Among his many lies, Rep. George Santos of New York got elected while falsely claiming to have college degrees. So reporters at USA Today set out to see if other freshmen members of Congress are also misrepresenting their educational background.
Now the newspaper is calling out Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola. Her congressional biography, like her Alaska Legislature bio from the 1990s, says that she attended the University of Northern Colorado from 1991 to 1994.
“The university confirmed her attendance, but only from 1991 to spring 1993,” USA Today reports.
Peltola’s deputy chief of staff, Anton McParland, said he’s not sure why the biographies say she was at the Colorado university until 1994.
“To our knowledge, she was there until ’93 and spent some of the fall of ’94 working on a Republican state House race,” he said. “We will work with those sites to resolve that confusion.”
Although the discrepancy came to light because of the Santos scandal, Peltola’s situation is different in important respects. For one, Peltola never claimed to have any degrees, McParland said.
The campaign emphasized that hers would be a non-traditional route to Congress, with an abundance of fishing seasons and no Ivy League alma mater.
As a candidate, Peltola pointed out on several occasions that she doesn’t have a college degree, McParland said.
“We’ve always tried to be very clear and upfront about this,” he said. “It’s, frankly, not a source of shame for Mary.”
Her bios say that after the University of Northern Colorado, she attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1994 to 1995, University of Alaska Southeast from 1995 to 1997, and University of Alaska Anchorage from 1997 to 1998.
“Mary has talked about having attended the University of Alaska intermittently during the ’90s, so we just want to confirm those dates,” McParland said.
Peltola was elected to the state Legislature in 1998.
Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
Alaska Public Media
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