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'My body of work speaks for itself,' Tennessee Andy Ogles says in response to inflated résumé claims

Freshman Republican had claimed to be an economist, trained law enforcement officer, even an expert in international sex crimes
Posted: 8:40 AM, Feb 21, 2023
Updated: 2024-01-10 11:40:03-05
Andy Ogles AP Photo 2.webp

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — "My body of work speaks for itself."

That was the reaction Tuesday morning from freshman Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles to days of controversy following a NewsChannel 5 investigation into his claims to be an economist, a trained police officer, even an expert in international sex crimes.

In an interview on Nashville talk radio station WWTN, the Maury County Republican argued that his repeated claims to be an "economist" are largely based on his time as an anti-tax lobbyist, not on any particular educational training.

"I think you look at the body of someone's work," Ogles told WWTN's Dan Mandis. "I had the privilege in my career, I've spent the last decade working on economic policy and tax policy — so you decide. At the end of the day, I don't care."

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Ogles spent some five years as a Capitol Hill lobbyist for the anti-tax Americans for Prosperity of Tennessee, followed by a year as the executive director for a center operated by supply-side economist Arthur Laffer.

The latter position appears to have been mainly an administrative job. Ogles does not appear as an author of any economic reports on the center's website.

As NewsChannel 5 first reported, Ogles' congressional website claims he "studied policy and economics" at Middle Tennessee State University.

"I don't recall ever saying I had an economics degree," Ogles told Mandis, "because I've been quite clear that I studied political science and international relations."

In a rambling response, Ogles attempted to link the international relations degree to economics.

"It looked at political science from, you know, not only the historical perspective but the economic perspective," he said. "So that was really my first taste into economics and understanding the dynamics that go into place of why certain countries are allies."

The freshman Republican insisted he had not tried to represent course certificates from respected business schools at Vanderbilt and Dartmouth universities as real graduate education, although he does manage a LinkedIn group for Vanderbilt alumni.

He described such executive education certificates as "kind of like a mini degree for an executive that didn't really want to get a master's or an MBA."

On the campaign trail, continuing in Washington as a congressman, Ogles has described himself "as a former member of law enforcement, worked in international sex crimes, specifically child trafficking."

But, on WWTN, he acknowledged that his role as a reserve deputy with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office had nothing to do with international sex crimes or child trafficking.

He blamed others for the confusion.

"The timeline probably should be pulled apart and stretched a little bit so they are two separate line items," Ogles said. "I think, again, somehow in that, they kind of got overlapped or merged together. Maybe that created some of the confusion, or maybe it's just someone looking to write a story."

In fact, Ogles appeared to acknowledge that his real law enforcement experience as a reserve deputy was limited, suggesting he spent most of his time providing security at government meetings and working on the sheriff's firing range.

"In my case, I probably spent less time as a patrol deputy and more time, like, at the school board meeting and the county commission meetings," he explained. "I did spend some time on the road, but then I also served as safety officer on the firing range, helping train other officers on their firearms."

The freshman Republican quickly glossed over claims on his congressional website to have a major role in combatting human trafficking, "overseeing operations and investments in 12 countries" for the nonprofit Abolition International.

Former officials with that group have said that Ogles' claims are widely exaggerated.

Economist, cop, sex crimes expert? The stories of Congressman Andy Ogles

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