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Did State Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) Steal Someone Else’s Speech?

By | 2013-11-08T09:00:00-05:00 November 8th, 2013|Michigan, News|

BTL Staff

LANSING — As U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) continues to struggle with the fallout of his admission to plagarizing other’s work, a Michigan state senator is now facing similar allegations.
Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) rose to deliver a speech related to legislation to change the Michigan alcohol laws. The speech available as an embed at this MLive.com report appears to be a nearly word for word recitation of a 1952 speech of former Mississippi State Rep. Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr. entitled “If by whiskey.”
Kahn merely changes whiskey in the speech to alcohol, and peppers in an occasional addition or slight change (Christians is eliminated to religious instead). About 95 percent of the speech delivered by Kahn, without attribution, is word for word the Sweat speech from 1952.
An update to the MLive.com report of the original story that says “…it turns out, was a play on an ‘If-by-Whiskey…’ speech” however the Senator never attributes the remarks to this speech from the Senate floor asking that his remarks be recorded in the journal as his remarks.
BTL called Sen. Kahn’s office seeking comment, and was asked to email an inquiry related to the situation. BTL has done so, and has also communicated with Sen. Kahn via Facebook. The senator still has not responded to inquiries.

UPDATE: BTL Received the following email response from the Senator’s Office:

“Sen. Kahn did not claim this was original nor did he cite the original speaker. Sen. Kahn is a history buff and thought that this speech would be both entertaining and informative as legislation that had to do with liquor control was being debated at the time. For those on the Senate floor it was obvious this was not an original speech and Sen. Kahn was just trying to lighten the mood in an otherwise hectic day.”

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.