It’s grifters all the way down


When you run a corrupt and inefficient organization in which the people at the top are utterly corrupt and anyone with integrity and competence is shunted aside in favor of cronies and grifters (in case no one realizes it, I am of course referring to the Trump administration), con artists quickly realize that they can find a lucrative niche there because no one really cares about honesty.

So it should be no surprise that Mina Chang landed a six-figure salary job as deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations by, as this article states, inflating her educational achievements and exaggerating the scope of her previous work with a nonprofit. Her biggest talent seems to be self-promotion and schmoozing with political figures and taking selfies with celebrities like former President Bill Clinton, retired Gen. David Petraeus, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Karl Rove, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Buzz Aldrin.

The words ‘inflating’ and exaggerating’ are putting it mildly.

Chang, who assumed her post in April, also invented a role on a U.N. panel, claimed she had addressed both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, and implied she had testified before Congress.

She was being considered for an even bigger government job, one with a budget of more than $1 billion, until Congress started asking questions about her résumé.

For Chang’s current job, her most relevant experience would appear to be her time as CEO of a nonprofit called Linking the World. Chang has touted her small nonprofit online and in speeches as operating in dozens of countries, building schools and “impacting” thousands of people. But tax filings for her organization offer no concrete information about overseas projects and show a budget of less than $300,000 with a handful of staff.

But wait! There’s more!

In a 2017 video posted on her nonprofit’s website, Chang can be heard describing her work while a Time magazine cover with her face on it scrolls past.

“Here you are on Time magazine, congratulations! Tell me about this cover and how it came to be?” asks the interviewer, who hosts a YouTube show.

The interviewer says Chang brought the Time cover to the interview as an example of her work.

Time magazine spokesperson Kristin Matzen said the cover is “not authentic.”

Chang says in her official biography that she is as an “alumna” of Harvard Business School. According to the university, Chang attended a seven-week course in 2016, and does not hold a degree from the institution.

Her biography on the State Department website says she is a “graduate” of a program at the Army War College. But the program she attended was a four-day seminar on national security, according to the college.

Chang does not cite any undergraduate degree in her biography, but her LinkedIn account mentions the University of the Nations, an unaccredited Christian school with volunteer teachers that says it has 600 locations “on all continents.”

She says she “addressed” both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2016, but videos and documents show she instead spoke at separate events held in Philadelphia and Cleveland during the same time periods.

In the past, the state department had a stringent vetting process but not anymore.

Career officials at the State Department and across the federal government take vetting seriously “because they care about maintaining a high standard for the civil service and the foreign service,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “They want to see talented people with integrity appointed to senior positions.”

In the Trump administration, rapid turnover and uneven vetting instead creates opportunities for people who might not otherwise be considered, said Pfiffner. “With the way Trump has fired high-level people by tweet, it’s not an encouraging thing to work for the government. But if you are not very qualified then it’s a great chance to get in there.”

All these and other claims (the article has plenty more) by Chang should have been easy to check before she was hired but clearly they were not. How can you not check whether someone was on the cover of Time magazine? But since Trump himself created a fake Time cover of himself, maybe they did check, found it to be fake, but now that is considered a positive qualification.

Donald Trump: Making America great again for grifters and con artists.

Comments

  1. Ridana says

    “taking selfies with elfies…” on shelfies? 😉

    It always amazes me how utterly shameless people can be. I remember a mentor telling me I should put that I was a graduate of some impressively named 3-day workshop on my resume, but that not only seemed silly to me, but also I didn’t want to sound like I knew more than I did about the topic. To lie so blatantly as so many in the Fanta Menace’s administration do on a daily basis would leave me a nervous wreck, waiting for the hammer to fall when the curtain was pulled back. That they clearly don’t care if that happens, knowing they can just lie their way into another gig…it’s baffling. How do people get like this?

    More disheartening, why are they always so richly rewarded for being like that?

  2. johnson catman says

    re Ridana @2: When I read the line in the OP, I was confused and a bit amused thinking that she was carrying around a little elf doll and taking pics.