s plagiarized version, the phrase “some government agency or the court” was condensed into “courts,” and the word “permitted” changed to “allowed.”

Other portions of his floor speech were stolen from a Web page published by the Children’s Action Alliance in 2016, an article written by reporters at the Arizona Republic, also in 2016, and an archived version of a blog post published on a website called Bringing Up Arizona in July 2015.

According to that July 2015 article, “When it comes to education, ‘white flight’ no longer requires a moving van.” Mendez echoed that: “[R]ight now with the ESAs it’s pretty easy see you don’t even need a moving van for our evolved version of white flight,” he quipped.

In his May 2017 floor speech regarding Senate Bill 1525, Mendez also appears to have copied an article published by the Arizona Sonora News Service in February 2016. That article was written by a student journalist who, at the time, attended the University of Arizona.

Mendez has worked as a substitute teacher on the side.

The plagiarism also was not contained to the state legislature. This website identified instances online in which Mendez plagiarized online commentary in his capacity as an elected official.

The state representative recycled his May 2014 committee speech — which itself was plagiarized from a conspiracy theory website, as detailed above — in a series of posts on Reddit. Mendez told users that he was “working off my phone without much at service” but managed again to plagiarize from the aforementioned website and Wikipedia, both published in 2008.

In his online answer, Mendez plagiarized from a third source.

“Most cancer patients are deemed ineligible for drug trials beyond phase I testing because drug corps are looking for the healthiest patients at the earliest point in their disease to give the highest probability of a positive outcome in order to fulfill regulatory requirements.”

This text appeared in a BBC News article published seven years earlier.

“He points out that most cancer patients are deemed ineligible for drug trials beyond phase I testing – these tend to enlist the healthiest patients at the earliest point in their disease to give the highest probability of a positive outcome to fulfil regulatory requirements,” the London-based news outlet wrote in September 2007.

Mendez copied-and-pasted portions of an additional Reddit post in October 2014 inviting users to a movie screening hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona at the office of Congressman Ruben Gallego. More than half of his post was plagiarized from two separate pages on the website of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

This pattern of repeated plagiarism, which has not been reported until now on Arizona Democrats Exposed, went on in at least five of the six years during which Mendez has served in the state legislature.

It is possible that more examples of plagiarism occurred throughout these years but have not yet been found.

“It only takes 300 Republican signatures to run against me in the general and nobody even tried anything this election,” Mendez bragged in one of those Reddit posts. “I don’t think there will be that big of a line to run against me in 2018.”

You can view the substantiating research at Arizona Democrats Exposed.

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Dems run from Juan Mendez, who quietly admits to plagiarism

PHOENIX — Democratic elected officials and campaign groups are keeping themselves at arm’s length from State Senator Juan Mendez this week after their colleague publicly admitted to plagiarism.

The admission came after two articles on this website revealed that the state senator had plagiarized a 2014 committee speech while in the Arizona House of Representatives and a 2016 candidate questionnaire while running for the Arizona Senate.

The Arizona Republic independently compared Mendez’s questionnaire answers and committee speech to the third-party sources. When the newspaper tried to contact him (repeatedly) for comment, Mendez refused to answer. Other Democrats did the same.

“Mendez did not respond to multiple messages left on his cellphone,” the Arizona Republic reported. “Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, who leads the chamber’s Democratic caucus, declined to comment on the accusations against Mendez. The state Democratic Party also declined to comment.”

Mendez eventually was pressured to respond, which he quietly did on Twitter — but not before putting a figurative asterisk on the apology by claiming that he was “in a rush” at the time.

“Anything I’ve said truly represents my viewpoints,” he wrote. “However, I will put forth a greater effort to put ideas I support into my own words. While I am often in a rush, that is no excuse to not properly cite my sources. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in due diligence & judgement.”

You can view substantiating research for the respective articles here and here.

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Exclusive: State Senator Juan Mendez plagiarized committee speech from conspiracy website that called Sandy Hook massacre a “hoax”

PHOENIX — State Senator Juan Mendez, while serving as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, plagiarized a committee speech explaining his opposition to “right to try” legislation in 2014, according to new research being shared by Arizona Democrats Exposed.

On Tuesday, this website revealed that the Democratic lawmaker had plagiarized large portions of a candidate questionnaire as he campaigned for his position in the state senate. Several answers submitted by Mendez were copied-and-pasted paragraphs of text from already-published sources but were presented by the lawmaker as his own words.

Those published sources included media outlets, a state agency in Arizona, Planned Parenthood, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision written by an associate justice, among others.

Upon further review, Arizona Democrats Exposed can now report for the first time that Mendez’s plagiarism was not exclusive to the candidate questionnaire in 2016; he also plagiarized at a committee hearing two years earlier during his time in the Arizona House of Representatives.

In 2014, state lawmakers considered “right to try” legislation that, if approved by voters, would allow eligible, terminally ill patients access to certain investigational medications.

Before it reached the ballot, though, House Concurrent Resolution 2005 made its way through the standard legislative process at the state capitol, including being considered by the appropriate standing committee. So, on February 13, 2014, HCR2005 was reviewed by lawmakers at a hearing of the House Reform and Human Services Committee.

One of the members of that committee — and one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation — was Juan Mendez.

About 50 minutes into the hearing, Mendez requested a chance to explain his vote. The state representative said that he would be voting ‘no’ and told his colleagues — elected members of the legislature — that he had “consulted experts who have issues with legislation like this.” He provided the name of someone he claimed to have consulted: Dr. Dean Gesme of the Minnesota Oncology Hematology Professional Association.

Gesme, Mendez told his colleagues, “has charged efforts like this bill as attempts to generate false hope in patients when the reality is that less than 10 percent of drugs beginning Phase I safety trials are eventually adopted as viable treatments. Among these, most provide only incremental benefits; very few are life-savers.”

There was one problem. The first 60-or-so words of Mendez’s testimony weren’t his own. They were plagiarized almost verbatim from a conspiracy theory website.

Whereas Mendez’s candidate questionnaire was plagiarized from a gun violence speech delivered by President Barack Obama months after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, his committee speech at the “right to try” hearing was plagiarized from a website that has called the shooting a “hoax” and implied that no one at the school really died that day.

Gesme, the conspiracy website wrote in 2008, had “charged that the rules will engender false hope in patients, when less than 10 percent of drugs beginning phase I safety trials are eventually adopted as viable treatments. Among these, most provide only incremental benefits; few are life-savers.”

Much like the plagiarized candidate questionnaire, Mendez subtly altered words and phrases in his committee speech — such replacing “engender” with “generate” and adding redundant language to the middle of the paragraph — in what may have been an attempt to evade detection by plagiarism-checking services.

In addition, the next full minute of Mendez’s committee speech is plagiarized — this time from a Wikipedia post that was published in 2008. Mendez criticizes the “right to try” proposal for providing “almost unfettered legal access to experimental drugs by terminally ill patients,” claiming that doing so would be “radically altering the conduct of clinical cancer research, as patients would then have little incentive to enter Phase II and Phase III clinical trials.”

Archived records show that, six years earlier, a user named “WhatamIdoing” added almost identical text to a Wikipedia page about another court case related to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

That Wikipedia page also refers to a lawsuit that would have provided “almost unfettered legal access to experimental drugs by terminally ill patients” and would have “radically altered the conduct of clinical cancer research” and affected patients who “would then have little incentive to enter Phase II and Phase III clinical trials.”

One of the only differences, perhaps, was Mendez’s decision to transpose certain clauses and change the verb tense of “altered” to “altering.”

During his speech, Mendez appears uncomfortable reading the plagiarized text and possibly confused by the difference between the words “efficacy” (effective) and “efficiency” (efficient). While the Wikipedia page he plagiarized refers to “the efficacy of new drugs,” Mendez pronounces the term as “efficiency” during his speech.

After claiming several sentences from the Wikipedia page as his own, Mendez transitions into a new paragraph — back, again, to plagiarizing from the conspiracy theory website.

“False hope for unapproved drugs can also erode the clinical trial system by substituting clinical enthusiasm and wishful thinking for evidence-based medicine,” Mendez told his colleagues, claiming words that were attributed to Gesme in the aforementioned website as his own.

In closing, Mendez said that he refused to “exploit the sympathy of voters” and urged members of the state legislature to reconsider their votes. Proposition 303 appeared on the ballot that November and received approval from 78.5 percent of Arizona voters.

You can view the substantiating research at Arizona Democrats Exposed.

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Exclusive: State Senator Juan Mendez plagiarized candidate questionnaire

PHOENIX — State Senator Juan Mendez plagiarized significant portions of a candidate questionnaire that he filled out while running for his current position in the state legislature’s upper chamber, according to new research being shared by Arizona Democrats Exposed.

Mendez, a Democrat, who was then serving as a state representative for Arizona’s 26th legislative district, submitted answers to a candidate questionnaire sent to him by the Arizona Republic in 2016. The questionnaire was intended to help residents across the state “vote with confidence,” as the newspaper’s editorial board wrote ahead of the election.

However, further review of Mendez’s submission has found that a significant portion of the document was plagiarized from other sources — ranging from President Obama to the Arizona Department of Water Resources and various media outlets — while being presented as his own words.

The plagiarism, which has not been previously reported, includes large blocks of text copied and pasted from third-party other sources, often stolen word-for-word and occasionally reorganized to give the appearance of originality.

For example, in response to a question about whether the state of Arizona should legalize marijuana, Mendez answered that the “war on drugs” had not been successful in ending “the popularity or use of cannabis.”

“Nor, after decades of common use, has cannabis been proved to be the evil weed of ‘Reefer Madness,’” he wrote. “We would all be better off had we dedicated our resources to education and treatment rather than, through prohibition, to empowering criminals and cartels, not to mention ruining our youth’s lives, systematically creating second class citizens with results that put Jim Crow Laws to shame.”

That paragraph was copied almost verbatim from a column published by Kathleen Parker, a writer at the Washington Post, two years earlier.

“Nor, after decades of common use, has it been proved to be the evil weed of ‘Reefer Madness,’” that Washington Post columnist wrote in 2014. “How much better to have dedicated our resources to education and treatment rather than, through prohibition, to empowering criminals and cartels, not to mention ruining young lives with ‘criminal’ records.”

The differences between the questionnaire submission and the column are negligible, with Mendez comparing the “war on drugs” to Jim Crow laws, something that Parker, the columnist, did not do.

This excerpt of Mendez’s submission represents a broader pattern of the state representative plagiarizing large blocks of text while injecting handfuls of his own words and phrases as commentary.

In another example, the questionnaire asked the candidate whether Arizona needs additional regulations on abortions.

Mendez criticized the state for “requiring new HVAC systems” and “the requiring of widening hallways,” calling the rules “not only entirely unnecessary but also a flatout obstruction to basic health care.”

His answer closely echoes an article that had been published in the Austin Chronicle, an alternative weekly newspaper in Texas, citing the same requirements and characterizing an ambulatory surgical center (ASC) rule as having been “deemed not only ‘entirely unnecessary’ but an impediment to basic health care.”

Similar to the Washington Post example above, the only significant difference between the questionnaire submission and the previously-published news article is Mendez’s decision to subtly replace the Austin Chronicle’s description of the rule (“an impediment”) with his own colorful description (“a flatout obstruction”) in the middle of the sentence.

It is unclear if Mendez added his own commentary in order to customize the plagiarized paragraph to his liking, or to manipulate the original material just enough that his decision to copy-and-paste would not be detected by plagiarism-checking services.

In the same answer to the question about his stance on abortion, Mendez criticized Republicans’ actions on the issue and wrote that “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits does not justify these undue burdens on a woman’s right to choose.”

That, too, was copied almost verbatim from a U.S. Supreme Court decision in which Associate Justice Stephen Breyer wrote: “. . . neither of these provisions confers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”

While Breyer wrote that the provisions do not “confer” benefits, Mendez wrote that the provisions do not “offer” them. The rest of the sentence is largely identical.

Mendez concluded his answer by saying that a “woman, not politicians, should make the informed decisions when it comes to her own pregnancy.” That text comes directly from the website of Planned Parenthood Action Fund — the political action committee affiliated with the eponymous women’s health organization — meaning Mendez plagiarized from three separate sources in response to a single question on the questionnaire.

Those examples are only two of the seven separate questions for which Mendez responded with plagiarized answers.

Regarding water policies in Arizona, the lawmaker stressed that “no single strategy can address projected water supply imbalances across the state,” adding that it’s important to “recognize the uniqueness of the regions throughout Arizona and their varying challenges.” This text was first published by the Arizona Department of Water Resources in 2014 as part of a “strategic vision” outlining the agency’s long-term sustainability plan. The strategic vision document refers to “the various regions throughout the State,” while Mendez’s answer removed the word “various” and replaced “the State” with “Arizona.”

The state representative’s answer on gun violence also was pulled from a speech that President Barack Obama delivered at the White House in April 2013. Here, Mendez took several quotations appearing in different spots during the president’s 13-minute Rose Garden speech and combined them to form one paragraph.

Similar portions of Mendez’s answers about empowerment scholarship accounts, income tax rates, and even his favorite place in Arizona were plagiarized from an Arizona Republic op-ed, an Arizona Capitol Times article, and the U.S. Forest Service, respectively.

Mendez was named the chair of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus for the 2016 legislative session and is running for reelection in 2018.

You can view the substantiating research at Arizona Democrats Exposed.

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