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GOP’s Ogles tries to dismiss controversy surrounding tall tales

The good news is, Andy Ogles has now responded to allegations that he wildly exaggerated his background. The bad news is, his response is badly flawed.


The controversy surrounding Rep. Andy Ogles and his inflated resume is tough to dismiss with a wave of the hand, but the Tennessee Republican’s office is nevertheless trying to do exactly that.

To briefly recap, WTVF, the CBS affiliate in Nashville, last week raised a series of difficult questions about Ogles and his apparent habit of wildly exaggerating his background. The findings were rather brutal: The new GOP congressman has repeatedly described himself as an economist, for example, despite not having a degree— undergrad or postgrad — in economics.

He also repeatedly boasted about having a career in law enforcement, working “in international sex crimes, specifically child trafficking.” In reality, Ogles was apparently a volunteer reserve deputy in a county sheriff’s office — a position he reportedly lost after two years for “not meeting minimum standards, making no progress in field training and failure to attend required meetings.”

The same report went on to suggest the congressman also exaggerated his work at a non-profit organization called Abolition International.

When WTVF in Tennessee sought comment from Ogles, he declined. The freshman House Republican’s office was, however, willing to say something to Fox News Digital.

When reached for comment, Ogles’ office attributed WTVF’s report as “an attempt by the liberal media to make something out of nothing.” ... “It’s a simple case of condensing a résumé for the sake of brevity on the campaign trail, and partisan hacks are trying to turn it into a headline for clicks,” a spokesperson for Ogles said in a statement.

That’s not much of a response. In fact, the statement is largely a confirmation of the underlying reporting: By “condensing” his résumé, Ogles made claims to the public about his background, on multiple occasions, that were plainly at odds with the truth.

The statement to Fox News Digital went on to say that Ogles “is proud of the time he spent developing his experience in economic and tax policies with well-known economist Dr. Arthur Laffer and Americans for Prosperity.” That’s nice, I suppose, but it doesn’t help either: Laffer is an actual economist, with a PhD. from Stanford, and years of experience teaching economics at the University of Chicago. (I don’t think Laffer’s ideas hold up especially well, but that’s another story for another day.)

One does not earn academic credentials through osmosis. Ogles may have enjoyed spending time with Laffer at a political organization, but one does not become an economist by “developing experience” while working around qualified scholars.

What we have, in other words, is a GOP congressman, accused of peddling false claims about his background, pushing back against the reporting without refuting any specific details. Ogles apparently thinks his acknowledgement that he “condensed” his résumé represents some kind of defense. It does not.

All of this comes against a backdrop of another freshman Republican, Rep. George Santos of New York, lying brazenly about multiple aspects of his adult life, but remaining a GOP lawmaker in good standing with his party’s leaders.

Similarly, if House Republican leaders are at all concerned about Ogles’ apparent dishonesty, they’ve hid their unease quite well.