- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Rep. Ami Bera is apologizing for a Sacramento Bee opinion piece that cribbed language from a White House report and groups supporting President Obama’s trade agenda.

A Sunday piece under the byline of the Elk Grove Democrat urged Congress to pass the Trade Promotion Authority - a step toward allowing the president to fast-track a 12-nation trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On Tuesday, the news website BuzzFeed posted a story noting six instances in the approximately 950-word piece where sentences included fragmentary but similar language to that included in a White House economic report and in talking points from the Business Roundtable and the policy think-tank Third Way.

The Bee reported Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1bwIEnP ) that Bera issued a statement saying he stands by the sentiment of the piece but “it has become clear that widely used and disseminated statements made their way into the final draft, and for that I apologize.”

“I take full responsibility for this oversight and will be dealing with the responsible staff internally,” the statement said.

Dan Morain, the Bee’s editorial page editor, said he reached out to Bera’s staff.

“It clearly is a work that borrowed way too heavily from other peoples’ work,” Morain said. “I would expect better of people who write op-eds.”

Bera captured the 7th Congressional District seat from a Republican three years ago. Last fall, he won a hard-fought re-election in what became the nation’s most expensive House race of 2014, with $19.6 million in total spending. He won by around 1,400 votes out of more than 183,000 cast.

The support of Bera and other moderate Democrats for the Trans-Pacific Partnership stands in sharp contrast to the views of labor groups. Some have staged daylong protests outside of his office and the apparent cribbing of material for Bera’s op-ed piece lent ammunition to critics of the stance.

“It’s really unfortunate that Rep. Bera would rather parrot the talking points of corporate lobbyists and DC insiders than listen to folks in his own district who overwhelmingly oppose fast-tracking a critical trade deal that could lead to hundreds, if not thousands, of lost jobs in the Sacramento region,” Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation, told the Bee.

“It appears Ami Bera is engaging in copy-and-paste public policy, substituting other people’s talking points for analysis,” Zach Hunter, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the paper.


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