By Phil Williams
NASHVILLE, TN (WTVF) — What was in Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles’ college transcript that he didn’t want you to see?
NewsChannel 5 Investigates now has the answer.
Among the findings: the freshman Republican is a self-proclaimed economist who, it turns out, only took one community college Economics course, which he barely passed. And it reveals that he still hasn’t been telling the truth about his college degree.
“What it shows is the level of deception that he is willing to participate in in order to get elected to the United States Congress — and that’s disturbing,” said Randy Stamps, former political director for the Tennessee Republican Party and a former GOP legislator.
NewsChannel 5’s investigation of Andy Ogles’ embellishments about his resume recently went national, including his repeated claims as a candidate and as a new member of Congress to be a trained economist.
His congressional bio says Ogles graduated from Middle Tennessee State University, “where he studied policy and economics.”
Yet, our investigation dug up a 2009 resume where he listed a degree in International Relations — not Economics — minoring in Psychology and English.
Going on Nashville talk radio for damage control, Ogles — who was one of the 20 House holdouts in Kevin McCarthy’s speaker election — insisted economics was part of his International Relations degree at MTSU.
But Ogles claimed he put a block on the university confirming his academic credentials because he was worried about his identity being stolen.
“I would encourage anyone to lock down your transcripts, lock down your credit, so you’re not a victim of identity theft,” Ogles told WWTN host Dan Mandis.
But now NewsChannel 5 Investigates has uncovered what Congressman Ogles didn’t want you to see: his college transcript.
That transcript, submitted by Ogles with a job application more than a decade ago, shows his major wasn’t in economics nor international relations, but in Liberal Studies — a type of degree generally for those who can’t settle on a major.
And contrary to Ogles’ claims, the transcript shows he enrolled in just one economics class — a community college Principles of Economics course — where he got a “C.”
He was also forced to take developmental-level Intermediate Algebra — essentially the high school course — where he got a “B,” then he was allowed to enroll in College Algebra.
The grade there: also a “C.”
“Taking one course when you are a freshman or sophomore in college does not make you an economist,” Stamps said. “And if he is willing to run around and say, ‘hey, I’m an economist,’ who knows what else he is going to tell you that is not true.”
Last fall, Stamps broke with his party, supporting Ogles’ Democratic opponent, state Sen. Heidi Campbell.
“Even before the election, I didn’t believe anything he said,” Stamps said.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked the former Republican lawmaker, “Does this reflect why you endorsed his Democratic opponent?”
“Absolutely,” he answered. “With all due respect, I kinda saw this coming that he was going to embarrass our state.”
Ogles’ transcript shows he got a “C” in American History, although he did pass a total of nine Political Science courses in the 17 years that it took him to complete his degree.
But, in the fall of 1995, the future congressman enrolled in U.S. Presidency, Problems in Government, Political Theory and National Security Policy — and flunked every one of them. And three years later, in the fall of 1998, it happened again.
Finally, in 2007, Ogles went back to college and finished the Liberal Studies degree — with a 2.4 GPA.
So, what does the congressman have to say?
During last week’s congressional break, we went to Ogles’ hometown in search of answers, checking out the Columbia address listed on his website as his new congressional office.
Then we called and texted, but the freshman Republican ignored our requests for comment.
However, in an apparently preemptive move, Ogles released a statement Sunday night to a conservative website, The Tennessee Star, in which he claimed he just learned that his degree was in Liberal Studies after requesting his official transcript.
“When I pulled my transcript to verify, I realized I was mistaken,” Ogles said in a statement. “I apologize for my misstatement.”
He blamed his failing grades on “an interfamilial matter” that forced him to drop out of college and return home “to financially support my family during a difficult time.”
In 2007, Ogles said, he took several online courses and completed a senior project to get his degree.
“At the time, it was my understanding I had completed my course of study in Political Science and International Relations,” Ogles continued.
His statement did not address other questions uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
As for Randy Stamps, he said Ogles has a longtime history of being deceptive, although he had not fully appreciated how deceptive he was.
“I think the level of the deception is surprising to me that you have helped uncover,” Stamps said.
Our investigation also discovered other claims that have been exaggerated, including his claims to be “a former member of law enforcement, worked in international sex crimes, specifically child trafficking.”
Ogles’ congressional website claims that he worked with a human trafficking group, “overseeing operations and investments in 12 countries.”
In fact, that group, Abolition International, was not in 12 countries during his limited time with the organization.
“He’s still deceiving, he’s still not forthcoming,” Stamps said. “He, I don’t believe, has the courage to sit down and talk it through and apologize for misrepresenting himself to the people of Tennessee. Until he does that, I don’t think he’s worthy of the office.”