The newest faces of Congress continue to surprise, but not in the way voters might’ve hoped when they cast their ballots.
The latest sketchiness comes from Middle Tennessee, where the resumé of freshman Republican Rep. Andy Ogles—who won a highly gerrymandered seat in November—is getting a closer look. According to NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, Ogles has at various times claimed to be a businessman, an economist, law enforcement, and even an “expert in international sex crimes.”
Ogles gained a national spotlight during the vote to make Kevin McCarthy (barely) speaker of the House when he initially opposed McCarthy, alongside fellow freshman scammers George Santos and Anna Paulina Luna. Since then, NewsChannel 5 has unpacked his resumé, and bit by bit, his backstory seems to be full of holes.
For instance, during an appearance on C-SPAN, Ogles claimed to be an economist and said he was seeking a position on the House Financial Services Committee. It wasn’t the first time he’d made the claim. In an interview with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and longtime evangelical lobbyist, Ogles said, “I’m an economist. I worked in economics, in health care, and so the budget of the county was in disrepair, so I ran to fix it.”
Heck, over on his official congressional bio, it says quite clearly: “Andy obtained his degree from MTSU, where he studied policy and economics.”
Just one problem: Middle Tennessee State University refuses to release his records, apparently at Ogles’ request, and there is no record he studied economics. In fact, as NEWSChannel 5 dug deeper, it found a copy of Ogle’s 2009 resumé in which he claimed a degree in international relations, with minors in psychology and English.
Ogles also made the extraordinary claim that he had a “mid-life crisis” in 2009 and decided to go into law enforcement. According to NewsChannel 5, Ogles was sworn in as a volunteer reserve deputy with the Williams County Sheriff’s Office in 2009, but two years later, he lost the volunteer gig for “not meeting minimum standards, making no progress in field training and failure to attend required meetings.”
That hasn’t stopped Ogles from repeatedly claiming he “worked in human trafficking.” The Williams County Sheriff’s Department has strongly refuted his claims.
"There is nothing in Mr. Ogles training or personnel file that indicates he had any involvement in 'international sex trafficking' in his capacity as a reserve deputy," Williamson County sheriff's spokesperson Sharon Puckett told NewsChannel 5.
Finally, Ogles claimed to be the chief operating officer of the nonprofit Abolition International in 2011, where he oversaw “operations and investments in 12 countries” and again claimed he worked to bust human trafficking with this organization.
Hats off to NewsChannel 5 really doing terrific work exposing his embellishments and/or outright fiction. Reporters found tax records that show Ogles was only paid $4,000 for part-time work and an archived copy of the nonprofit’s website from 2012, which shows no mention of busting human trafficking. The site says the organization was merely providing grants to “holistic ministries.”
Ogles has now joined the ranks of other ethically dubious freshman lawmakers, including Ana Paulina Luna, who claimed to be “raised Messianic Jew” by her father. Her family vehemently denies she had a Jewish upbringing and notes her paternal grandfather immigrated to Canada after serving time as a German soldier in World War II. You can read more about her questionable resumé here.
And of course, Ogle joins New York’s
Anthony Devolder George Santos, who has far too many ethical and potentially criminal infractions to list here.
As shocking as these fabrications are—and they most certainly would’ve been career-ending in another age—Ogles and his sketchiness are right at home in today’s Republican Party.