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Ashley Hinson apologizes for plagiarism, but calls it ‘partisan attack’ during KWWL interview

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Iowa (KWWL) -- In an exclusive interview on the KWWL-TV News at 6 Tuesday night, Republican Congressional candidate, Ashley Hinson, again apologized in addressing allegations of plagiarism leveled against her in a New York Times report.

Hinson also called her campaign controversy something else. "I think people see this for what it it, which was a partisan attack on me," she said.

The New York Times alleges Hinson "lifted verbatim sentences on her campaign website and in published op-eds" more than a dozen times since 2019.

"Integrity matters to me", Hinson said, when asked why she was unaware of the plagiarism cited by the Times.

She said she wanted to own up to what happened, although she maintains she was unaware that some of the sentences, phrases and paragraphs had been plagiarized from other news outlets for some of her Op-Ed pieces.

She also placed the plagiarism blame on an employee of a consulting company she was using for her Congressional campaign. She said the employee had done some background writing for her.

Hinson admitted approving a 'draft' of the material, which was later published as her own words.

Hinson said she has fired the consulting company and says she will be more directly involved in the approval process going forward.

The Linn County State Representative said, “It's absolutely appalling to me that this happened. I know it's unacceptable to me, and I know it's unacceptable to voters, and that's why I want to take ownership," she added, “Integrity is what matters to me.”

Hinson is a two term State Representative serving Iowa House District 67 in Linn County. She is running for Iowa First District Congress against Incumbent Democratic Congresswoman, Abby Finkenauer.

According to the Times, Hinson published an essay on her campaign website last week which included 91 words, across three passages, that were identical to a story by a Times reporter on March 11.

The Times also said Hinson took exact passages from the Des Moines Register and from The Hill and used "near-identical language" to her opponent, Finkenauer.

Hinson apologized in a tweet Monday afternoon.

"I was unaware of the plagiarism when I reviewed drafts presented to me by staff," she said. "As a journalist, I take this extremely seriously and am deeply sorry for the mistake."

This is a developing story. Stay with KWWL on-air and online for updates.