Bush Religious Right Liaison Resigns After Plagiarism Exposé

A White House aide who acted as a liaison to the Religious Right has resigned after it was reported that he had repeatedly plagiarized portions of newspaper columns from other writers.

Tim Goeglein was charged with the task of reaching out to various social and religious conservatives. In 2004, The Washington Post reported that Goeglein worked closely with Bush’s then top political adviser, Karl Rove, to ensure that Christian conservatives were “happy, in the loop and getting their best ideas before the president and turned into law.”

On Feb. 29, Goeglein resigned his position with the White House after it was revealed that he was guilty of serial plagiarism. A longtime guest columnist for his hometown newspaper in Fort Wayne, Ind., Goeglein was caught lifting from other writers without attribution.

The New York Times reported that the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel was tipped off to Goeglein’s plagiarizing by a blogger in Michigan who noticed similarities in a Goeglein column and a piece that appeared in the Dartmouth Review.

Further investigation soon uncovered that Goeglein had lifted passages from other writers in 19 of his 38 newspaper columns. Writers that he took from included Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley, Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor George Melloan and James Sterngold, a reporter at The New York Times.

Goeglein admitting the plagiarism, telling the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, “I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses.”

Before joining Bush’s team, Goeglein was known within Religious Right circles because of his work for Gary Bauer, the former head of the Family Research Council. During his tenure at the White House, he labored to keep Religious Right leaders close to Bush.

Charles Colson, head of Prison Fellowship Ministries and a longtime influential Religious Right leader, praised Goeglein in a 2004 interview with The Post. “My experience has been a lot of times when we have had serious questions and we needed administration backing to get them through…if we call Tim, all of sudden things get through,” Colson said.

The New York Times dubbed Goeglein “the eyes and ears of the White House in the world of religious conservatives and an emissary to that world for Mr. Rove and the president.”