Probe of Treasury spokeswoman’s dissertation finds plagiarism

A Columbia University investigation into the top Treasury Department spokeswoman’s Ph.D dissertation found that she had included “localized instances of plagiarism” but did not commit “research misconduct,” the university said Friday.

The investigation conducted into the 2000 dissertation by Monica Crowley, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for public affairs and a former conservative commentator, came to a close this month and resulted in her making significant changes to the work.

Crowley has held her post at the Treasury Department since July. CNN has reached out to her for comment.

“The investigation identified localized instances of plagiarism, but concluded that the preponderance of the evidence did not support a finding that Dr. Crowley committed research misconduct,” Columbia said in a statement. “For the dissertation to stand, the University required certain corrections, which Dr. Crowley has provided.”

Columbia’s assessment of her dissertation was previously reported by The New York Times.

“I am delighted that they have concluded that there was no research misconduct, as I have maintained all along,” Crowley told the Times. “I was also happy to address any inadvertent and honest errors and update the work.”

According to the university, the investigation began after plagiarism accusations arose in 2017 in light of her pending nomination to the role, with Politico reporting that Crowley had plagiarized numerous passages of her dissertation.

CNN’s KFile found nearly 40 lengthy instances of Crowley lifting paragraphs from numerous sources, including several scholarly texts, The Associated Press and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, that amounted to thousands of words.

Columbia’s report listing the dissertation’s remedied errors shows 32 required corrections. Scott Schell, vice president of public affairs at Columbia, told CNN that not all of the corrections involved plagiarism but did not elaborate as to which corrections were for plagiarism.

The dissertation isn’t Crowley’s first brush with plagiarism allegations. Another CNN KFile investigation found more than 50 instances of plagiarism in Crowley’s 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, announced that it would stop selling the book until “the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

In 1999, The New York Times reported that a reader found that a column Crowley had written in the Wall Street Journal strongly resembled a 1988 article in the neoconservative magazine Commentary. A Journal editor’s note said the paper would not have published her piece if it had known of the parallels. Crowley denied the charge but acknowledged that the language is similar, The New York Times reported.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, Chris Massie and Nathan McDermott contributed to this report.