Facing accusations that he plagiarized many of his campaign positions statements, congressional hopeful Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. has removed much of the content in question from his website.
Nuciforo initially dismissed the accusations as "desperate politics" on Thursday after his opponent Bill Shein pointed out the similarities between Nuciforo's statements and those of other Democrats.
Nuciforo has since said he takes "full responsibility for the oversight."
In some cases, Nuciforo's stated positions appeared to have been copied verbatim from former presidential candidate John Edwards. Likewise, Nuciforo had presented a values statement that closely mirrored former U.S. Senate candidate Alan Khazei, as well as the words of Stacey Lawson, a Democratic congressional candidate in California.
Nuciforo is running against Shein and incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, in a three-way Democratic Primary on Sept. 6. In the absence of any Republican or third party candidates, the primary will likely decide who will represent the new 1st District.
On Friday, the day after Nuciforo brushed off the allegations in a statement to New England Newspapers, Nuci foro's spokesman, Patrick Tool, blamed a past staffer for the alleged plagiarism.
"There is a pretty big team that worked on the website, so it's hard to say exactly who put each of the sections online," Tool told The Springfield Republican.
That staffer, however, told the paper he only pointed the campaign toward other candidates' position papers. He told The Republican he didn't expect Nuciforo's team to copy and paste the items.
The Republican, in a story published online Friday afternoon, quoted two Democratic strategists who criticized Nuciforo for not personally taking responsibility for the content on his website, www.nuciforo.com.
After that article was published, Nuciforo responded with a statement that his campaign was taking "full responsibility for the oversight as a campaign and has made changes to the website to reflect that."
By Friday evening, Nuci foro's website was virtually devoid of position statements. On Monday, revamped pages had been posted relative to his positions on senior citizens, veterans issues, the environment and women's rights. The passages Shein had highlighted as borrowed from other Democrats appeared to have been removed or rewritten.
Nuciforo's campaign didn't respond to a request for comment on Monday. But Tool was quoted Saturday in The Boston Globe saying "the changes were minor."
"It was basically just a citation issue," Tool said.