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UPDATE: It seems that Ms. O'Donnell is not guilty of fraud, but rather simple lying. It turns out that Ms. O'Donnell is the only person who calls it a graduate fellowship. Claremont itself just calls it the Lincoln Fellowship.
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We all know that Christine O'Donnell is an extremist and more than a little bit nutty. But apparently she is also guilty of the outright fraud of accepting a graduate fellowship before she graduated college.

See below for the details:

According to O'Donnell's campaign website's biography she:

was awarded a 2002 Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship in Constitutional Government from the Claremont Institute in Claremont, CA.

Big surprise, I know -- the Claremont Institute funding a movement conservative.

But here's where it gets interesting: According to her Wikipedia entry she didn't actually receive her Bachelor's degree until this year!

She attended her university's commencement ceremony in 1993 but did not receive a degree. O'Donnell later said the degree was withheld due to unpaid tuition.[nb 2][17]  In 1994, Fairleigh Dickinson sued her for $4,823, winning a judgment for the entire amount according to court documents. The debt was paid in 2003.[3][16][17] After O'Donnell completed a required course in the summer of 2010,[16] Fairleigh Dickinson awarded her a bachelor's degree in English literature,[15][16][17] with a concentration in communication.[15]

If that's true, she accepted a presumably multi-thousand dollar graduate fellowship on the self-evidently fraudulent grounds that she was actually a college graduate.

While this is probably beyond the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution, this seems like a very clear-cut case of academic and financial fraud. It also should be pretty easy to fact check.

UPDATE:
So again, while it doesn't appear that she defrauded Claremont, she was clearly lying to her voters by claiming she had received a bachelor's degree that she had not received (in her 2006 and 2008 campaign web bios -- see comments) and by calling the Lincoln Fellowship the "Lincoln Graduate Fellowship." It's particularly odd that she would do that, because it's presumably a fairly prestigious fellowship that would look good (to conservatives) on her resume without any further embellishment.

Originally posted to JoelBloom on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 07:25 AM PDT.

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