Updated July 20, 2018 - 12:12 am
Rosen, the first-term Democratic congresswoman who’s running for Senate, has repeatedly claimed that she “built a business” before running for office. She claimed to have run a consulting company for 10 years. Her congressional biography even says she’s a business owner. It’s been a key part of her personal story as she’s risen from political newcomer to rising Democrat star. One small problem. There’s no proof she built anything.
Last week, the Reno Gazette-Journal revealed that its investigation couldn’t find any evidence that Rosen ever held a business license from either the state or the city of Henderson. That wasn’t the only thing her “business” was missing. It also didn’t have employees, a building or even a name. Her campaign hasn’t been able to produce tax records or even an accountant who would have worked on those taxes — had this business actually existed. Rosen’s campaign didn’t return a request for comment.
Caught stretching the truth beyond recognition, Rosen’s campaign now acknowledges that she was an “independent consultant.” It now sounds as if she went from being on the payroll of Southwest Gas to occasionally doing some contract work for them and a business in which her husband was a partner.
Here’s a good test to determine whether you’ve built a business or not. If you leave, is there anything to sell? If not, you haven’t built anything. There’s nothing wrong with doing contract work, but it’s not the same thing as creating a company. It just doesn’t sound very impressive on the campaign trail, which would be a logical explanation for why she exaggerated.
This isn’t the first time Rosen has padded her resume. She previously told CSPAN3, “When I was in college in Minnesota, I actually got a degree in psychology and in computers.” In reality, she got only the psychology degree, from the University of Minnesota. That falsehood remains even after Rosen’s belated revelation this week that she got an associate degree in computers from what is now the College of Southern Nevada.
Someone needs to tell Rosen that “Oops, I did it again” is a song, not campaign advice.
Rosen is not the only one repeating past mistakes. So is kingmaker Harry Reid, who hand-picked Rosen to run for one of the country’s most important and hotly contested Senate races. In 2016, Reid meddled in the Florida Senate primary, which was one of the most hotly contested races of that cycle. He endorsed Patrick Murphy, a relatively unknown two-term Democratic congressman, who claimed to have two college degrees and to be a “small-business owner.” Turned out that he had only one bachelor’s degree and didn’t own the business at which he worked. Sound familiar?
Those falsehoods reverberated throughout the campaign.
“Murphy was plagued since early summer by revelations that he’d exaggerated his resume— a critical weakness that Republicans capitalized on to define Murphy through a barrage of attack ads,” wrote a Miami Herald reporter after the election.
Incidents such as this can shape elections. Voters may disagree on policy, but no one likes dishonesty. Just like in Florida, expect outside groups and the Heller campaign to bring this issue up repeatedly in TV and online commercials. The ads write themselves — Rosen is on tape repeatedly saying she “built a business.” This opportunity is especially powerful, because Rosen is still relatively unknown. Hitting Rosen on these falsehoods soon could define her before she has a chance to fully introduce herself.
If that happens, Rosen will be able to add one actual accomplishment to her resume: keeping Sen. Dean Heller, often labeled the most endangered incumbent Republican senator, employed.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 9 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.